The National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry Imaging (NiCE-MSI) aims to advance the development, understanding and application of the principal mass spectrometry imaging techniques
Mass spectrometry is a powerful tool for elemental, molecular and isotopic analysis which we use to amass huge amounts of detail about biological, materials and agricultural samples. In fact, the technique can be applied to all research fields. This helps us understand the make-up of cancer tumors, locate and quantify nuclear materials, and investigate advanced materials. It can be used to take a sample, separate each molecule that makes up that sample, and then provide the data that allow each of those molecules to be identified and quantified. We use mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) to uncover new spatially-resolved information about the molecular and isotopic composition of biological and inorganic materials in unprecedented detail.
NPL is developing world-leading mass spectrometry technologies and the standards for best practice that can be rolled out across the world. We are also developing and applying the latest machine learning techniques to visualise and interpret mass spectrometry data.
MSI is commonly used to investigate the response of drugs in the body, the composition of proteins, the distribution of trace and ultralight elements (e.g.: H, Li) in advanced materials. This is helping us reveal the relationship between genetics and metabolism in cancers through use of stable isotope tracers, the pharmacokinetics of drug formulations and informs the next generation of battery and advanced materials.