Ralph N Adams Award
Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
2:00 PM Room: 300
Norman Dovichi, University of Notre Dame
Jonathan Sweedler received his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the University of Arizona in 1988 and spent three years at Stanford as a postdoctoral associate before moving to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is currently the James R. Eiszner Family Chair in the analytical division of the Department of Chemistry. He serves as director of the Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center, and has cross-campus affiliations with the Departments of Physiology and Bioengineering, the Neuroscience program, and the Beckman Institute of Science and Technology.
The Ralph Adams Award recognizes significant contributions to the field of bioanalytical chemistry, and Sweedler’s research fits this theme. Sweedler researches include new developments in capillary electrophoresis, mass spectrometry, NMR, and microfluidics. Much of his group's efforts involve scaling these methods to the nanoliter and smaller volume regimes to allow the identification and quantitation of analytes from cellular microenvironments. As several more specific examples, their nanoliter-volume NMR probes enabled the first demonstration of NMR detection for capillary electrophoresis, and their matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry protocols allowed direct profiling of the contents of individual neurons. A number of efficient approaches for small-volume metabolomics and peptidomics have been created and used to discover the chemical content from selected brain regions. In addition, approaches have been developed that allow peptide release from cells to be characterized. They use microfluidics to control the environment around cells, and to interface the collection of mass limited samples to other characterization approaches.
His group uses these approaches to probe novel neurochemistry. Because neurotransmitters and neuromodulators are so well conserved across the animal kingdom, he combines these new approaches with a veritable zoo of animal models ranging from mollusks to insects to vertebrates, and uses the combination of unusual animal models and novel analytical approaches to study fundamental questions on how the brain functions. They have characterized signaling molecules in samples ranging from single cells to entire brain regions in creatures ranging from jellies to mammals. Specific queries he addresses include what molecules are present in specific cells and networks and how they change and influence network activity, animal behavior or even on exposure to drugs.
Sweedler has authored or coauthored over 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts and has delivered over 350 invited lectures. Acknowledging the impact of his research accomplishments, Sweedler has received numerous awards including the Fields Award from the Eastern Analytical Symposium, the ACS Analytical Division Arthur Findeis Award, the Benedetti-Pichler Award in Microanalysis, the Gill Prize, the Merck Prize, the Instrumentation Award from the Analytical Division of the ACS, the Pittsburgh Analytical Chemistry Award, the Theophilus Redwood Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Viktor Mutt Award from the International Regulatory Peptide Society. He is currently an associate editor of Analytical Chemistry.