Research in the Breuker group is focused on larger biomolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids, and utilizes a special type of mass spectrometer: FT-ICR MS (Fourier transform-ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer). The FT-ICR instrument offers unique capabilities such as ultra-high resolving power and mass accuracy. Moreover, ions can be stored in the FT-ICR cell and subjected to gas phase reactions, for example, with electrons. We are interested in biomolecular structure and folding in the gas phase, and in developing new approaches for biomolecular sequencing and characterization, including the localization of modification sites.
Biomolecular structure is affected by environment: Physical parameters such as temperature and pressure as well as chemical factors such as pH and solvent polarity can affect the shape of biomolecules. In the complete absence of solvent, we can study intrinsic properties of biomolecules. This is important for a fundamental understanding of biomolecular structure, and allows us to develop efficient methodology for manipulation of ion structure in the gas phase, for example, in dissociation experiments.
Unimolecular dissociation of proteins and nucleic acids can give extensive sequence information and localize post-translational/transcriptional modifications. We are interested in developing new methodology for dissociation of larger biomolecules.