Temperature-controlled Electrospray Ionization Source

Primary Inventors: 

This technology provides a temperature-controlled electrospray ionization (ESI) source that allows for highly precise and accurate characterization of the thermal stability and aggregation of proteins by ESI mass spectrometry (MS). The ESI source was designed to eliminate artifacts that interfere with the detection of temperature-induced changes of biopolymer properties. It minimizes biopolymer degradation prior to the analysis, and incorporates a long heat shield to greatly improve thermal control during sample introduction into the ESI interface. This technology, coupled with high specificity of MS detection, enables the study of both reversible and irreversible processes of biopolymers in solution, and allows the early stages of heat-induced protein aggregation to be characterized in detail by monitoring both conformational changes and formation of oligomeric complexes as a function of temperature.


Characterization of stability and aggregation of biopharmaceutical products, such as protein drugs and vaccines, under heat-stress conditions
     o Reversible unfolding of proteins
     o Irreversible unfolding and aggregation of proteins
     o Kinetic measurements of protein aggregation

Characterization of thermal denaturation of biopolymers such as proteins and nucleic acids
     o Dissociation of DNA duplexes
     o Dissociation of multi-protein assemblies and protein/DNA complexes 

  • New ESI source design strategies that prevent heat loss, protein degradation, and acidification of protein solution
  • Adjustable sample flow rate allows process triggered by heat stress to be monitored in a time-resolved fashion
  • Highly precise and accurate characterization of protein unfolding and aggregation
Licensing Status: 
Available for Licensing or Sponsored Research
Patent Status: 

Patent Issued US 8,766,179

UMA 10-39
For More Information: 

Ling X. Shen, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Senior Licensing Officer
Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property
Phone: 413-545-5276
E-mail: lxshen@research.umass.edu