The scientific interests in the Vertes Research Group span from fundamental studies in analytical and physical chemistry to the development of new technologies for biomedical analysis. Recent accomplishments include the discovery of photonic ion sources based on columnar nanostructures, the introduction of a new ambient ion source called laser ablation electrospray ionization (LAESI), metabolic imaging of biological tissues under native conditions and the in situ mass spectrometric analysis of single cells.

Research highlights

    • 1 - Laser induced silicon microcolumn arrays (LISMA) exhibit nanophotonic properties and unique fragmentation patterns that are adjustable by the laser fluence, and simultaneously produce high and low energy fragments.
    • 2 - Laser ablation electrospray ionization (LAESI) is a new atmospheric pressure ion source for mass spectrometry. LAESI enables the direct analysis tissues, cells and other water containing samples.
    • 3 - Silicon nanopost arrays (NAPA) can be tailored to exhibit resonant ion production. Ion yields from posts with subwavelength diameter show sharp resonances at high aspect ratios.
    • 4 - Phase Doppler anemometry reveals that droplet size and velocity distributions in electrosprays are strongly dependent on the spraying mode that, in turn, is determined by the liquid flow rate and the spray voltage.
    • 5 - Laser ablation electrospray ionization (LAESI) mass spectromtry enables the atmospheric pressure molecular imaging of biological tissues. The LAESI image of a rat brain coronal section shows the distribution of specific lipids.
    • 7 - Nanopost array (NAPA) chips with different periodicities on a silicon wafer exhibit unique optical properties. Excited by laser radiation, they behave as nanophotonic ion sources.
    • 8 - Single cell analysis by laser ablation electrospray ionization (LAESI) mass spectromtry produces rich spectra with over 100 ionic species. Numerous metabolites and lipids can be identified.
    • 9 - Fast photography of electrospray mensci reveals the relationship between spraying modes and ion production in electrospray ionization. Dramatic changes in the droplet size distributions result from the various ejection and breakup mechanisms observed.

Latest News


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    On 3-11-2015, Sylwia Stopka was selected as an Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) scholar for 2015-2016 by the Metropolitan Washington Chapter of the ARCS Foundation. This prestigious award supports Sylwia's work to develop new technologies for the rapid analysis of metabolites in microbial cell populations by LAESI mass spectrometry, and the imaging of metabolite and lipid distributions in mammalian tissues by laser desorption ionization from NAPA.

  • 1-30-2015 Congratulations to Amy Li and Sylwia Stopka on receiving MSCAL 2015 US Young Investigator Travel Grants. These grants help them to attend the 2015 Mass Spectrometry: Applications to the Clinical Lab Conference, where Amy's contribution entitled "Three-dimensional Metabolic Imaging of Live Bacterial Colonies by Laser Ablation Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry with Ion Mobility Separation" is selected for a podium presentation. Sylwia presents a poster on "High Throughput Pulse-chase Analysis of Metabolite Turnover in Microorganisms Followed by LAESI Mass Spectrometry."

  • Sylwia Stopka receives a 2014 MSDG Young Investigator Travel Award. On 5-19-2014, the Washington-Baltimore Mass Spectrometry Discussion Group selected Sylwia Stopka, a graduate student in the group, for a travel award. The financial component of the award helped her to attend the 62-nd ASMS Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics in Baltimore, MD, where she gave an oral presentation entitled "Metabolic Response to Altered Light Conditions in Genetically Modified Chlamydomonas by LAESI Mass Spectrometry with Ion Mobility Separation."

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    First and second prize in Undergraduate Natural Sciences at GW Research Days. On 4-1-2014, undergraduate students Emmeline Ha and Daniel Foreman swept the Undergraduate Natural Sciences: Cellular/Molecular category at the GW Research Days 2014. Emmeline's first place poster was titled "Revealing the binding properties behind copper(II)’s anti-aggregative effect on human amylin," whereas Dan placed second with his poster "Comparative Metabolic Profiling of Single Plant Cells by Capillary Microsampling and Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry."

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    Prof. Vertes elected Fellow of the National Academy Inventors. On 12-11-2013, GW Today reported on Dr. Akos Vertes' election as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. On December 18, 2013, this was followed by a GW press release through Newswise.

  • Aparna Sajja awarded 2013 Goldwater Scholarship. On 5-3-2013, GW Today reported on Aparna Sajja, an undergraduate student in our group, winning the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.

  • Hillebrand 2012 Award

    Prof. Vertes receives 2012 Hillebrand Award. Dr. Vertes was awarded the 2012 Hillebrand Award by The Chemical Society of Washington section of the American Chemical Society. The announcement was made in the March 2013 issue of The Capital Chemist, a publication of CSW.

  • Tarek Mansour CSW

    Tarek Mansour recieves CSW Award. On 2-13-2013, Tarek Mansour, an undergraduate in the group, received the College Chemistry Achievement Award from The Chemical Society of Washington, the local chapter of the American Chemical Society. Tarek's research focused on exploring metabolic pulse-chase analysis using LAESI mass spectrometry.

Vertes Group

Latest articles

  • 147/ Rohit Shroff, Katharina Schramm, Verena Jeschke, Peter Nemes, Akos Vertes, Jonathan Gershenzon and Ales Svatos, “Quantification of plant surface metabolites by MALDI mass spectrometry imaging: glucosinolates on Arabidopsis thaliana leaves,” The Plant Journal, 2015, 81, 961-972.

  • 146/ Laine R. Compton, Brent Reschke, Jordan Friend, Matthew Powell and Akos Vertes, “Remote Laser Ablation Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry for Non-proximate Analysis of Biological Tissues,” Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom., 2015, 29, 67-73.

  • 145/ Hang Li, Brian K. Smith, Laszlo Mark, Peter Nemes, Javad Nazarian, and Akos Vertes, “Ambient Molecular Imaging by Laser Ablation Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry with Ion Mobility Separation,” Int. J. Mass Spectrom., 2015, 375, 681-689.

  • 144/ Bindesh Shrestha, Prabhakar Sripadi, Brent R. Reschke, Holly D. Henderson, Matthew J. Powell, Sally A. Moody and Akos Vertes, “Subcellular Metabolite and Lipid Analysis of Xenopus laevis Eggs by LAESI Mass Spectrometry,” PLoS ONE, 2014, 9, e115173.

  • 143/ Sylwia A. Stopka, Bindesh Shrestha, Éric Maréchal, Denis Falconet and Akos Vertes, “Metabolic Transformation of Microalgae Due to Light Acclimation and Genetic Modifications Followed by Laser Ablation Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry with Ion Mobility Separation,” Analyst, 2014, 139, 5945-5953.

  • 142/ Anu Vaikkinen, Bindesh Shrestha, Juha Koivisto, Risto Kostiainen, Akos Vertes and Tiina J. Kauppila, “Laser Ablation Atmospheric Pressure Photoionization Mass Spectrometry Imaging of Phytochemicals from Sage Leaves,” Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom., 2014, 28, 2490-2496.

  • 141/ Linwen Zhang, Daniel P. Foreman, Paaqua A. Grant, Bindesh Shrestha, Sally A. Moody, Florent Villiers, June M. Kwak and Akos Vertes, “In Situ Metabolic Analysis of Single Plant Cells by Capillary Microsampling and Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry with Ion Mobility Separation,” Analyst, 2014, 139, 5079-5085.

  • 140/ Elizabeth Jaworski, Aarthi Narayanan, Rachel Van Duyne, Shabana Shabbeer-Meyering, Sergey Iordanskiy, Mohammed Saifuddin, Ravi Das, Philippe V. Afonso, Gavin C. Sampey, Myung Chung, Anastas Popratiloff, Bindesh Shrestha, Mohit Sehgal, Pooja Jain, Akos Vertes, Renaud Mahieux, and Fatah Kashanchi, “Human T-lymphotropic Virus Type 1-infected Cells Secrete Exosomes That Contain Tax Protein,” J. Biol. Chem., 2014, 289, 22284-22305.

  • 139/ Bindesh Shrestha and Akos Vertes, “High-Throughput Cell and Tissue Analysis with Enhanced Molecular Coverage by Laser Ablation Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry Using Ion Mobility Separation,” Anal. Chem., 2014, 86, 4308-4315.

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A Conversation with Dean Ben Vinson III - December 9, 2014, ~8 min

TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION AT GW - A Success Story - July 12, 2014, ~4 min

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER - A Story of Success - January 25, 2014, ~3 min