MESA+ University of Twente
The BIOS Lab-on-a-chip group


Electrochemistry – Liquid Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry for drug screening and proteomics


In this project, the goal for BIOS develops a miniaturized electrochemical cell for on-line use with liquid chromatography and mass-spectrometry. Four different groups from four different fields of research work in a cooperative project funded by Dutch technology foundation STW (Stichting voor de Technische Wetenschappen). In (bio)analytical chemistry, pharmaceutics and proteomics, tools like liquid chromatography (LC) and mass spectrometry (MS) are frequently used. LC and MS are often combined with electrochemical cells used for different kinds of electrochemical conversions, which is also the common denominator in this project.

In mass spectrometry only charged species can be detected. Therefore, electrochemical conversions are used (among other methods) in (bio)analytical chemistry to provide charge to otherwise neutral molecules. The method of choice for drug metabolites and peptides is electrospray ionization (ESI), in which the fragments to be analyzed are charged using a high voltage spray needle.

Electrochemical oxidation of pharmaceuticals can be used to mimic the metabolic pathways occurring in the body. This is a way to accelerate in vitro tests for new potential drugs candidates.

Protein digestion and subsequent analysis of the resulting peptide mixture by mass spectrometry has become a powerful method for protein identification used especially in proteomics. Protein digestion or cleavage is done traditionally by enzymatic or chemical means. Important for the cleavage is the specific position at which the proteins are cleaved. Also, the cleavage must not produce unwanted, unspecific side products. Electrochemical cleavage might prove to be an attractive alternative.

Project goals

The BIOS – Lab on a Chip group is specialized in designing and fabricating microfluidic chips for

biomedical applications. In this project, the goal is to develop a miniaturized electrochemical cell with an integrated LC column and ESI needle for on-line use with MS. Miniaturization is beneficial, because of the increased surface to volume ratio. Therefore, high turnover rates for electrochemical metabolism and protein cleavage can be achieved. This integrated system will be produced in a plastic material with a fast fabrication process, to achieve a cheap disposable platform that will be used to obtain analytical results for pharmaceutical and proteomics applications.


If you are interested and for instance would like to do your (master or bachelor) graduation work or a practical term, please contact via the e-mail address below.

Contact information

Floris van den Brink

+31 (0)53 489 3706

Mathieu Odijk

+31 (0)53 489 4782

Wouter Olthuis

+31 (0)53 489 26 88


Prof. dr. R. Bischoff

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Centre for Pharmacy & Analytical Biochemistry

Dr. A.P. Bruins

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Centre for Pharmacy & Mass Spectrometry Core Facility

Prof. dr. U. Karst

Universität Münster

Institute of Inorganic & Analytical Chemistry

Dr. W. Olthuis

Universiteit Twente

Faculty of Electrical Engineering

BIOS – Lab on a Chip group


Technologiestichting STW

Postbus 3021

3502 GA Utrecht