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Zhibo Yang

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Zhibo Yang

Zhibo Yang

Associate Professor

B.S., 1997, University of Science & Technology of China
Ph.D., 2005, Wayne State University
Postdoc, 2005-2008, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Postdoc, 2008-2012, University of Colorado


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Mass Spectrometry for Proteomics and Tissue Imaging

Mass spectrometry (MS) is a powerful analytical technique for sensitive detection and accurate identification of molecules. We are interested in the development and application novel MS techniques for bioanalysis. Our research is focused on: 

(1) Single cell MS. All living organisms are composed of individual cells, whereas cells are different from each other. Traditional cell analysis methods can only provide the averaged results from a population of cells. Single cell analysis can potentially revolutionize approaches for cell biology and pharmaceutical research. We have developed a miniaturized sampling and ionization device, the Single-probe, to be coupled with MS for single cell analysis. The sampling tip (~6-10 μm) can be inserted into individual living cells to sample the intracellular compounds, which are immediately ionized and analyzed by MS in real-time.

Optical imaging of mouse kidney slice, and MS imaging (MSI) of mouse kidney slice

 (2) MS imaging. MS imaging (MSI) is an emerging technology allows for mapping the spatial distribution of a broad range of molecules present in biological tissues without using dye, label or radioactive tracer. The Single-probe has been successfully used for MSI studies. A small liquid junction is formed at the tip of the Single-probe to extract analytes present on a small spot of the sample surface (e.g. tissue slice) for real-time MS analysis. The spatial coordinates of the target spot are recorded simultaneously with the mass spectra, and the process is repeated until the whole area of interest is scanned. Eventually, by integrating MS results and the corresponding coordinates, the spatial distribution of molecules of interest can be mapped using the visualization software.

We have established collaborations with other research groups to apply our techniques to cell biology, anticancer drug development, analysis of patient samples, etc. We are also interested in other areas, including instrumentation development, metabolomics, proteomics, statistical MS data analysis, HPLC-MS for bioanalysis, fundamental ion chemistry, etc.

Research keywords: mass spectrometry; live single cell analysis; mass spectrometry imaging; instrumentation; metabolomics; fundamental ion chemistry

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