Training and Education

Training and Education

The Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry Facility (BMSF) provides training and education

  • via a specialist course for researchers,
  • to undergraduates and postgraduates in coursework that involves mass spectrometry, and
  • focused research training on instrumental techniques for selected instruments in the BMSF.

See also free access for UNSW honours students.

About Mass Spectrometry

Mass spectrometry is about 100 years old and today is one of the most powerful methods of molecular analysis available. It is used in many different areas of science and engineering. Mass spectrometers are sophisticated and expensive instruments that require highly skilled operators.

What does Mass Spectrometry do?

Mass spectrometry (or MS) is a way to measure the mass of individual molecules, fragments of molecules or individual atoms. The mass of these tiny particles is microscopic. A molecule of water, for example, weighs about 10-22 grams (i.e., 0.0000000000000000000001 g)! It does this by separating ionised molecules according to the ratio of their mass to their charge.

More detail on Mass Spectrometry

A detailed article on mass spectrometry and its applications can be found on the American Society of Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) web site.

Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry

This regional society brings together scientists whose major specialisation involves mass spectrometry. The ANZSMS web site contains links to mass spectrometry research groups in Australia and overseas. It also provides links to mass spectrometry journals, upcoming conferences, other mass spectrometry societies, a member registry and more.

International Mass Spectrometry Foundation

The IMSF is an international organisation that unites all national mass spectrometry societies.

Biological Mass Spectrometry Workshop

The popular 3-4 day course is offered 1-2 times each year and is suitable for beginners and those familiar with applications of Mass Spectrometry in the Life Sciences. Participants gain access to expert staff who lecture and also supervise the hands-on component of this course.

Topics covered in the first 3 days include: Introduction to Biological Mass Spectrometry and instrumentation; MALDI and Electrospray ionisation; Peptide sequencing and tandem mass spectrometry; Proteomics and sample preparation; 1 and 2 dimensional liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry; Post-translational modifications and; Data analysis and interpretation.

The optional 1-day program (Day 4) will include a workshop on proteomic data analysis. This hands-on workshop will be focused on correct use of search engines for protein identification and discovery of protein post-translational modifications, followed by an introduction to the interpretation of functional significance of proteomic data using systems biology techniques. This workshop is a free bonus to the 3 day mass spec workshop offered.


 Registration Survey (Please note that this will take you to an external webpage)

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Courses

Several undergraduate and postgraduate courses offered at UNSW involve knowledge about mass spectrometry. The staff at the BMSF can tailor lectures, tutorials and laboratory demonstrations/practicals for students from level 2 to postgraduate. The table below lists the courses that BMSF contributed to in 2007. A total of over 70 hours of specialist face-to-face teaching was designed and delivered across UNSW in that year.

Schools wishing to discuss teaching inputs from the BMSF to their courses should contact the BMSF director.

Course School/Faculty
CHEM7116 Chromatography Mass Spectrometry Chemistry/Science
CHEM3041 Advanced Analytical Chemistry Chemistry/Science
CHEM3111 Molecular Biology of Proteins Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences/Science
BINF3001 Bioinformatics Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences/Science
BIOT7160 Biopharmaceuticals Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences/Science
BIOT3061 Genomics and Proteomics Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences/Science