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SciLifeLab The Svedberg seminar: Prof. Athula Attygalle

August 23, 2021, 15:15 - 16:30


The Svedberg Seminar Series


Online event via Zoom
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SciLifeLab The Svedberg seminar: Prof. Athula Attygalle

August 23 @ 15:15 16:30 CEST

 Stevens Institute of Technology, USA


 Prof. Athula Attygalle obtained a PhD in Chemistry from Keele University in 1983. After his doctorate, Attygalle was awarded a Fellowship by the Humboldt Foundation to conduct research at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) under late Prof, Hans Jürgen Bestmann, a pioneer in the field of insect pheromone synthesis. Four years at FAU, provided the impetus for Attygalle to become an expert in high-resolution mass spectrometry and micro-chemical techniques for structure elucidation of natural compounds at nanogram level. At FAU, Attygalle championed in the area of lepidopteran sex pheromone identification. Attygalle was a visiting professor at University of Houston, Texas and he has served as the Director of Mass Spectrometry facility at Cornell University. He has completed work there in GC-MS regarding insect substances and their identifications.  Currently Attygalle is attached to the Stevens Institute of Technology as a Research Professor in the Department of Chemistry and head of the mass spectrometry laboratory. 

Attygalle was the recipient of the 2014 ‘Inventor of the Year’ award presented by the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame for his patented work in Mass Spectrometric Analysis utilizing Helium Plasma and charge exchange ionization techniques. Attygalle co-authored the 1999 article “Single-Site Catalysts for Ring-Opening Polymerization:  Synthesis of Heterotactic Poly(lactic acid) from rac-Lactide” in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, which has been widely cited.

Multiple Personalities of Gaseous Ions 

For mass spectrometry, neutral molecules are converted to gaseous ions.   A mass spectrum is recorded by determining the mass-to-charge ratios and intensities of fragment ions generated by activating a specific ion. Many textbooks provide rules to identify molecules by interpreting their mass spectra.  All recommended interpretations start by presuming a specific structure for the initial ion.  However, recent advances in ion-mobility methods demonstrate that an ensemble of ions with different structures are produced upon ionization. For example, the most widely used electrospray ionization technique often generates a mixture of tautomeric forms of a precursor molecule.  Because fragmentation spectra of individual tautomers are often different from each other, the spectra recorded without separating the isomeric mixtures are composites.  Although large collections of spectra are available as libraries, the time has come to for us query of the quality of these compilations.                   

Host: Kumari Ubhayasekera