Dr. Nick C. Polfer



Nick Polfer obtained his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh, U.K. (1999). He later pursued his PhD (Dewar-Ritchie studentship) at the same University in the group of Dr. Pat Langridge-Smith, working on Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometry. His research project was on a peptide fragmentation technique called electron capture dissociation (ECD), which is particularly useful in the identification and localization of post-translational modifications (PTM’s) in proteins. He completed his PhD at the end of 2003, and then moved to the FOM institute ‘Rijnhuizen’ in the Netherlands as a post-doctoral associate, starting in 2004.

At the FOM institute, he was involved with the development of infrared (IR) photodissociation spectroscopy of mass-selected ions using the free electron laser FELIX. He applied this technique to a range of biomolecular systems, including carbohydrates, amino acids, peptides and their dissociation products, as well as whole protein. Vibrational spectroscopy in combination with theoretical approaches (e.g. DFT) can give detailed information on gas-phase ions, as vibrational frequencies are subtly dependent on hydrogen bonding, the secondary structure and the chemical moieties that are present/formed. In 2007, he had a brief stint as a post-doctoral fellow at the Fritz-Haber Institute in Berlin, Germany, under the directon of Professor Gerard Meijer. In this year, he was also awarded the Dutch research foundation NWO Veni award.

Nick started his independent career at the University of Florida in 2007, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2013. His research focuses on the development of techniques in mass spectrometry to increase the structural information on biomolecules, particularly infrared ion spectroscopy. His tenure work focused on the fundamental elucidation of the fragmentation pathways of peptides, notably the scrambling of sequence information due to cyclization reactions. His more recent emphasis is on developing infrared ion spectroscopy as a bioanalytical tool for the characterization and identification of biomolecules (e.g. metabolites). He is the recipient of a number of awards, including the 2008 ASMS Research Award, an NSF CAREER (2009), an ACS PRF New Investigator Award (2009), an Excellence Award for Assistant Professors (2013), and an Outstanding Reviewer Award for the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (2013). For the most up-to-date research developments in the Polfer group, please refer to the “Research” page.



Please click on pdf link for Dr Polfer's cv.