Research interests

Mass spectrometry is a core enabling technology that is used in many emerging and existing scientific fields. 

We are developing and applying experimental methods in mass spectrometry with an emphasis on fundamental and applied problems in chemistry and biochemistry.

Our current objectives are to:

  1. Significantly improve the rapid detection of organic molecules, biomarkers, and proteins with ultrahigh sensitivity by use of advanced ionization, ion mobility and tandem mass spectrometry methods.
  2. Understand the molecular origins of cellular heterogeneity by developing novel single cell mass spectrometry methodologies.
  3. Develop high-performance, portable ion detectors in silicon chips that operate at ambient pressure for the detection of many different chemicals nearly simultaneously.
  4. Discover and explore the mechanisms of chemical reactions that are mediated by transition metal complexes and catalysts using ion-molecule reactions, ion fragmentation methods, and ion spectroscopy.

Our research is highly interdisciplinary and we actively collaborate with other researchers in pharmacology & medicinal chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, supramolecular chemistry, molecular biology, proteomics, surface and materials chemistry, physical chemistry and electrical engineering. 

  • Donald Group photo, November 2017
    Donald Group photo, September 2015
  • 1. Nguyen, G. T. H.; Tran, T. N.; Podgorski, M. N.; Bell, S. G.; Supuran, C. T.; Donald, W. A. Nanoscale ion emitters in native mass spectrometry for measuring ligand-protein binding affinities. ACS Central Science, 2019, DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.8b007871.

    2. Winter, D. L.; Wilkins, M. R.; Donald, W. A. Differential ion mobility-mass spectrometry for detailed analysis of the proteome. Trends in Biotechnology, 2019, 37, 198-213.

    3. Zenaidee, M. A.; Leeming, M. G.; Zhang, F.; Funston, T. T.; Donald, W. A. Highly charged protein ions: The strongest organic acids to date. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2017, 56, 8522-26 ("Very Important Paper").

    4. Kabir, K. M. M.; Donald, W. A. Microscale differential ion mobility spectrometry for field deployable chemical analysis. Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 2017, 97, 399-427.

    5. Dumlao, M. C.; Xiao, D.; Zhang, D.; Fletcher, J.; Donald, W. A. Effects of different waveforms on the performance of active capillary dielectric barrier discharge ionization mass spectrometry. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 2017, 28, 575-78 (Cover of Emerging Investigator Issue).

    6. Leeming, M. G.; Donald, W. A.; O'Hair, R. A. J. Non-targeted identification of reactive metabolite protein adducts. Analytical Chemistry, 2017, 89, 5748-56.

    7. Dumlao, M. C.; Jeffress, L. E.; Gooding, J. J.; Donald, W. A. Solid-phase microextraction low temperature plasma mass spectrometry for the direct and rapid analysis of chemical warfare simulants in complex mixtures. Analyst, 2016, 141, 3714-21 (Emerging Investigator Issue).

    8. Leeming, M. G.; Isaac, A. P.; Pope, B. J.; Cranswick, N.; Wright, C. E.; Ziogas, J.; O'Hair, R. A. J.; Donald, W. A. High-Resolution Twin-Ion Metabolite Extraction (HiTIME) Mass Spectrometry: Nontargeted Detection of Unknown Drug Metabolites by Isotope Labeling, Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry, and Automated High-Performance Computing. Analytical Chemistry, 2015, 87, 4104-09.

    9. Zenaidee, M. A.; Donald, W. A. Electron capture dissociation of extremely supercharged protein ions formed by electrospray ionisation. Analytical Methods, 2015, 7, 7132 (Emerging Investigator Issue).

    10. Teo, C. A.; Donald, W. A. Solution Additives for Supercharging Proteins Beyond the Theoretical Maximum Proton-Transfer Limit in Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry. Analytical Chemistry, 2014, 86, 4455-62.

Group leader

Professor & ARC Future Fellow William Alexander Donald
Professor & ARC Future Fellow