Faculty Member’s Spin-Off Looks to Improve Mass Spectrometry
Last year, the director of the UW School of Pharmacy Mass Spectrometry Center, Dave Goodlett, developed a method to make mass spectrometry research easier. The method, known as Surface Acoustic Wave Nebulization (SAWN), simplifies how researchers introduce nonvolatile compounds — such as proteins, lipids and small molecules like caffeine — into a mass spectrometer for analysis. Historically, researchers working with nonvolatile samples had to choose between methods that are easy to perform or that perform well. The SAWN method (pictured at right) combines ease of use with high performance.
With the help of the UW Center for Commercialization (C4C), Goodlett and Dr. Patrick Langridge-Smith of the University of Edinburgh have formed a company, Deurion LLC, to further develop this technology and make it commercially available. In December, Deurion received a $150,000 National Science Foundation grant to continue its work. This grant builds on a UW C4C Gap Fund of $50,000 that Goodlett received last summer to construct a prototype SAWN device.
UW postdoctoral fellows Scott Edgar and Sung Hwan Yoon, members of the Goodlett Lab, are currently working as scientists with Deurion. Edgar is the manager and senior scientist responsible for managing the commercialization of the SAWN technology. Among other things, he and Yoon are writing an interface and developing the wiring system that will allow scientists to plug their laptop into the mass spectrometer and run the SAWN method from their laptop. They’re also working to increase the sensitivity of the method — detecting smaller and smaller amounts of material.