Matthew Bell


Office: CLB 302



University of Florida
Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry, 2013-present
Graduate Research Project with Dr. Nick Polfer


University of Maryland Baltimore County

B.S. Chemistry; Minor in Statistics, May 2011



Research Interests:

My research focuses on the analysis of drugs and drug metabolites using infrared multiple photon dissociation (IRMPD) spectroscopy ad mass spectrometry. I also manage the development and maintenance of the custom LabVIEW software that our group uses to control our mass spectrometer, our laser system, and to analyze data. Over the past few years I have been involved in the development of a cryogenic ion trap, which would allow us to perform infrared predissociation (IRPD) spectroscopy experiments for the structural analysis of drugs and drug metabolites. Infrared spectra are indicative of molecular structure and functional group presence. By cataloguing the IR spectra of many drug species from different drug classes, it should be possible to identify the class that a drug belongs to based on its spectral features. This is particularly powerful for the identification of designer drugs, often structural derivatives of more common drug species, which elude traditional LC-MS identification. The addition of high resolution IR spectra from IRPD to the already powerful LC-MS methodologies in use introduces a new dimension of information for drug screening.

Previous projects I have been involved with include regioisomeric differentiation by IRMPD kinetics measurement. Dissociation of irradiated ions that occurs as the ions are accelerated into a ToF spectrometer can be observed as a peak broadening effect in the resultant mass spectrum. Custom-designed software was used to measure the delay between laser irradiation and ion ejection down to near-nanosecond accuracy. By analysis of the change in peak shape with respect changes in the delay time, the kinetics of the dissociation process were estimated. The observed dissociation kinetics were used to differentiate regioisomers of the drug molecule dimethoxybenzoylpiperazine (DMBzP). I presented a poster on this research at ASMS in 2015.

My current work is focused on optimization of cryogenic ion tagging. This involves studying the effects of gas pressures and gas pulse timing within the cryogenic ion trap and how they affect the efficiency of the IRPD experiment. More specific details about this work will be added here at a later date.




'Making Mass Spectrometry See the Light: The Promises and Challenges of Cryogenic Infrared Ion Spectroscopy as a Bioanalytical Technique', AP Cismesia, LS Bailey, MR Bell, LF Tesler, NC Polfer; J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom., 2016


'Infrared ion spectroscopy inside a mass-selective cryogenic 2D linear ion trap', AP Cismesia, LF Tesler, MR Bell, LS Bailey, NC Polfer; J. Mass Spectrom., 2017.