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Graduate Students

Current Students


Ben Cunning

BenCopper is the first and only metal to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as having anti-microbial properties.  In the aquarium industry, copper has long been used as an anti-algae agent by home aquarists and as a treatment for the protozoan parasite Cryptocaryon irritans a.k.a. Marine “Ich.” Therapeutic levels for Ich are ca. 150 to 200 ppb;  at higher concentrations a reduced immune response threatens the animals.   In the aquarium industry there is a pressing need for a rapid, in situ sensor for copper.  Literature is replete with detection methods for copper, but most methods are either incapable of being used in situ or have limits of detection and quantification outside the therapeutic range. The goal of this project is to develop a novel in situ copper sensor for use in the aquarium industry with potential applications in chromatography detection.



Sarah Bass

SarahwebsiteResearch focuses on improving in vitro microdialysis (MD) sampling coupled to HPAEC-PED as an analytical tool for monitoring carbohydrate-based enzymatic reactions. The overall goal of this project is to develop this technique for monitoring bioprocesses by allowing on-line analysis and quantitative assessment of enzymatic efficiencies in complex samples. MD sampling allows for monitoring continuous dynamic time profile changes in a complex matrix without affecting the environment of the bioreactor, depleting the enzymes, and perturbing the reaction. The primary areas of study for this work include technical improvements to the MD sampling setup for quantitative analysis, and developing a method for characterizing β-mannanase enzymes using this setup. The development of this assay will impact industrial applications by offering on-line sampling and sample cleanup when measuring manufacturing performance.





DeLauren McCauley

Jacquelyn Cunning


Past Students


Andrea Gray – Graduated July 2016 with Ph.D. Degree in Chemistry under mentor Dr. William LaCourse

Thesis Title: “An Integrated Platform of Analytical Chemical Techniques for Profiling of Therapeutic Glycoproteins”

AndreaResearch focuses on determining the carbohydrate composition of model therapeutic glycoproteins produced in miniature bioreactors compared to bench-scale models.  Work is performed using the complimentary techniques of HPAEC-PAD and LC-MS for profiling and characterization.  In the biopharmaceutical industry, there is an increasing interest in monitoring the effect that carbohydrate components have on the structural and functional roles of a therapeutic glycoprotein. Glycosylation patterns of recombinant glycoproteins are influenced by factors including the expression and growth conditions. These patterns affect the biological activity of proteins, such as the immunogenicity and receptor binding, which may subsequently affect the efficacy and safety of the final pharmaceutical product.  The goal is to establish an integrated platform for quality control purposes.


Greg Winter – Graduated May 2016 with Ph.D. Degree in Chemistry under mentor Dr. William LaCourse

Thesis Title: “Development of the Molecular Ionization Desorption Analysis Source (MIDAS) for Mass Spectrometry”

WebsitePic_GWResearch focuses on ambient mass spectrometry using Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionization (APCI) based sources. The overall goal of the work is to develop an automated ionization source capable of directly sampling from a variety of different surfaces. A primary area of study involves the direct analysis of Thin-Layer Chromatography plates. Source construction involves the design of new gas heaters and nozzles as well as the corona discharge electrode assembly. Additionally, an automated sample and software platform is being developed for ease of sampling and data analysis. In conjunction with the source design, ionization parameters are also being studied. These parameters include gas temperature and composition, type of reagent ions and desorption and collection geometries.