SIU students searching molecular world
By: Arnold Wyrick
CARBONDALE, IL --When it comes to looking into how the human body works, students at Southern Illinois University are going deeper then scientists could've ever imagined, just a few short years ago.
And one of the tools being used for their research is a Mass Spectrometer.
"It's like when you step on a scale to measure how much you weigh. We use the mass spectrometer to measure the weight of a compound. And that weight gives us a unique characteristic of the molecule," says Director of the Mass Spectrometer Facility Mary Kinsel.
Which in the world of fighting crime can tell investigators whether or not chemicals were involved by a suspect in committing the crime.
But this science goes even deeper then that, into the microscopic world of diseases.
"We've already sequenced the human gene. Now we want to start to characterize all the proteins in a cellular system," says SIU Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Gary Kinsel .
"And then the signature that come about from all the different things that we found, would be the thing that we'd look for to see whether or not this person could be diagnosed with the disease, or free from the disease."
Now with just a simple push of the button, the Kinsel's students can look deeper into the world around us, then scientist could've ever imagined just a few short years ago.
"When I was a graduate student, if I could look at a small molecule you know something that was a few hundred molecular weight I was pretty happy. Today we can look at things that are hundreds of thousands in terms of molecular weight," Professor Kinsel said.