A novel mass spectrometry internet teaching tool

COMP 115

Mark E. Bier1, Chunguang G. Yang1, and Joseph J. Grabowski2. (1) Department of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University, Center for Molecular Analysis, 4400 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2683, (2) Department of Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh, 219 Parkman Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260
The Virtual Mass Spectrometry Laboratory (VMSL) is an interactive, Internet educational tool developed to teach mass spectrometry. The VMSL project addresses several hurdles facing colleges: the high cost of mass spectrometers, the difficulty in teaching “real-life” problem solving to large groups and the shortage of expert mass spectrometrists. The VMSL allows schools that can not afford mass spectrometers to add MS experiments to their curriculum. Students can solve real problems with out actually going to a MS laboratory. Each student can operate several virtual mass spectrometers and acquire data from their own computer. The VMSL server rapidly delivers GIF images to simulate the operation of a real mass spectrometer allowing hundreds of students to operate their instrument simultaneously. A student can solve several case studies such as identifying an unknown protein, determining a proper polymer additive, determining whether a hair sample contains cocaine, or identifying an anesthetic. (http://sVMSL.chem.cmu.edu)