Leito_LCMS_Validation_EuroMS_2017On 21.06.17 Ivo Leito gave a talk titled Review on validation of liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry methods at the Euro Mass Spectrometry 2017 meeting (London, UK). The talk focused on the two-part Tutorial review on validation of liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) methods

as well as on the related on-line course (MOOC) LC-MS Method Validation and the ValChrom validation software.

The reception of this talk was one of the warmest during the meeting! Several participants came later to say words of thank for offering such a valuable resource to the LC-MS community. There were also some interesting ideas proposed regarding topics that could be covered in the online course. LC-MS and MiC issues, such as validation, are among core competences of the UT Analytical Chemistry research group. The tutorial review, the on-line course, as well as the ValChrom software together form a nice outcome of joining these competences together.

Concerning the topics of the meeting in general, they were remarkably diverse and not so heavily dominated by biomedical MS as is often the case at mass spectrometry meetings. Interesting presentations were given on gas-phase ion processes, different laser techniques in MS (e.g. for analysis of solids without sample preparation), advanced catalysis studies by MS, LC-ICP-DRC-MS for trace element speciation, the possibility of making a high-end LC-HRMS system an “open access” system within an organization, etc.

 

Irja_Helm_Conducting_Dissolved_Oxygen_Measurement_Training_in_UruguayDuring Jun 12-16, 2017 research fellow Irja Helm from University of Tartu, Institute of Chemistry is conducting a training session on high-accuracy dissolved oxygen measurement in Montevideo (Uruguay). The local organiser of the training is LATU (Laboratorio Tecnológico del Uruguay). There are 8 participants in the training, from Uruguay, Argentina, Ecuador and Peru.

The training is centered around the high-accuracy Winkler titration method of dissolved oxygen concentration measurement that Irja developed during her PhD study: I. Helm, L. Jalukse, I. Leito “A highly accurate method for determination of dissolved oxygen: Gravimetric Winkler method” Analytica Chimica Acta 2012, 741, 21–31. The training is interesting in the sense that most of it is carried out in laboratory, where participants do measurements hands-on. The experimental setup was assembled jointly by LATU and by Irja. The practical orientation is well in line with the main purpose of the training – to introduce the high-accuracy Winkler method to the reference laboratories in the participant countries.

The training is organised in the framework of the project „Regional Quality Infrastructure Fund for Biodiversity and Climate Protection in Latin America and the Caribbean“ (VH-No.: 95094) coordinated by PTB (Germany).

(Photo: Irja Helm, on the left, together with training participants in laboratory)

 

University of TartuIn a recent ranking of world universities by QS, one of the world’s leading compilers of university performance ratings, the University of Tartu scored a high 314. place (up by 33 places from the last year) and maintains the highest rank among Estonian and Baltic universities.

Out of the criteria used by QS the improvement was especially strong in the category “Employer reputation”: up by 90 places from the last year. The criteria “Faculty student ratio”, “Number of international students” and “Research” also improved. Considering that there are around 26 000 universities in the world, this result places UT within the best 1.2% universities in the world!

 

Measurement_Uncertainty_MOOC_Successfully_FinishedOn May 18, 2017 the MOOC Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis offered by University of Tartu finished successfully.
Eventually altogether 363 people registered (270 in 2014, 489 in 2015, 757 in 2016) from 69 countries (a number of participants joined after the start of the course). The significantly lower number of participants is understandably due to the fact that this year for the first time the certificate on paper was not free of charge. 219 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 148 successfully completed the course (141 in 2014, 169 in 2015, 308 in 2016). The overall completion rate was 41% (52% in 2014, 34% in 2015, 40% in 2016). The completion rate of participants who started the studies was 68% (67% in 2014, 60% in 2015, 67% in 2016). The completion rates of participants who actually started the course are nicely consistent over the years and can be considered very good for a MOOC, especially one that has quite difficult calculation exercises, which need to be done correctly for completing the course.

The participants were very active and asked lots of questions. These were often very much to the point and addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. The course has several forums (general and by topic) and the overall number of posts to them during the course period reached beyond 300 (!) (overall number of posts, both from participants and from teachers) and the forums are still active and posts are still coming in.

This active participation made teaching this MOOC a great experience also for us, the teachers. The discussion threads gave a lot of added value to the course and some of them triggered making important modifications to the course materials, even during the course.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Spring 2018.

 

EACH_AMS_Master_Seminar_Spring_2017Today on Sat 20.05.17 the concluding event of the joint master seminar of the EACH and AMS programmes took place. Its main activities were the feedback session on employability from Prof. Salzer (TU Dresden) and concluding the Group work of helping a water production company to choose, which analytical technique to implement in their lab for analysis of trace elements in drinking water according to the EC directive 98/83/EC Quality of Water Intended for Human Consumption.

Prof. Salzer gave feedback on the CVs and motivation letters that the students wrote according to the guidance given by him earlier this week. He praised the group and gave, on the example of CVs and motivation letters of students, a number of good hints for improvements.

The above mentioned group work has been going on since the beginning of the semester and its essence is that students are divided into groups and each group is a small consultation company that intends to guide a water production plant, as to which trace element technique to implement in their lab, taking into account the amount of water produced, the corresponding required number of samples per year according to 98/83/EC, the cost of the equipment, the running costs, etc. The groups had to justify their recommendations. The groups did well and came up with different suggestions: GFAAS (together with CVAAS), ICP-OES (together with voltammetry) and ICP-MS.
Both of these activities are expected also for future seminars of these prorammes.

 

Pilleriin Peets presenting at Technart 2017

Pilleriin Peets presenting at Technart 2017

On May 02, 2017, the first day of the Technart 2017 conference (Bilbao, Spain) doctoral student Pilleriin Peets from UT Analytical Chemistry group made a presentation Identification and classification of textile fibres using ATR‐FT‐IR spectroscopy with chemometric methods (Photo on the left).

The presentation outlines the recent results by Pilleriin in creating the method for quick, easy and non-destructive classification and semi-quantitative analysis of textiles using ATR-FT-IR spectroscopy combined with chemometric data analysis methods.

She investigated altogether 89 individual textile materials – Wool, Silk, Cotton, Linen, Cellulose acetate, Lyocell/Tenzel, Viscose, Polyester fibre, Polyamide fibre, Polyacrylic fibre, Elastane and their different combinations – and created a discrimination/classification model using principal component analysis (Image on the right).

Classification of textiles by ATR-FT-IR and principal component analysis, PCA (single-fibre model)

Classification of textiles by ATR-FT-IR and principal component analysis, PCA (single-fibre model)

As a side-product of this work, a collection of ATR-FT-IR spectra of textile materials containing one or two different fibres was composed and is deposited in the Supplementary data of the paper that she recently published: P. Peets et al. Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy 2017, 173, 175–181.

This collection of ATR-FT-IR spectra helps to identify different kind of single- and two-component mixed textiles.

Technart conference series is a premier scientific forum dedicated to applying analytical techniques in the field of art and cultural heritage.

 

 

Awards2017-Website&Facebook-share-1200x630On the 5th of April 2017 the European Commission and Europa Nostra announced the winners of the 2017 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, Europe’s top honour in the heritage field.

Among the 29 laureates (from 18 countries) is also the Rode Altarpiece Research and Conservation Project (research category) of the high altar of St. Nicholas’ Church in Tallinn.

The project was coordinated by Dr. Hilkka Hiiop from the Art Museum of Estonia. This project also involves several scientists from the chair of analytical chemistry at the University of Tartu, among them Dr. Signe Vahur and her student Krete Saak, and Dr. Riin Rebane, who carried out a thorough material analysis.

The Award Ceremony will be held in Turku, Finland on the 15th of May 2017. During the ceremony, in addition to seven Grand Prix laureates also the Public Choice Award winner will be announced. Everyone has a chance to vote for 3 of their favourite projects, and thereby enter a draw to win a trip for two to Turku and take part in the European Heritage Awards Ceremony on 15th of May. The deadline for casting your votes is the 3rd of May, 2017.

Further information on the project can be found on the web page: Rode Altarpiece in Close-up.

 

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UT_Measurement_Uncertainty_MOOC_Participants_2017On Monday, March 27, 2017 the web course “Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis” was launched the third time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course).

Currently 336 participants from 62 countries are registered. The somewhat decreased popularity of the course is most probably due to the fact that starting from this year certificate of completion on paper is not free of charge (digital certificate is still free). Given this change, we are actually surprised that we still have so many participants! Image on the left shows the countries where the participants come from. As in the previous years, the majority of participants are from analytical laboratories, once again demonstrating the continuing need for training in measurement uncertainty estimation in analytical chemistry.

The full course material is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. Some developments and improvements have been made to the course material, in particular, better description of course organisatsion a self-test on sophisticated uncertainty estimation taking numerically into account the limited selectivity of the technique (potentiometry with ion-selective electrode). Some changes are still in the pipeline. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises). In order to pass the course the registered participants have to take six graded tests and get higher than 50% score. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.

 

Measurement_Uncertainty_Value_Error_EtcThe online course Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis will start its 4th edition on Monday, Mar 27, 2017. 300 participants have already been registered from 58 countries. Registration is still open and all people interested to learn this important topic are welcome to participate!

The registration link is available from the course website: https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty

 

LCMS Method Validation online course offered by UTOn Feb 16, 2017 the MOOC LC-MS Method Validation finished successfully.
Altogether 303 people were registered from 61 countries. 224 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 168 successfully completed the course. The overall completion rate was 55%. The completion rate of participants who started the studies was 75%. Both completion rates are all time highest that our group has seen in our MOOCs!

The questions from the participants were often very interesting, often addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work and in several cases led to improvements in the course. This active participation made teaching this MOOC a great experience also for us, the teachers! The discussion threads gave a lot of added value to the course and some of them triggered making important modifications to the course materials.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Autumn 2017.

 

This is a Golden Age of Measurement ScienceThe American Chemical Society (the world’s largest scientific society by membership!) has recently published a document titled Top Ten Trends Driving Science, which summarizes in an intelligent and engaging way the main processes and trends in the contemporary society that drive the scientific research. The explanations are supported by numerous quotes from leading scientists.

Of specific interest for our study programme is the trend No 2: Big data is more essential than ever, is which supported by quote from Jonathan Sweedler, Editor-in-Chief of Analytical Chemistry, stating among other things: This is a Golden Age of Measurement Science!

All the best wishes to all measurement scientists – both chemical and physical – everywhere in the world!

 

Pilleriin_PeetsAmong the analytical chemistry research directions at UT are studies of materials, especially materials with artistic and/or historic relevance. Textiles have a prominent place among these materials and the leading force of textile analysis in our group is PhD student Pilleriin Peets.

We have the pleasure to announce that her master’s thesis defended in June 2016 “Method development for textile dye analysis on the example of red dyes” was awarded with the 1st prize in the Estonian National Contest for University Students supported by Estonian Research Council. Congratulations, Pilleriin!
This very interesting and challenging master’s thesis involved development of methodologies using complementary techniques – FT-ICR-MS with ESI and MALDI sources, LC-QQQ-MS, SEM-EDS – for thoroughgoing investigation of composition of red dyes.

Natural dyes (extracted from plants and insects) are complex mixtures of sophisticated organic compounds and their chemical composition is still not fully known. Dyes can be divided into different groups (antraquinones, flavonoids etc) but within a group they can be quite similar. In order to fix dyes on fabrics mordants (alum, tannic acid etc) are commonly used. Identifying dyes and mordants in textiles is challenging: samples are very small, analyte concentrations are low, objects consist of many components (incl. impurities) and their decomposition products. So, accurate methods that can work with small amounts of sample and very low analyte contents in samples, are still needed.

Pilleriin_Peets_taking_textile_samplesDuring her master’s studies Pilleriin Peets managed to overcome all these difficulties and developed a useful methodology for dye analysis. At first Pilleriin collected different red dyes (madder, cochineal etc), dyed pure wool pieces and then extracted the dyes from dyed wool. During dyeing she adjusted different recipes and developed suitable dyeing procedure. After that she analysed all these dye standard solutions and fibre extracts, using HPLC-QQQ-MS, ESI- and MALDI-FT-ICR-MS methods and developed a suitable measurement methodology for every dye. Additionally, different mordants were analysed from known mordanted samples and unknown real samples using SEM-EDS. The developed methodology was applied to real samples from the Estonian National Museum and private collections (photo on the right: Pilleriin taking textile samples at the Estonian National Museum).

These developed methodologies are right now being extended to the analysis of other colours and dyes: Pillerin continues this investigation during her PhD studies and in the future there will be coming much more interesting research developments in this topic.

Pilleriin started with serious scientific research already in the bachelor’s studies: she developed an approach of classification of single- and two-component textile materials using ATR-FT-IR spectra and chemometric methods, principal component analysis (PCA) and discriminant analysis on the basis of altogether 89 textile samples belonging to 26 different types (11 one- and 15 two-component textiles). This work has been published in Spectrochimica Acta Part A 2017, 173, 175-181.

 

each-students-meeting-prof-fraser-stoddartOn Monday 12.12.2016 the 2nd year EACH students studying at Uppsala had the wonderful opportunity to meet Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, one of the three 2016 Chemistry Nobel prize laureates. The 2016 Chemistry Nobel prize was awarded for the contributions to design and synthesis of molecular machines.

On the photo Prof. Stoddart is in the middle of the second row. In the first row on the right is prof. Jonas Bergquist (the EACH coordinator at Uppsala) who organized the meeting.

 

UT_LC_MS_Validation_MOOC_Participants_2016On Monday, November 28, 2016 the web course LC-MS Method Validation was launched for the first time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). There are 301 registered participants from 61 countries, ranging from Vietnam to Peru and from Norway to Zambia. Image on the left shows the countries where the participants come from.

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using LC-MS as technique. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation, covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. The course follows the tradition set by the course Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis launched in 2014. Differently from the uncertainty course, the LC-MS validation course is delivered by a team of 8 teachers, each with their own specific area of competence. This way it is expected to offer the best possible knowledge in the different subtopics of analytical method validation.

The full course material is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/lcms_method_validation/. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged calculation exercises). In order to pass the course the registered participants have to take all tests and get higher than 50% score from each of them. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform. Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from the University of Tartu.

It is planned to run this course as MOOC again in autumn 2017.

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

 

EACH_Erasmus_Mundus_JMDWe are glad to announce that the 2017 admission is officially open to the Excellence in Analytical Chemistry (EACH) Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree programme!

This international two-year joint master degree programme educates specialists in analytical chemistry well qualified to work in industry (food, pharmaceutical, materials, energy, etc) and chemical analysis laboratories (environment, food, health, etc) worldwide. EACH provides knowledge and practical skills in both fundamental and applied aspects of modern analytical chemistry. Practical internship placement in industry or laboratories is an important part of the training.

The programme is suitable both for students who have finished their bachelor’s studies and want to continue in master’s studies, as well as for working analytical chemistry practitioners wishing to spend couple of years to bring their knowledge and skills to a new level.

The programme features generous scholarships as detailed in the Scholarships and tuition fees page.

The programme is taught by four universities: University of Tartu (UT, coordinator), Estonia; Uppsala University (UU), Sweden; University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (UCBL), France; and Åbo Akademi University (AAU), Finland. The language of instruction is English, but students will also learn to communicate in one of the languages of the countries involved.

The online application form, admission requirements, deadlines, list of necessary documents, instructions/explanations, as well as contact data for questions are available from the EACH Admission information page.

 

 

esikaas_2We are glad to announce the online course LC-MS Method Validation!

It has been set up at University of Tartu during 2015-2016 and its version 1 is now accessible from the address https://sisu.ut.ee/lcms_method_validation/

The course will be offered as a Massive Open On-line Course (MOOC) during Nov 28, 2016 – Feb 09, 2017 and it is now open for registration via the above address. The course is free of charge. This is the first edition of this MOOC and it will be offered to a limited number of participants.

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry as technique, mostly (but not limited to) using the electrospray (ESI) ion source. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation, covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. The course is largely based on the recently published two-part tutorial review:

The course contains lectures, practical exercises and numerous tests for self-testing. In spite of being introductory, the course intends to offer sufficient knowledge and skills for carrying out validation for most of the common LC-MS analyses in routine laboratory environment. The real-life analysis situations for which there are either examples or self-tests are for example pesticide analyses in fruits and vegetables, perfluororalkyl acids in water, antibiotics in blood serum, glyphosate and AMPA in surface water, etc. It is important to stress, that for successful validation experience (both in analytical chemistry as such and also specifically in validation) is crucial and this can be acquired only through practice.

This course material is available from the above address all the time and can be used via web by anyone who wishes to improve the knowledge and skills in analytical method validation (especially when using LC-ESI-MS).

 

Leito_CroLab_2016On Oct 20, 2016 Ivo Leito gave presentation titled Education Activities in Metrology in Chemistry in Vinkovci (Croatia) at the conference Laboratory Competence 2016 organized by CroLab – the Croatian Association of Laboratories.

The presentation contains information about the Applied Measurement Science and Excellence in Analytical Chemistry master’s programmes et University of Tartu, about the international consortium Measurement Science in Chemistry, about the on-line course Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis and the new on-line course LC/MS Method Validation. Also the recently published tutorial reviews were touched upon.

The presentation led to a number of new contacts and invitation to next events. Participants were impressed by the breadth of activities as well as by the very strong team working on these things at UT. In addition, Ivo Leito was interviewed by the Croatian national television.

 

EcoBalt_2016_Group_PhotoOn Wednesday 12.10.16 the EcoBalt 2016 conference – first time organized in Tartu, Estonia – finished successfully! 42 oral talks and 43 posters were offered to the more than 150 participants from more than 25 countries. The conference featured two tutorial sessions – on measurement uncertainty and on validation of LC/MS analytical methods. The mesmerizing introductory multimedia presentation by Sven Zacek about Estonian nature and the stunning closure talk about “impossible things” by Meelika Hirmo from Let’s Do It! World were certainly among the highlights of the conference.

A number of AMS and EACH students participated in the conference.

We thank all the participants for making EcoBalt 2016 a success!

Full information about the conference, including the conference programme and EcoBalt 2016 Book of Abstracts can be found at the EcoBalt 2016 website.

EcoBalt 2016 was organized by the University of Tartu with Tallinn University of Technology and Estonian Environmental Research Centre.

EcoBalt2016 received financial support from a number of sources. We thank all supporters! Without their help the conference would not have been possible.

  • EU_Regional_Development_Fund_horizontalFor organisation of international events and conferences from Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure in cooperation with the Enterprise Estonia tourism development centre from funding provided by the European Union Regional Development Fund.
  • kik_eng_logo_horizontalSecond day of the conference was fully supported by Environmental Investment Centre.
  • The following companies supported the conference: LaboChema, Ramboll, Ordior, Quantum, SyntPot, HNK, Waters, Armgate and LanLab.

 

eesti-keskkonnauuringute-keskus_riidekoti_kujundusIn few hours the EcoBalt 2016 conference will start, for the first time in Tartu!

The EcoBalt conference series has traditions dating back to 1993 and has been envisaged from the beginning as a Baltic event. Nevertheless, this is the first time that it takes place in Estonia (previously only in Latvia and Lithuania).

We are very glad to welcome more than 160 registered participants from more than 25 countries, making it a truly international conference! The nearby countries are represented as well as e.g. Philippines, Mexico, India, China, Nepal, Sri Lanka, … A number of AMS students also participate in EcoBalt 2016!

The EcoBalt 2016 programme is very diverse: topics ranging from ultramodern environmental analytical techniques to environmental management and from nanoparticles in environment to global climate change.

EcoBalt 2016 is organised jointly by UT in collaboration with TTU and Estonian Environmental Research Centre in the framework of the ECAC consortium.

 

mooc_vs_traditional_courses_in_chemistryOn Sept 13, 2016 Ivo Leito gave a presentation Using MOOCs for teaching analytical chemistry: experience at University of Tartu at the EuCheMS 2016 Congress (Seville, Spain).

The presentation outlined the contents and organisation of the material in the on-line course Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis, the different ways of using the on-line material (for independent learning, for self-testing, as an information source and as a basis for running as a MOOC) and the experience of running it as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) at University of Tartu during the three MOOC editions in 2014 to 2016. An important part of the presentation was devoted to analyzing the pros and cons of MOOCs as a way of teaching and in particular as a way of teaching analytical chemistry (or its subdisciplines). It was concluded that MOOCs do have advantages, especially if compared to short training courses for practitioners. The talk created quite some interest and discussions after the session.

Detailed discussion of this topic has been published: I. Leito, I. Helm, L. Jalukse. Anal Bioanal Chem 2015, 407, 1277–1281.
The course material is available for all interested people from https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/

Preparation of a new MOOC course Validation of LC-MS analysis methods is currently underway by the group of analytical chemistry. The materials of the LC-MS validation course are nearing completion and are already available online.

 

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