VIU Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

Future Directions

CHEMS- Centre for Health and Environmental Mass Spectrometry (CHEMS)

Development and Application of Portable MS-Based Technologies for Direct in situ / On-Site and Point-of-Care Use

The Applied Environmental Research Laboratories (AERL) at Vancouver Island University (VIU) has become an internationally recognized centre for innovation in the development and application of real-time mass spectrometry techniques, primarily aimed at environmental diagnostics. This project is the natural evolution of this work to develop direct, mass spectrometry based diagnostic tools for biological samples and medical applications. We envision the creation of a research cluster of excellence at VIU that capitalizes on the expertise of a team of key multidisciplinary researchers for the development and implementation of innovative instrumental platforms for direct, real-time mass spectrometry. The development of the CHEMS research cluster will allow the creation and application of important new analytical approaches for direct measurement of key determinants of environmental and human health. CHEMS will include several state-of-the-art, lab-based mass spectrometers critical for new method development and sample characterization. Further, CHEMS will also design and implement a fleet of portable instruments, methodologies and the expertise to operate them. These systems will be made available for field deployments, on-site analysis and point-of-care diagnostic projects. We envision a world where portable mass spectrometers are found in every doctor's office, hospital ward and emergency response kit; where molecules are identified, sourced and quantified on-site so that immediate and appropriate medical interventions or environmental remediation actions can be made.  Our 2018 move to a state-of-the-art mass spectrometry research facility at VIU in the Health and Sciences Building is the first step in this vision. We are actively seeking infrastructure investments to bring this goal to reality. (photo courtesy Andrew Garland, CTV News)