Dr. Julia Laskin


Mass Spectrometry: From Materials Science to Biology

Mass spectrometry is a powerful analytical technique with applications ranging from forensics and environmental sciences to drug discovery and biological research. Research in my group is focused on the development of new mass spectrometry capabilities for the controlled preparation of novel materials and imaging of biological samples in their native state. In particular, we are developing new approaches for preparing uniform layers of well-defined active species on surfaces using soft-landing of mass-selected ions. These experiments harness the potential of mass spectrometry as a preparative tool that enables precise control of ion composition, charge state, kinetic energy, and coverage. These studies provide molecular-level understanding of processes affecting the stability and efficiency of technologically relevant electrode-electrolyte interfaces ubiquitous in energy production and storage devices. Another research direction is focused on the development of nanospray desorption electrospray ionization (nano-DESI), an ambient ionization technique that relies on localized liquid extraction of analyte molecules from the sample followed by soft ionization of extracted species at a mass spectrometer inlet. Nano-DESI enables quantitative imaging of biomolecules in fully hydrated samples with minimal or no sample pre-treatment. This technique has been used for or studying metabolite exchange between living microbial communities and quantitative imaging of lipids and metabolites in tissues with high sensitivity and spatial resolution down to 8-10 microns.

About Dr. Laskin

Julia Laskin is currently a William F. and Patty J. Miller Professor of Analytical Chemistry at Purdue University. Prior to joining Purdue in 2017, she was a scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) located in Richland, WA. She received her M.Sc. in Physics from the Leningrad Polytechnical Institute (1990) and her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1998). She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Delaware (1998-99) and at PNNL (2000-02). She became a research scientist at PNNL in 2002 and was promoted to the highest scientific rank in 2011.

Dr. Laskin’s research is focused on understanding phenomena underlying collisions of complex ions with surfaces for selective modification of substrates using beams of mass-selected ions. Soft- and reactive landing of ions is a promising approach for highly selective surface modification for applications in energy storage, catalysis, and biology. Another area of Dr. Laskin’s research is related to understanding the effect of chemical composition and reactivity of organic molecules in aerosol particles on the physical properties of aerosols relevant to climate change. Finally, she is leading the development of nanospray desorption electrospray ionization (nano-DESI) mass spectrometry for quantitative ambient imaging of fully hydrated biological samples in their native environment with subcellular resolution and analysis of complex mixtures directly from solid substrates.

Dr. Laskin has been honored with several prestigious awards including Presidential Early Career Award (PECASE) in 2007, ASMS Biemann Medal in 2008, Honor issue of JASMS in 2009, Inaugural Rising Star Award of the ACS Women Chemists Committee, 2011, and other. She is an associate editor of the International Journal of Mass Spectrometry and a member of the Editorial Board of Analyst, C&E News, Russian Mass Spectrometry Journal, Advanced Structural and Chemical Imaging, and Frontiers in Microbiology.

Dr. Laskin has published over 230 papers including reviews and book chapters in leading journals in her field, and holds 4 patents. She has also edited a book "Principles of Mass Spectrometry Applied to Biomolecules" published by John Wiley & Sons in 2006.

Dr. Laskin's Research Page.