December 5, 2021
Mapping dynamic lipid biochemistry with high spatial and molecular detail
Dr Shane Ellis was awarded the 2019 ARC Future Fellowship for his project on ‘Mapping dynamic lipid biochemistry with high spatial and molecular detail‘. The project aims to develop cutting edge mass spectrometry imaging techniques to spatially map lipid metabolism in tissues and cells at a level of detail not previously possible. Dr Ellis has established the mass spectrometry imaging laboratory within Molecular Horizons and the first imaging system is now operational. This included the first laser-post-ionisation capabilities in the southern hemisphere that improves sensitivity by up to 100-fold and is a key enabler of the ultra-high spatial resolution imaging techniques we are developing. Studies are already underway to apply imaging technologies to a variety of biological questions, including mapping the lipid environment of prostate cancer tissues, understanding the role of lipids in Parkinson’s disease, age-related changes leading to cataract formation and imaging of individual neuronal cells. The Future Fellowship projects will continue to develop these technologies and applications and complement them with both kinetic information (using isotope labelling strategies) and the isomer-resolved identification and imaging of lipids. Dr Ellis` vision is to ensure UOW becomes the place to perform mass spectrometry imaging in Australia.