Milan Mirksich

The necessity to identify the plethora of still unknown biomarkers and reaction pathways required to individualize therapeutics to patient-specific phenotypes or to mass distribute cost effective microfluidic assaying devices to developing counties is pressing. However, the daunting number of unique compounds and reactions playing important roles renders any attempt at progress without high throughput considerations ludicrous.

Prof. Mirksich described an approach for using mass spectrometry to analyze self-assembled monolayers of alkanethiolates on gold. This technique, termed SAMDI MS, can efficiently identify the masses of substituted alkanethiolates in the monolayer and therefore enables the use of monolayers to assay a broad class of enzyme activities — including kinase, protease, methyltransferase and carbohydrate-directed modifications — and for discovering chemical reactions. In the seminar, he described applications for high throughput experiments, including the construction of peptide arrays and their use to profile the deacetylase and acetyl transferase family of enzymes, and to explore non-intuitive ways in which networks of enzymes can control protein acetylation.