We address the challenges of acquiring chemical information of living systems through devising and applying measurement concepts with unique attributes. Much of our work involves a need to understand or control mass transport by diffusion, convection, and electroosmosis/electrophoresis. Recently, we have created systems for making quantitative measurements of neurotransmitters in vivo by microdialysis/fast capillary LC, for electroosmotically perfusing tissue to determine peptide hydrolysis rates, and for efficient determinations of the redox status of single cells in cultured hippocampal tissue during a model of ischemia-reperfusion, oxygen/glucose deprivation.
We try to approach the problem of developing new and better measurements with an eye on fundamental processes: how to control and take advantage of them. The basis of our work lies in solution chemistry and mass transport processes that dominate behavior in electrochemical and separations systems. In separations, these include dynamic processes and noncovalent interactions; in electrochemistry, these include electroosmotic transport in porous media, homogeneous chemical reactions/reaction rates and signal-to-noise/detection limits. There are opportunities to cross-fertilize these areas of bioanalytical chemistry. For example, we've used the principles of "single-ion transfer free energies", an electrochemical concept, to determine stationary phase properties in liquid chromatography.