BI-MwA praised by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Nov 7, 2019
Applications: Polymers
Instruments: BI-MwA

The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, has praised their Brookhaven BI-MwA Molecular Weight Analyzer for its ability to provide better quality and more detailed information than other light scattering instruments in the department. Assistant Professor Yvonne Akpalu explained: “Light scattering is a technique that everyone has problems with to some degree, mainly because traditional methods are dependent on sample preparation and if this is done incorrectly, results in poor data and inaccurate Zimm plots. The BI-MwA, on the other hand, makes the whole process very simple and encourages the user to make the samples up accurately. The optics and design of the instrument are very good and together eliminate a lot of poor data problems. Furthermore, the system is also capable of correcting itself when necessary.”

Yvonne continued: “We originally purchased the BI-MwA two years ago for a number of different projects. We have a collaborative research study with Professor Brian Benicewicz in the Polymer Synthesis department to characterize the chain structure of a unique polymer membrane for fuel cells and to understand the fundamental basis for its function. We have also recently begun a collaborative project with Professor Wilfredo Colon in the Biochemistry and Biophysical department to study protein aggregation using mutated forms of copper/zinc superoxide dismutase enzymes. These proteins misfold, aggregate and form amyloid plaques, which are precursors associated with diseases like Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s. Nobody yet understands what happens during the stages of aggregate formation – the plaques go from being nanometers to millimeters in size and it is unknown how this triggers the clinical symptoms seen in patients. The BI-MwA will be very important in the early stages of this project to look at the size and the shape of the proteins as they develop into aggregates and we couldn’t do without it.”