On May 09, 2024 the on-line course (MOOC) Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis offered by the University of Tartu finished successfully.

Eventually altogether 1047 people registered from 104 countries. 655 participants actually started the course (i.e., tried at least one graded test at least once). The overall completion rate was 38%. The participation rate was this year 63%. The completion rate of the participants who started the studies was 61%, with 398 successfully finished participants. This result is quite stable during the 11 runs, showing also a small improving tendency compared to years after the COVID pandemic. This result can be considered good for a MOOC, especially for one that has quite difficult calculation exercises, which need to be done correctly with limited number of attempts for completing the course. All statistics during the 11 years can be found in the table below.

The participants were very active and asked lots of questions. The questions were often very much to the point and addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. The course has several forums (general and by topic), and during the course period, the overall number of forum posts was around 300 (!) (overall number of posts, both from participants and from teachers) and the forums are still active and posts are still coming in.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Spring 2025 with a new breath in the course appearance!

Three graduates from the 2020 EACH cohort, all from the Åbo Akademi study track, recently participated in the 8th Baltic Electrochemistry Conference: Finding New Inspiration 2 (BEChem 2024) held in Tartu, Estonia, from April 14-17, 2024. During the conference’s poster session, they presented their current research.

EACH graduates presenting their poster (From left to right: Raegan, Majid, Paulo)

Raegan Chambers, a PhD student at the University of Tartu, shared her research titled, “Pt nanoparticles electrochemically deposited onto heteroatom-doped graphene supports as electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction in acid media.” Her work delves into how doping on graphene support affects the electrocatalytic activity of platinum nanoparticles in the oxygen reduction reaction.

John Paulo Samin, also pursuing a PhD at the University of Tartu, presented his findings on unified pH measurements in low polarity solvents through his poster titled “pH measurement and acidity scale development of acid solutions in 1,2-dichloroethane”.

Majid Al-waeel, continuing his PhD studies at the University of Turku, Finland, introduced his research on “Electrospray-deposited polydopamine films for biodegradable supercapacitors.” His study explored a novel copper-assisted oxidation method to produce polydopamine films and assess their potential as a component of a biodegradable supercapacitor.

The four-day conference, hosted by the Institute of Chemistry at the University of Tartu in collaboration with the Estonian electrochemistry society Elektrokeemia Selts, centered around electrochemistry topics. These included electrocatalysis, batteries, computational approaches in interfacial electrochemistry, and novel methods for material analysis.

On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, the web course Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis was launched for the eleventh time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course)!

Altogether 1048 participants from 104 countries are registered – the largest number of countries the course has ever had! In the map presented above, the yellow color marks the countries from where participants come. True, the map is coarse and some countries are small. Therefore, not all countries are visible. We are very happy, that we have 16 participants also from Ukraine this year. Slava Ukraini!

The entire course material is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files, and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises). In order to pass the course, the registered participants have to pass six graded tests and get higher than 50% score from each of them. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.

This course is run under the umbrella of the Estonian Center of Analytical Chemistry (https://www.akki.ee/) and forms a part of the measurements and chemical analysis related master programmes at UT: Applied Measurement Science (https://ams.ut.ee/) and Excellence in Analytical Chemistry (https://www.analyticalchemistry.eu/).

 

We are happy to announce that Mari Tõrv, Research Fellow in Analytical and Physical Chemistry and Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Tartu, was awarded the Professor Peeter Tulviste Memorial Fund scholarship.

Rector Toomas Asser and Dr. Mari Tõrv (photo: Andres Tennus)

Her interdisciplinary research combines archaeological heritage and analytical chemistry to gain insight into people’s past habits and practices. By applying both – humanities and natural sciences – she has improved our knowledge on human diet, diseases, and even funeral rites.

Besides research, she has been part of creating an infrastructure for preserving archaeological heritage digitally, founding the Estonian Association of Archaeologists, and developing the webpage eestijuured.ee to gather and promote the research about the ethnic history of Estonia during the last 11,000 years from the first hunter-gatherers to the digital nomads that we are today. 

For Mari, the scholarship was a great recognition. “The scholarship proves that understanding cultural heritage is important in today’s crisis-torn world because it is the basis of our common identity.” She plans to use this scholarship to research further the culture of death by bringing together the analytical tools from biomolecular archaeology and social theory.

Mari obtained her PhD in archaeology in 2016 with joint supervision from the University of Tartu and the Christian-Albrecht University of Kiel. Since 2017, she has led the Collegium for Transdisciplinary Studies in Archaeology, Genetics, and Linguistics at the University of Tartu. In the Chair of Analytical Chemistry, she is part of the Archemy research group, where her expertise lays on stable isotope analysis of human and animal tissues. 

Read more here from the original post. 

Congratulations, Mari!

During recent years, we have been engaged in extensive investigations of the unified pH (pHabs) values of reversed-phase liquid chromatography (RPLC) mobile phases. The pHabs scale has the advantage over the conventional pH scale because pHabs values express acidity in terms of the thermodynamic activity of the solvated proton. Therefore, pHabs values are directly comparable between solvents/media of different compositions. At the same time, pHabs is convenient to use, as pHabs values of aqueous solutions are equal to the respective conventional pH values.

This comparability is especially useful in RPLC, as mobile phases are mixtures of water with organic solvents in different ratios. Thus, it can be said that pHabs is the best way of expressing pH if a rigorous comparison of pH between solutions in different solvents is needed.

As a result of our work, we have carefully measured the pHabs values of 78 mobile phases commonly used in RPLC, using around 300 individual ΔpHabs measurements between different mobile phases (see the “ladder” scheme below). This is, to the best of our knowledge, the most comprehensive collection of rigorous pHabs values of RPLC mobile phases and has now been published as A. Heering, M. Lahe, M. Vilbaste, J. Saame, J. P. Samin, I. Leito. Improved pH measurement of mobile phases in reversed-phase liquid chromatography. Analyst 2024.

The ΔpHabs values were measured by differential potentiometry, using potential differences in a symmetric cell with two glass electrode half-cells (see figure above) and almost ideal ionic liquid triethylamylammonium bis((trifluoromethyl)sulfonyl)imide [N2225][NTf2] salt bridge with multiple overlapping measurements. The system of altogether 300 ΔpH values, pictured in the “ladder” scheme below, was anchored to the pH value of standard pH 7.00 aqueous buffer solution.

In addition, a simpler measurement method that uses double junction reference or double junction combined electrodes was tested and was found suitable for routine laboratories. The results show that the design of the junction is an important factor in deciding if the electrode can be used for unified acidity measurements. This is the first successful use of double junction combined electrodes filled with ionic liquid for the measurement of pHabs values.

The article is featured in the themed collection Analyst HOT Articles 2024.

On February 8, 2024 the on-line course (MOOC) LC-MS Method Validation offered by the University of Tartu finished successfully.

Eventually, altogether 1014 people registered from 109 countries. Around half of them, 508 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 311 successfully completed the course. The overall completion rate was 31%. The completion rate of participants who started the studies was 61%. The completion rates of active participants (i.e. who started the course) seems to have stabilized at around 60%, which can be considered good. In addition, the overall completion rate is starting to increase again. In any case, there is some food for thought for us on how we could improve the overall completion rate…

At the same time, those participants who actually took part in the course, were very active and asked lots of questions. The questions were often very much to the point and addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. The course has several forums (general and by topic) and during the course period the overall number of forum posts was above 400 (!) (overall number of posts, both from participants and from teachers) and the forums are still active and posts are still coming in.

This active participation made teaching of this MOOC a great experience also for us, the teachers. The discussion threads gave a lot of added value to the course and some of them triggered making important modifications to the course materials, even during the course. Importantly, thanks to active participants, several mistakes were found and corrected in the course materials. As a result, the overall quality of the course improved.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Autumn 2024.

The Institute of Chemistry received an award for its consistent and systematic efforts over the past three years to improve the quality of education.

One of the main goals was to develop students’ skills in specific subjects by changing teaching methods and involving students more actively in learning. For that, seminars were organized together with the teachers, which led to the realization that also the subjects of the lectures needed to be adjusted and coordinated with each other. Student feedback was used to improve courses, and the online learning platforms were updated. In parallel, the entire curriculum was revised.

Chemistry Master program director Edith Viirlaid and Vice-Rector Aune Valk

According to the Vice-Rector Aune Valk, the award recognized the Institute’s systematic and integrative approach to improving the quality of education. She emphasized the importance of consistent work for keeping the students engaged by active learning and motivating the students by making education more interactive and relevant to future careers. She also highlighted that there has already been a positive response from the students who appreciated the improvements.

In the University of Tartu, the award for improving the quality of education acknowledges a university institute, college, or department for their successful planning and implementation of activities that enhance the quality of learning. It is important that these initiatives include the collaboration between the faculty and students. Here is the original post in Estonian.

The 2024 edition of the web course (MOOC) Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis will be running from March 19 to May 2, 2024. Registration is now open!

The full course material (as well as the registration link) is accessible from the web page. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files, and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises) and examples. Almost all areas of analytical chemistry are addressed, ranging from simple volumetric operations and titrations to sophisticated instrumental analysis, such as determining pesticide residues by LC-MS. Efforts are made in the course to address also such uncertainty sources encountered in chemical analysis that are difficult to quantify, e.g. uncertainty due to possible interference effects (incomplete selectivity), analyte losses, etc.

In order to pass the course, the registered participants have to take six graded tests and get a higher than 50% score in every graded test. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.

Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from the University of Tartu. A digital certificate of completion is free of charge. A certificate of completion on paper can be requested for a fee of 60 euros.

You are welcome to distribute this message to potentially interested people!

At the beginning of this school year, two EACH students took part in the first edition of Mindful Mundus. It’s a project aimed at the students at Erasmus Mundus programs to give them mental health awareness, as well as interpersonal and intercultural competences. In this post, Merili and Phu share their experience with the project.

Merili: When I first heard about Mindful Mundus, I was very glad to see this opportunity to raise mental health awareness within the Erasmus Mundus community. I know from my own experience how tough it is to deal with mental health struggles while getting your higher education. As an Erasmus Mundus student, in addition to all the usual stressors, we’re far away from our families and our comfort zone, as well as living in a completely new country with its differences in culture and everyday life. I’m generally very passionate about mental health matters and I immensely enjoy discussing this topic. Although I wasn’t sure how much new information there would be for me, I excitedly signed up anyway, seeing this as an opportunity to make connections with other Erasmus Mundus students over mental health awareness.

To say the project took place at a very right time for me would be an understatement. Every week, we discussed a new topic, from managing stress and anxiety to building positive relationships, all very relevant to life in and outside of the life in our respective Erasmus Mundus programs. The workshops allowed us to connect with people from very different backgrounds who are also going through a similar experience. In the end, although we did get a lot of valuable knowledge, it was the feeling of “Hey, I’m really not the only one feeling those things!” that helped me the most and filled me with immense gratitude at the end of each session.

Obtaining a Master’s degree is tough in itself and moving between different places and cultures is a huge challenge. Put these two things together and it seems nearly impossible at times. Having a space to share your experience and be understood is more than essential. I’m very glad I joined the project and truly hope this will not be the only time it takes place.

Phu: Comprehending mental health has always been a fascinating topic that I try to fathom. Due to personal experiences as well as the stories from the people around me, I was motivated to dig deeper into what causes mental problems and how to cope with them. And thanks to the Mindful Mundus Programme, I was able to gain useful knowledge and tips, which I can now apply to not only understand myself but also to help my family and friends.

As an international student for almost three and a half years, I encountered several mental challenges like depression, anxiety and insecurity, which are quite ubiquitous among the students. As I was fresh to these mental problems, I was frustrated not knowing what to do; they hindered me from recognizing my potential and perceiving the positive aspects of my life. Then, one day, I decided to share it with my study advisor, which then became a twist-of-turn event as I gradually felt better by practicing self-love and new hobbies.

I realized how severely damaging mental problems can be to students like me. There have been a few peers of mine who unfortunately could not overcome these problems, which, in my humble opinion, is highly-concerned. This has motivated me to take initiatives in learning more about mental problems and mental health. That is why, when I first received the announcement email about the Mindful Mundus Programme, I did not hesitate to sign up for it.

The programme introduced us to several common mental health challenges that numerous Erasmus students have gone through, namely, from depression, anxiety to intercultural competence. Not only did I have the chance to listen to the interesting experience and useful information from the speakers, but I also made some new friends from every part of the world like China, the Netherlands, India, Turkey,… Especially, from the different backgrounds, I learned more about how different cultures perceive multifaceted problems like mental health. Additionally, I was impressed by the welcoming atmosphere that the organizers managed to create; the peers were not afraid to ask questions to the speakers. The whole discussion was, as a result, an active and healthy studying environment.

Now that the program has ended, I undeniably have learned tremendous new things. I hope that the program will continue to extend and expand such that generations of Erasmus students will be able to raise the awareness of mental health and spread their knowledge to the people around them.

 

Number of participants and countries updated on 22.11.2023!

On Tuesday, November 21, 2023 the web course LC-MS Method Validation was launched for the fifth time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). There are 973 1013 registered participants (the first time ever over 1000) from 107 109 countries, ranging from Chile to China and from Australia to Iceland. And the number is still growing. The image below shows the countries where the participants come from.

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using LC-MS as technique. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation, covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. The LC-MS validation course is delivered by a team of 7 teachers, each with their own specific area of competence. This way it is expected to offer the best possible knowledge in all the different subtopics of analytical method validation.

The full set of course materials is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/lcms_method_validation/. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged calculation exercises). In order to pass the course, the registered participants have to take all tests and get higher than 50% score from each of them. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform. Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from the University of Tartu.

The eighth edition of the online course LC-MS Method Validation is open for registration (registration link is here)! The course will be offered as a Massive Open On-line Course (MOOC) during Nov 21, 2024 – Feb 02, 2024.

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) as technique, mostly (but not limited to) using the electrospray (ESI) ion source. The scope of the course is sufficiently broad, so that it will be useful also to chromatography practitioners using other detector types. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation, covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. More information about the course can be found in Course introduction page.

Participation in the course is free of charge. Receiving digital certificate (in the case of successful completion) is also free of charge. Printed certificate (to be sent by post) is available for a fee of 60 EUR. Registration is possible until the start of the course. The course materials are available from the above address all the time and can be used via web by anyone who wishes to improve the knowledge and skills in analytical method validation (especially when using LC-ESI-MS).

We are also glad to announce, that the course has been added into the BIPM (Bureau International des Poids et Mesures) e-learning platform. The BIPM is the most important international metrology organization established by the Metre Convention, through which Member States act together on matters related to measurement science and measurement standards. BIPM is also the home of the International System of Units (SI) and the international reference time scale (UTC). The Institute of Chemistry of University of Tartu is a designated institute by the BIPM since 2010.

Last Wednesday, August 30th, 2023, a moment that marks the culmination of years of hard work and determination of Ernesto de Jesus Zapata Flores – an AMS alumnus. He successfully defended his PhD thesis titled Derivatization Reagents used in negative mode electrospray LC-MS. The opponent was Associate Professor Jeffrey Hawkes from the University of Uppsala, Sweden.

In the vast application of derivatization reagents in RPLC-UV and RPLC-MS positive mode, Ernesto’s thesis delved into the question: What about LC-MS negative mode? Why don’t we compare both modes and see the best of both worlds?

Firstly, the thesis has been inspired by DEEMM – a commercial reagent – which also was one of the earliest reagents studied in our department. The comparison of the ionization mode in the determination of free amino acids in beers showed that (1) the matrix effects were less severe in the negative mode.

Later on, the method applying two azobenzene-based reagents, which were called AzoB and AzoC  (synthesized in our lab), has been fully developed specifically for LC-QqQ. The “gourmet” part that Ernesto has brought to the table of the analytical chemistry community was the study of (2) MS/MS fragmentations of all three reagents with different amino compounds in both ionization modes.

Moreover, his thesis has demonstrated comprehensive research about (3) optimization for the derivatization process and the ion source, (4) the confirmation of reaction yields, and (5) the correlation between ionization efficiency and LOD/LOQ of derivatives. Finally, applications of the validated method (7) for real-world samples (different beverages: beers, Kali, juices) and (8) neutral loss scan have been showcased.

Alongside the road, (9) side reactions managed to be worth some of his sweat and tears. At the end of his PhD journey, he (10) evaluated an identification tool using the transition of derivatives in both MS polarities.

10 out of 10 – that should be given for Ernesto’s dedication on the road to becoming an expert in LC-MS derivatization. Congratulations, Ernesto! We eagerly await your next academic steps. Hopefully, all your goals will be achieved.

Francis in Chemicum

As the new academic year comes closer, incoming 2nd year students reminisced about their days in Chemicum where most of their classes in Tartu for their first year of studies were held:

Francis: A tapestry of recollections has been bound into the fabric of my life in Chemicum. Many treasured memories stand out as vivid strands of nostalgia, including but not limited to the lovely Christmas tree building, the insightful lectures, the anxious but fulfilling presentations and free times with colleagues.

The construction of Christmas trees was a collaborative design that was more than just decorating a tree. As I took a step back to survey our collective creation, which was adorned with ornaments made of dreams and memories, I experienced the sense of togetherness that the season can provide.

Master’s Seminars and presentations were eagerly anticipated occasions that brought us together outside classes and practical sessions. I can still clearly remember the excitement leading up to my first presentation in Room 1020. As we gathered in the auditorium, colleagues and I exchanged anxious glances, before the presentation I greeted in Famous Professor Ivo expression. As evidence of the strength of knowledge-sharing and collaborative learning, the audience’s encouragement, their attentive faces, questions, and the cheers at the conclusion are imprinted in my memory.

In addition, I spent some of my free time in the computerized Chemicum Library or discussing with my colleagues and friends in the cafeteria before some classes. I can see from these memories that Chemicum was more than just a physical building; it also served as an arena for connections, learning, and personal development.

Mauricio working in a lab of Chemicum

Mauricio: I found the time completely enriching academically and personally. The lectures, seminars and hands-on experience in the lab were insightful, practical and challenging. The halls’ lectures were clean and comfortable. All the people inside the building are really helpful and would give you all the guidance you might need. This is also true in other buildings of the university.

Angelo: Aside from the lecture halls and the teaching laboratories, the cafeteria in Chemicum was the place where we got to know each other better as we bonded over food. After classes and while waiting in between classes, my classmates and I would have lunch together in the cafeteria. Some of us brought home-cooked meals while some bought from the cafeteria. We got a taste of everything as we tried out each other’s meals. In the cafeteria, we shared not just food but also laughter, stories, and flavors of our personalities. Every time spent in the cafeteria was a chance for us to get to know how different we are from each other since we come from different cultures. Nevertheless, we complemented each other like ingredients of a good food.

Angelo (on the left) with other EACH and AMS students in front of Chemicum

 

In June, the first-year EACH and AMS students visited the Science Centre AHHAA in Tartu to cap off the academic year.

Everyone enjoyed each other’s company while having fun with the interactive exhibits of the Centre. They were also taken on a trip across outer space in the Centre’s Planetarium. Their day ended with sharing meals to celebrate the bonds they have formed and their friendships that will defy distance, as EACH students go to their second-year universities and as AMS students remain in Tartu for their theses next academic year.

 

 

From 9 – 22 July, International Summer School on Quality Assurance took place in Krtiny, Czechia. Before starting their second year in the EACH programme, our students Tetiana and Merili participated in the summer school and will look back on their experience in this blog post.

From left: Tetiana, Philip Taylor (organizer of the summer school), and Merili

Merili: The summer school was definitely very intense and challenging. We were put in completely new situations, trying to actually work as an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory and use our knowledge about the topics in real life. Working in a team with different backgrounds and different levels of a shared language was quite difficult at times, but ended up being the biggest and most valuable lesson I took with me. The summer school was also a great opportunity to connect with people from all over the world: we had all our meals together and spent many evenings learning about the different cultures and histories of our colleagues. During the weekend, we went on a 15 kilometer canoeing hike and to a trip to a cave nearby, which allowed us to see sights of Czechia that one usually may not think to see in the first place.

Tetiana: Summer school is a great opportunity to get acquainted with a Bible of the testing and calibration laboratories also known as an ISO/IEC 17025 standard.

The University of Tartu provides a solid ground in metrology in chemistry (in the course taught by Professor Ivo Leito), and summer school is a good addition to it. After a week of lectures from high-level specialists in this field, we established small analytical laboratories of 3-4 people and got our first order to validate the method! We had to communicate with the customer, plan validation ourselves, perform it, write a report, participate in the proficiency testing, analyse the test sample, provide a result with a conformity statement and present the work in front of the audience. We were limited in time and resources, all the team members had very different backgrounds. Thus, the situation we were in mimicked real life excellently! It was a great chance to be enrolled in the whole cycle of work in the testing laboratory, understand the most crucial things at every stage of work, check the quality of the performance of our laboratory, make mistakes and learn from them, and of course, participate in the auditing!

Furthermore, at school, we met fantastic people from all over the world, practiced canoeing (15 km! by the way) and improved our English skills! We had very nice evenings with karaoke and dancing; probably my biggest discovery this summer was a Belgijka, big thanks to our Polish team for introducing this dance!

So, my recommendation: do not hesitate and apply for the next summer school! You won’t regret this decision! 😉

Last Friday, June 9th, 2023, Andre Leesment successfully defended his PhD thesis titled Quantitative studies of Brønsted acidity in biphasic systems and gas-phase. The opponent was Prof. Kiyohiko Sugano from the Ritsumeikan University, Japan.

Dr. Andre Leesment (on the right) after his PhD defence with his supervisor Prof. Ivo Leito (on the left).

Experiments for measuring acidity of medicines, catalysts, and other chemicals are almost always performed under monophasic conditions. However, many of them are lipophilic compounds, and in biphasic systems they prefer the nonpolar organic phase, where their properties are much different from their properties in an aqueous phase. Yet the interactions with the organic phase are completely ignored in a typical acidity measurement. It’s like seeing only half of the picture. Why is such an incomplete approach being used for something this important?

Until recently, there was no theoretical basis or experimental method to conduct measurements of acidity under more relevant conditions. Andre’s PhD thesis focuses on providing the tools to measure acidity, and by extension, many other properties of molecules in biphasic systems in a more realistic and accurate way. Hopefully, these tools lead to a more effective drug development, catalyst research, etc.

Congratulations to you, Andre!  

 

 

 

As the school year is coming to an end for the current first-year EACH and AMS students, a new intake is preparing to travel from all over the world to Tartu to start their studies in a few months’ time. To make this journey easier for them, we, in the first year, arranged an online meeting between the two batches. It was a great opportunity to share our experiences and advice on matters such as the visa process, accommodation, and what to do with the free time. Additionally, it was wonderful to have this first contact between each other!

We wish the new batch smooth sailing with the big life change and hope you enjoy your time in Tartu!

On May 11, 2023, the on-line course (MOOC) Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis offered by the University of Tartu finished successfully.

Eventually, altogether 993 people registered from 99 countries. From them, 523 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once). The overall completion rate was 34%. The participation rate was this year 53%. So, it seems that we may be recovering from the COVID pandemic! The completion rate of the participants who started the studies was 64% with 333 successfully finished participants. This result is quite stable during the 10 runs and can be considered good for a MOOC, especially for one that has quite difficult calculation exercises, which need to be done correctly with a limited number of attempts for completing the course. All statistics during the 10 years can be found in the table below.

The participants were very active and asked lots of questions. The questions were often very much to the point and addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. The course has several forums (general and by topic) and during the course period the overall number of forum posts was over 450 (!) (overall number of posts, both from participants and from teachers) and the forums are still active and posts are still coming in.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Spring 2024.

After spending weekdays attending lectures and doing academic work, students get to spend their weekends exploring the beautiful nature and rich history of Estonia.

On March 18, 2023, a group of EACH and AMS students explored the cobbled streets of Tallinn’s Old Town. Angelo: “Walking along the streets definitely felt like being in an art gallery as the group gazed in awe at the town’s medieval architecture and modern street art. Later in the day, the group visited the historic Tallinn TV Tower which bore witness to the Estonian people’s bravery and conviction in restoring their independence as a proud nation.”

On Tuesday, March 21, 2023 the web course Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis was launched for the tenth time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course)!

Currently, 914 participants from 98 countries are registered. In the map presented above, the yellow color marks the countries where participants come from. True, the map is coarse and some countries are small. Therefore, not all countries are visible. We are very happy that we have two participants also from Ukraine this year. Slava Ukraini!

The full course material is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files, and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises). In order to pass the course, the registered participants have to pass six graded tests and get a higher than 50% score from each of them. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.

This course is run under the umbrella of the Estonian Center of Analytical chemistry (https://www.akki.ee/) and forms a part of the measurements and chemical analysis related master programmes at UT: Applied Measurement Science (https://ams.ut.ee/) and Excellence in Analytical Chemistry (https://www.analyticalchemistry.eu/).

On March 10, 2023, Ivo Leito presented “Unified pH – what, why and how?” at the Chemistry and Chemical Technology 2023 Vilnius (Lithuania).

Acidity is one of the most critical characteristics of solutions. Its measurement is crucial to understanding and controlling essential processes in fundamental chemistry, industry and living organisms, such as catalysis, extraction, chromatography, processes in micelles/bilayers, etc.

Acidity refers to the activity of the solvated proton and is typically expressed as pH. However, the conventional pH scale is well established only in dilute aqueous solutions at medium pH values. It has severe limitations at extreme values, in other solvents or more complex media where most real-life chemistry occurs. Most importantly, comparing the conventional pH values between different media is impossible because every solvent has its pH scale.

Given the above, a decade ago, the concept of a “unified pH scale” was put forward, defining unified pH via the absolute chemical potential of the solvated proton. The merits of this approach are a strict thermodynamic foundation and direct comparability of values between any media.

In recent years, to a large part thanks to the European Union UnipHied (17FUN09) project, the measurement possibilities have been developed and the concept has now been published as an IUPAC technical report.

The first part of the presentation gave theoretical background and explained the need for unified pH. The second part described the experimental method, and the last part gave an overview of the work done and future perspectives.

 

This year’s recipients of the teaching staff awards in the University of Tartu have been announced. The UT Student Union chose the recipients based on proposals submitted by the students. We are glad to announce that the Faculty of Science and Technology award was given to prof. Ivo Leito!

According to his students, prof. Ivo Leito is an incredibly charismatic and lively lecturer who is a role model for all. In each lecture, he gives real-life examples of how analytical chemistry can be applied to study the environment around us. Using the flipped learning method, he constantly engages students in discussions and creates a safe environment for asking questions. It is worth noting that Professor Leito does not proceed with the lecture until he is convinced that every last person in the room has understood what he has just said. 

In addition to his dedication to educating students in the classroom, he is always available for every student outside of lecture hours. It is not an exaggeration to say that he is available 24/7, even when he is abroad. He takes a genuine interest in the progress and development of every student. Ivo Leito also holds regular meetings with all his students planning to graduate in the spring to see if their thesis is going well and to give advice on how to advance with the task.  

Here is more information about the award and the other recipients. 

Congratulations!

On February 10, 2023 the on-line course (MOOC) LC-MS Method Validation offered by the University of Tartu finished successfully.

Eventually, altogether 903 people registered from 104 countries. Less than half, 376 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 218 successfully completed the course. The overall completion rate was 24%. The completion rate of participants who started the studies was 58%. The completion rates of active participants (i.e. who started the course) seems to have stabilized not too far from 60%, which can be considered good. However, the overall completion rate is still in decline (although there is no statistically significant difference between the 25% and 24% of the last two editions). In any case, there is some food for thought for us on how we could improve the overall completion rate…

At the same time, those participants who actually took part in the course, were very active and asked lots of questions. The questions were often very much to the point and addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. The course has several forums (general and by topic) and during the course period the overall number of forum posts was above 400 (!) (overall number of posts, both from participants and from teachers) and the forums are still active and posts are still coming in.

This active participation made teaching of this MOOC a great experience also for us, the teachers. The discussion threads gave a lot of added value to the course and some of them triggered making important modifications to the course materials, even during the course. Importantly, thanks to active participants, several mistakes were found and corrected in the course materials. As a result, the overall quality of the course improved.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Autumn 2023.

Prof. Ivo Leito, Applied Measurement Science (AMS) programme director, will explain, what the AMS programme is about and why it is worth studying.

Are you planning to apply this year to one of the international bachelor’s or master’s programmes in the University of Tartu? This is your chance to meet with the programme director and fellow applicants and ask all questions you might still have before applying! The meeting about AMS will take place on the 25th of January at 18:00 (GMT+2). NB! Registration is necessary to receive the link to the Zoom meeting. Here is the full list of the meetings.

These virtual meetings are primarily informal. There is no general description of the meetings – the content of the meeting depends on every programme director.

 

 

In January 2023, the University of Tartu is organizing an online series of lectures called the Alumni Talks. The aim is to share the experience that people have had with the international bachelor’s and master’s programs. 

Next Wednesday, on the 18th of January, Antonio Manuell will give an online lecture about the AMS program and his work right now. He’s a Mexican who has lived in Estonia for the last 10 years. He has a master’s degree in Applied Measurement Sciences from the University of Tartu. He works as a laboratory manager for AQ Lasertool, a metal manufacturing company in the automotive industry.

“Surface treatment is everywhere around us. Specifically on metallic components, and its main purpose is to delay corrosion. This is particularly important in the automotive industry, where many controlled parameters on production play a crucial role in adequate corrosion protection to achieve the desired quality standards.

The Applied Measurement Science master’s programme is a great all-around option for those looking to learn about different techniques and technologies available to measure physical and chemical properties. These techniques have a wide range of applications in different industries. It has a nicely balanced course plan that covers from the basic techniques up to very specific ones.”

Registration is required to attend the webinar. 

NB! Admission to the AMS program is also open right now. More information here

 

Mark Dennis Retrato (on the left) and Svante Pääbo (in the middle)

Every year the Chemical Society in Uppsala recognizes the best degree projects in chemistry. This year, the Grand Award was rewarded to Siyuan Qui for his 2022 Master’s thesis. His supervisor Mark Dennis Retrato (an EACH 2020 alumnus), accepted the award at a memorable ceremony on the 13th of December.

The award was handed over by the 2022 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine, professor Svante Pääbo (an Uppsala University alumnus). This award has been announced for many years by the Society (that started in 1927) after nominations and votings, and the student is presented with a diploma and a prize sum. Both the supervisor(s) and the student are also invited to the dinner with the Nobel laureates at the Uppsala Castle the same day.

Mark Dennis Retrato (on the left) and Svante Pääbo (on the right)

The title of this year’s selected Master’s thesis was  “Determination of fatty acids in lipid samples by gas chromatography coupled with single quadrupole mass spectrometry”.

Mark Dennis: “I am grateful for my student Siyuan Qiu, big congratulations for working in this project together. You really deserve this prize and recognition! I wish to thank my own supervisors as well: Jonas, Anna, Kumari, and Aida. This is for all of us involved in the project.

I want to thank the Swedish Chemical Society and Uppsala University for the recognition. More importantly, I wish to thank the Nobel Prize Winner for Medicine in 2022, Svante Pääbo. You are indeed a great inspiration for me and more people.”

 

 

On Tuesday, November 22, 2022 the web course LC-MS Method Validation was launched for the fifth time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). There are 904 registered participants (the largest number ever in this course) from 104 countries, ranging from Sudan to Suriname and from Malaysia to Macedonia. Image on the left shows the countries where the participants come from.

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using LC-MS as technique. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation, covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. The LC-MS validation course is delivered by a team of 7 teachers, each with their own specific area of competence. This way it is expected to offer the best possible knowledge in all the different subtopics of analytical method validation.

The full set of course materials is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/lcms_method_validation/. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged calculation exercises). In order to pass the course, the registered participants have to take all tests and get higher than 50% score from each of them. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform. Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from the University of Tartu.

A recent ranking of the world universities has been published by The Times Higher Education (THE). THE is a British journal known for the most reliable rankings of the world’s universities. For the first time, the University of Tartu has reached the top 250!

The 2023 list includes 1799 universities from 104 countries and regions. For the seventh year in a row, the winner in this ranking is the University of Oxford, followed by Harvard University, and the third place is shared by the University of Cambridge and Standford University.

The performance indicators that are taken into account when calculating the ranking were grouped into five areas: teaching (the learning environment, 30% of the overall score); research (volume, income, and reputation, 30%); citations (research influence, 30%); international outlook (staff, students, and research, 7.5%); and industry income (knowledge transfer, 2.5%). The biggest strength of the University of Tartu is its citations per paper – in this area the UT lands at position 115.

The UT has been represented in this worldwide ranking list since 2011. In recent years, the position has consistently improved. Toomas Asser, the Rector of the University of Tartu says that this high ranking affirms the very good level of our academic community and the relevance of the objectives. The Rector also added that the fact that the research and higher education of Estonian’s national university is on the same level as the world’s top universities is an important achievement for the whole Estonia.

More information can be found here

We are glad to announce that the seventh edition of the online course LC-MS Method Validation is open for registration (here)! The course will be offered as a Massive Open On-line Course (MOOC) during Nov 22, 2022 – Feb 03, 2023.

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) as technique, mostly (but not limited to) using the electrospray (ESI) ion source. The course will also be of interest to chromatography practitioners using other detector types. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation, covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. More information about the course can be found in Course introduction page.

Participation in the course is free of charge. Receiving digital certificate (in the case of successful completion) is also free of charge. Printed certificate (to be sent by post) is available for a fee of 60 EUR. Registration is possible until the start of the course. The course material is available from the above address all the time and can be used via web by anyone who wishes to improve the knowledge and skills in analytical method validation (especially when using LC-ESI-MS).

We are also glad to announce, that the course has been added into the BIPM (Bureau International des Poids et Mesures) e-learning platform. The BIPM is the most important international metrology organization established by the Metre Convention, through which Member States act together on matters related to measurement science and measurement standards. BIPM is also the home of the International System of Units (SI) and the international reference time scale (UTC). The Institute of Chemistry of University of Tartu is a designated institute by the BIPM since 2010.

We are sure that being on this platform, will enable more people to find our course.

The new EACH and AMS intake has started exploring Tartu and with it, Estonian history and culture!

Merili (in the picture – in the middle of the front row), one of the newest EACH master students wrote about their visit to ERM:

“Last Saturday, a group of us visited the Estonian National Museum (ERM). We first got an overview of the main exhibition with a tour guide and then explored the rest of the museum ourselves. The design and interactivity of the exhibitions were amazing, and there was a lot to see, from relics of the stone age to beautiful artwork from the Golden Age of Estonian Art! What really made the museum visit special was the fact that while we were there, the President of Estonia himself was giving a tour there. So the day definitely was a crash course to Estonia!”

 

 

 

 

 

This week is the first study week for the new students of Applied Measurement Science (AMS) and EACH Erasmus Mundus Joint Programme (EACH).

Altogether 19 (3 AMS and 16 EACH) students started their studies. The countries of origin of the students are very diverse: Mexico, Azerbaijan, Philippines, Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Nigeria, Colombia, Ukraine, Pakistan and Estonia. This Monday (29.08.22) the introductory meeting took place with some of the students present in person and others over the web. During the meeting an overview of both programmes was given (see the slides), the autumn semester timetable was explained in detail, and a large number of questions were asked and answered.

We wish successful studies to all new students

Elsa Vanker

Sigrid Selberg

Our group recently published a new article Non-invasive analysis of natural textile dyes using fluorescence excitation-emission matrices, Talanta, 2022, 123805 led by Sigrid Selberg and Elsa Vanker.

In this study, multidimensional front-face fluorescence spectroscopy measured from surfaces using a fiber optic probe was assessed as a non-invasive and non-destructive method for the analysis of components in natural textile dyes. Multidimensional fluorescence data was acquired for a collection of wool yarns dyed with natural dyes (31 dyed wool yarn samples that were self-dyed with 18 different natural dyes) that were used as references in a case study of two historical textiles for which liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry was used as a confirmatory technique.

Self-dyed reference yarns

Selection of characteristic EEMs of self-dyed reference samples

Natural dyes are multicomponent mixtures and can originate from different sources (e.g., plants, insects, and fungi). Due to their complex chemical composition and the inherent lability (photooxidative fading and bleaching), the analysis of natural dyes can be quite challenging and in order to analyze dyes on textiles, it is often best to combine different analytical methods.  However, for the analysis of dyes, common and often the most informative methods, like chromatographic separations coupled with different detectors, are all invasive/destructive. The aim of this work was to explore the potential and limitations of fluorescence spectroscopy in analyzing natural dyes from dyed wool yarns using EEMs (excitation-emission matrices), measured directly from the surface of the objects, non-destructively and without any sample preparation.

To demonstrate the utility of the fluorescence method, analysis was conducted on two case study samples – fibers from historical artifacts. Comparing the EEMs of the reference yarns with our unknown case study samples, we were able to identify that dye from a plant of the Rubiaceae family (bedstraws and madders) was used for dyeing the case study samples. 

Here you can find the 50-day free access to the article.

One of the case study objects; Tapestry “Solomon is receiving a bride. Solomon Court” (year of production 1547); Textile sample was obtained from the Conservation and Digitization Centre Kanut (Estonia).

Koit Herodes

Every year students vote for their favorite teachers in all of the institutes at the University of Tartu.

We are pleased to announce that this year Dr. Koit Herodes was selected as the best teacher from the Institute of Chemistry!

Koit is an Associate Professor in the Chair of Analytical Chemistry. He is an expert in several analytical techniques, including chromatography and mass spectrometry. His current courses include Analytical Chemistry, Practical Chemical Analysis, Liquid Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry, Master Seminar in Measurement Science, and LC-MS Methods Validation. He teaches students of the Estonian chemistry and high school teacher curricula but also the students of the international EACH and AMS programs. Since 2001 he has supervised numerous BSc, MSc, and PhD students. 

Congratulations to you, Koit!

 

 

On May 13, 2022 the on-line course (MOOC) Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis offered by University of Tartu finished successfully.

Eventually, altogether 851 people registered from 103 countries. 405 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once). The overall completion rate was 28%. This, as well as the participating rate was the lowest (48%) we have seen. However, the completion rate of the participants who started the studies was 59% with 239 successfully finished participants. Although lower than we have previously see, this result can still be considered very good for a MOOC, especially for one that has quite difficult calculation exercises, which need to be done correctly with limited number of attempts for completing the course. All statistics during the 9 years can be found in the table below.

The participants were very active and asked lots of questions. The questions were often very much to the point and addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. The course has several forums (general and by topic) and during the course period the overall number of forum posts was over 500 (!) (overall number of posts, both from participants and from teachers) and the forums are still active and posts are still coming in.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Spring 2023.

This week, Nieves Maria Flores March successfully defended her Master’s thesis named the “Organic Constituents of Atmospheric Aerosols in a Hemi-boreal Forest” and was awarded the highest grade – “A”!

In this project (supervised by Prof. Heikki Junninen), Nieves studied the chemical composition of organic aerosols collected from an Estonian Hemi-boreal forest during winter, spring, and summer. This research is important because atmospheric aerosols play a significant role in climate change and human health. However, the impact of boreal forests is difficult to characterize because of the chemical diversity of aerosol samples. 

To get a better understanding of the chemical composition, Nieves applied two analytical methods – gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to the forests samples. For data analysis, she used a molecular networking technique to tentatively identify the possible compounds. She concluded, that the developed set of methods has great potential to perform fast screening of the chemical composition of atmospheric aerosols. 

The GC-MS and NMR analyses were performed in collaboration with our Chair of Analytical Chemistry and we are happy to say that this joint and fruitful project will also continue in the future. 

Congratulations to you, Nieves!

 

On Tuesday, March 22, 2022 the web course Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis was launched for the ninth time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course)!

Currently, 843 participants from 103 countries are registered – the largest number of countries the course has ever had! In the map presented on the left, the yellow color marks the countries from where participants come. True, the map is coarse and some countries are small. Therefore, not all countries are visible. We are very happy, that we have one participant also from Ukraine this year. Slava Ukraini!

The full course material is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises). In order to pass the course, the registered participants have to pass six graded tests and get higher than 50% score from each of them. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.

This course is run under the umbrella of the Estonian Center of Analytical chemistry (https://www.akki.ee/) and forms a part of the measurements and chemical analysis related master programmes at UT: Applied Measurement Science (https://ams.ut.ee/) and Excellence in Analytical Chemistry (https://www.analyticalchemistry.eu/).

 

As a result of a recent development in our group, it is now, for the first time, possible to rigorously measure acidity of acids in biphasic systems (aqueous phase at equilibrium with a water-immiscible phase) by using biphasic pKa values (pKaow values). This work has now been published in Analytical Chemistry 2022, 94, 4059–4064.

In this work, the octanol-water biphasic pKaow values have been determined for 35 acids of various structures and chemical properties (carboxylic acids, phenols, diphenylamines, imides, different CH acids) using UV-Vis and NMR (1H, 13C, or 31P) spectrometry.

Biphasic pKa values enable quantifying acid dissociation in biphasic systems in a more realistic and rigorous way than the conventional “mono-phasic” pKa values. The latter completely ignores a large part of the picture – partitioning of the neutrals and the ions between the two phases and ion-pairing in the low-polarity phase. In contrast, pKaow values account for these effects. The ratio of the acid and its conjugate base is measured in the 1-octanol phase, using UV-Vis and/or NMR spectrometric method. The activity of H+ is measured in the aqueous phase with a conventional pH-meter. The pKaow values are obtained at different concentrations and extrapolated to zero concentration.

Biphasic systems are present in many biological and technological systems and processes: cell membranes, solvent extraction, phase-transfer catalysis, sensor membranes, etc. In all such systems, acid-base properties of the participating compounds would be best described using biphasic rather than “mono-phasic” pKa values.

On February 11, 2022 the on-line course (MOOC) LC-MS Method Validation offered by the University of Tartu finished successfully.

Eventually, altogether 850 people registered from 97 countries. Less than half, 380 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 209 successfully completed the course. The overall completion rate was 25%. The completion rate of participants who started the studies was 55%. These completion rates are lower than we usually have. So, here is some food for thought for us on how we could improve the success rate…

At the same time, those participants who actually took part in the course, were very active and asked lots of questions. The questions were often very much to the point and addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. The course has several forums (general and by topic) and during the course period the overall number of forum posts was above 200 (!) (overall number of posts, both from participants and from teachers) and the forums are still active and posts are still coming in.

This active participation made teaching of this MOOC a great experience also for us, the teachers. The discussion threads gave a lot of added value to the course and some of them triggered making important modifications to the course materials, even during the course.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Autumn 2022.

The 2022 edition of the web course (MOOC) Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis will be running from March 22 to May 3, 2022. Registration is now open!

The full course material (as well as the registration link) is accessible from the web page. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files, and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises) and examples. Almost all areas of analytical chemistry are addressed, ranging from simple volumetric operations and titrations to sophisticated instrumental analysis, such as determining pesticide residues by LC-MS. Efforts are made in the course to address also such uncertainty sources encountered in chemical analysis that are difficult to quantify, e.g. uncertainty due to possible interference effects (incomplete selectivity).

In order to pass the course, the registered participants have to take six graded tests and get a higher than 50% score in every graded test. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.

Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from the University of Tartu. A digital certificate of completion is free of charge. A certificate of completion on paper can be requested for a fee of 60 euros.

You are welcome to distribute this message to potentially interested people!

On Tuesday, November 23, 2021 the web course LC-MS Method Validation was launched for the sixth time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). There are 854 registered participants (the largest number ever in this course) from 97 countries. Both numbers are the largest we have had! The countries range from Philippines to Paraguay and from Sweden to Sri Lanka. Image on the left shows the countries where the participants come from.

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using LC-MS as technique. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation, covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. The LC-MS validation course is delivered by a team of 8 teachers, each with their own specific area of competence. This way it is expected to offer the best possible knowledge in all the different subtopics of analytical method validation.

The full set of course materials is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/lcms_method_validation/. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged calculation exercises). In order to pass the course the registered participants have to take all tests and get higher than 50% score from each of them. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform. Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from the University of Tartu.

This week is the first study week for the new students of Applied Measurement Science (AMS) and EACH Erasmus Mundus Joint Programme (EACH).

Altogether 17 (2 AMS and 15 EACH) students started their studies. The countries of origin of the students are very diverse: Germany, India, Philippines, Ecuador, Vietnam, South Korea, Brazil, Nigeria, Chile, Colombia, Pakistan, and Iran. This Monday (30.08.21) the introductory meeting took place with some of the students present in person and others over the web. During the meeting an overview of both programmes was given (see the slides), the autumn semester timetable was explained in detail, and a large number of questions were asked and answered.

We wish successful studies to all new students!

On the 2nd of June, 2021, five AMS master students successfully defended their master’s theses.

The defenders’ theses demonstrated the wide scope of the field of applied measurement science. The topics of their studies ranged from analytical chemistry to physics. In their experiments, various procedures were developed or improved, including Li column chemistry and fatty acid derivatization.

On the photo, from left to right: Nanyun Zhang, Thi Kim Ngan Duong, Manju Kasaju, Naila Nasirova, and Aleihela Yamannalage Ayesh Piyara Wipulasena.

Full list of students and thesis topics:

  • Nanyun Zhang: Development of Li column chemistry procedure for calcium carbonate material
  • Thi Kim Ngan Duong: Validating the pyroelectric radiometer
  • Manju Kasaju: Effect of soil sample preparation on fatty acid biomarker content
  • Naila Nasirova: Signal upscaling with the sequential addition of reagents for enhancement of detection sensitivity
  • Aleihela Yamannalage Ayesh Piyara Wipulasena: Development of a high-throughput method for soil fatty acid derivatization and analysis

Congratulations and wishing you all the best for your future!

On May 13, 2021, the online course (MOOC) Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis offered by the University of Tartu finished successfully.

Eventually, altogether 950 people registered from 97 countries. 501 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once). The overall completion rate was 33%. This, as well as the participating rate, was the lowest (53%) we have seen. However, the completion rate of the participants who started the studies was 63% with 314 successfully finished participants. This result can be considered very good for a MOOC, especially for one that has quite difficult calculation exercises, which need to be done correctly for completing the course. All statistics during the 8 years can be found in the table below.

The participants were very active and asked lots of questions. The questions were often very much to the point and addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. The course has several forums (general and by topic) and during the course period the overall number of forum posts was close to 400 (!) (overall number of posts, both from participants and from teachers) and the forums are still active and posts are still coming in.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Spring 2022.

On Apr 29, 2021 the webinar “Mobile Phase pH in Liquid Chromatography” was organised in the framework of the project 17FUN09 “UnipHied” (www.uniphied.eu). Altogether 101 people participated from 41 countries, ranging from Portugal to Philippines and from Peru to Nepal.

It is well known that in liquid chromatography, mobile phase pH is an important parameter, significantly affecting the retention of acidic and basic analytes. Yet, mobile phase pH is tricky to measure because mobile phases are usually aqueous-organic mixtures and in the case of gradient elution mobile phase composition gradually changes during elution. The topics covered during the webinar were:

— Different possibilities to express pH in liquid chromatography (LC)
Unified pH (pHabs): the concept and measurements methods
— The applications and limitations of different pH expressions in LC

Numerous questions were asked by the participants that indicated the importance of the topic and the need for a more robust conceptual framework for handling the topic of pH in liquid chromatography. Contributing to this, via the pHabs concept, is one of the aims of the UnipHied project.

The UnipHied project is funded from the EU’s EMPIR programme, co-financed by the Participating States and from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Additional support from: EU Regional Development Fund (TK141 “Advanced materials and high-technology devices for energy recuperation systems”), Estonian Research council (PRG690) and Estonian Center of Analytical Chemistry (www.akki.ee)

 


 

 
 
 

This year the Estonian Research Council has presented 49 female Estonian scientists to the AcademiaNet database. From the Unversity of Tartu, seven names were given, including Dr Signe Vahur (on the picture), a research fellow in our Chair of Analytical Chemistry.

The AcademiaNet contains profiles of excellent female researchers from all disciplines. The database enables wider recognition worldwide, allowing scientists and research institutions to search for suitable collaborations, experts, or speakers. The database was initiated in 2010 and, by now, has the profiles of 3000 outstanding female researchers from all over the world.

Since 2003, Dr Signe Vahur has done research in the field of conservation science and specialized in the investigation of cultural heritage objects (paints, textiles, paper, resinous materials, etc.) with a vast collection of instrumental techniques. She has also worked as a conservator of polychrome objects and now is the leader of our Cultural Heritage workgroup. Recently, her team started to develop a new device that could be used to analyze valuable cultural heritage objects, so there’s only more to come!

Signe, congratulations from us all!

It is well known that in liquid chromatography, mobile phase pH is an important parameter, significantly affecting the retention of acidic and basic analytes. Yet, mobile phase pH is tricky to measure because mobile phases are usually aqueous-organic mixtures and in the case of gradient elution mobile phase composition gradually changes during elution.

Mobile phase pH is the topic of an upcoming webinar “Mobile Phase pH in Liquid Chromatography”, which we will organise on 29.04.2021 at 13:00 – 16:00 (Central European time: France, Germany, …) via the Zoom platform. Registration to the webinar is now open at this registration link.

The topics that we plan to cover are:

— Different possibilities to express pH in liquid chromatography (LC)
— Unified pH (pHabs): the concept and measurements methods
— The applications and limitations of different pH expressions in LC

The webinar is organised in the framework of the project 17FUN09 “UnipHied”, which is funded from the EU’s EMPIR programme, co-financed by the Participating States and from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday, March 23, 2021, the web course Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis was launched for the eighth time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course)!

Currently, 925 participants from 97 countries are registered – the largest audience the course has ever had! In the map present above, the orange color marks the countries with stable participation: these countries were presented in our course last year, and so are today. The yellow color denotes the countries where we, unfortunately, do not have participants this year. The green color corresponds to the countries where we did not have participants last year, but are present now. True, the map is coarse and some countries are small. Therefore, not all countries are visible. However, altogether 15 countries are added this year!

The full course material is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises). In order to pass the course, the registered participants have to pass six graded tests and get a higher than 50% score from each of them. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.

This course is run under the umbrella of the Estonian Center of Analytical chemistry and forms a part of the measurements and chemical analysis related master programmes at UT: Applied Measurement Science and Excellence in Analytical Chemistry.

 

A highly interdisciplinary study ranging from computational chemistry to cultural heritage has now been published – Experimental and Computational Study of Aminoacridines as MALDI(-)-MS Matrix Materials for the Analysis of Complex Samples, J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 2021.  

9-aminoacridine (9-AA) is a well-known matrix material used for the MALD(-)-MS analysis. Among the other monoaminoacridines (AAs), only 3-AA has been tested once (in our cultural heritage workgroup) but the suitability of the other AAs was unknown.

To fill this gap, the capabilities of all five AAs were studied by analysing different materials (stearic acid, colophony resin, dyer’s madder, and a resinous sample from a 16th-century shipwreck). Also, a vast range of properties for these aminoacridines were experimentally or computationally characterized (including UV-Vis absorption and fluorescence spectra, proton transfer reactions, crystallization). 

The results demonstrated, that all the AAs are suitable for the MALDI(-)-MS analysis of these materials. Interestingly, 3-AA and 4-AA outperformed the other AAs (including the best-known 9-AA) and were the preferred matrices for the analysis of samples studied in this work.   

 

 

The equilibrium acidity scale (pKa scale) in acetonitrile (MeCN) has been supplemented by numerous new compounds and new ΔpKa measurements and has been published in Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2021, 1407–1419 (Open access). The pKa scale now contains altogether 231 acids – over twice more than published previously – linked by 566 ΔpKa measurements and spans between the pKa values of hydrogen iodide (2.8) and indole (32.57), covering close to 30 orders of magnitude. The acids have wide structural variety, ranging from common families – phenols (e.g. picric acid, alizarin, polyhalogenophenols), carboxylic acids (e.g. acetic, benzoic, retinoic and sorbic acid), sulfonic acids, hydrogen halides) to highly special molecules (chiral BINOL catalysts, bis(benzoxazole-2-yl)methanes, polyfluorinated compounds) and superacids (fluorinated sulfonimides, cyanoform, tetracyanopropenes).

Measurement results acquired over the last 15 years were added to the scale and new least squares treatment was carried out. The treatment yielded revised pKa values for the compounds published previously, with the root mean square difference between revised and previous values 0.04, demonstrating very good stability of the scale.

Correlation equations were developed for estimating pKa values for the studied types of compounds in water, DMSO, DMF and 1,2-dichloroethane on the basis of pKa values in acetonitrile. These equations enable predicting pKa values with an average error around or less than 1 pKa unit, which is a sufficient accuracy for many applications.

The scale is expected to be a useful tool for the widest possible research areas in organic chemistry, electrochemical power sources, catalysis, etc.

The 2021 edition of the web course (MOOC) Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis will be running from March 23 to May 4, 2021. Registration is now open!

The full course material (as well as the registration link) is accessible from the web page. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files, and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises) and examples. Almost all areas of analytical chemistry are addressed, ranging from simple titrations to sophisticated instrumental analysis, such as determining pesticide residues by LC-MS.

In order to pass the course, the registered participants have to take six graded tests and get a higher than 50% score in every graded test. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.

Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from the University of Tartu. A digital certificate of completion is free of charge. A certificate of completion on paper can be requested for a fee of 60 euros.

You are welcome to distribute this message to potentially interested people!

 

Altogether 791 people were registered from 86 countries. 338 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 221 successfully completed the course. The overall completion rate was 28%. The completion rate of participants who actually started the studies was 65%. All statistics during the five years can be found in the table below.

Year No of registrations No of countries Active participants Completion rate: Overall Completion rate: Participants who started studies
2017 303 61 224 55% 75%
2018 424 71 236 37% 67%
2019 426 70 227 29% 55%
2020 515 77 267 31% 60%
2021 791 86 338 28% 65%

Both the overall completion rate, as well as the completion rate of those participants who actually started the course have stabilized. The latter completion rate can be considered very good by any measure. As has been the usual case with our online courses, the questions from the participants were often very interesting, often addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. Such discussions made teaching this course a great experience also for us, the teachers!

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Autumn-Winter 2021-2022.

On Tuesday, November 24, 2020 the web course LC-MS Method Validation was launched for the fifth time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). There are 788 registered participants (the largest number ever in this course) from 86 countries, ranging from Bangladesh to Belize and from Sweden to Togo. The image on the left shows the countries where the participants come from.

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using LC-MS as the technique. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. The LC-MS validation course is delivered by a team of 8 teachers, each with their own specific area of competence. This way it is expected to offer the best possible knowledge in all the different subtopics of analytical method validation.

The full set of course materials is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/lcms_method_validation/. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files, and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged calculation exercises). In order to pass the course, the registered participants have to take all tests and get a higher than 50% score from each of them. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform. Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from the University of Tartu.

Validation_of_LC-MS_Methods_Online_CourseWe are glad to announce that the fifth edition of the online course LC-MS Method Validation is open for registration at the address https://sisu.ut.ee/lcms_method_validation/ !

The course will be offered as a Massive Open On-line Course (MOOC) during Nov 24, 2020 to Feb 05, 2021.

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) as technique, mostly (but not limited to) using the electrospray (ESI) ion source. The course will also be of interest to chromatographists using other detector types. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation, covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. The course is largely based on the two-part tutorial review:

The course materials include video lectures, texts, tables, schemes, practical exercises and numerous tests for self-testing. In spite of being introductory, the course intends to offer sufficient knowledge and mathematical skills for carrying out validation for most of the common LC-MS analyses in routine laboratory environment. The real-life analysis situations for which there are either examples or self-tests are for example determination of pesticides in fruits and vegetables, perfluoroalkyl acids in water, antibiotics in blood serum, glyphosate and AMPA in surface water, etc. It is important to stress, that for successfully carrying out validation, practical experience – both in analytical chemistry as such and also specifically in validation – is crucial and this can be acquired only through hands-on laboratory work, not via an on-line course.

Participation in the course is free of charge. Receiving digital certificate (in the case of successful completion) is also free of charge. Printed certificate (to be sent by post) is available for a fee of 60 EUR. Registration is possible until the start of the course. The course material is available from the above address all the time and can be used via web by anyone who wishes to improve the knowledge and skills in analytical method validation (especially when using LC-ESI-MS).

This week is the first study week for the new students of Applied Measurement Science and EACH Erasmus Mundus Joint Programme. Altogether 21 students started their studies. The countries of origin of the students are very diverse: Vietnam, Philippines, USA, Dominican Republic, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Yemen, Taiwan, Nigeria, Moldova, and Bangladesh.

This year the studies start very differently from previous years, because of the COVID-19. As of now, the majority of students are still not in Estonia. However, the programme team has made extensive preparations for providing e-learning possibilities and we are confident that in spite of the late arrival of many students we will be able to successfully carry out all the necessary teaching activities. The “group photo” on the left (from the introductory session) illustrates the situation.

During the online introductory meeting on Monday 31.08.20 an overview of both programmes was given (see the slides), the autumn semester timetable was explained in detail and a large number of questions were asked and answered.

We wish successful studies to all new students!

 

On the 3rd of June, 2020, six AMS master students successfully defended their master’s theses.

The defenders’ theses demonstrated the wide scope of the field of applied measurement science. The topics of their studies ranged from analytical chemistry to biochemistry, even including interdisciplinary bioelectrochemistry. In their experiments, various techniques were applied from solid-phase extraction combined with LC-MS/MS to x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.

On the photo, from left to right: Waseem Ahmad Iftikhar, Ohimai Kelvin Ijegbai, Adeyinka Jimoh Akintola, Antonio Ivan Manuell Nava, Joshua Onyeka Osagu, Dmytro Danilian.

Full list of students and thesis topics:

  • Waseem Ahmad Iftikhar: Determination antibacterials in river water by solid-phase extraction using LC-MS/MS
  • Ohimai Kelvin Ijegbai: The optimization of conditions for the start-up of anammox bacteria seeded with nonspecific biomass
  • Adeyinka Jimoh Akintola: Characterization of a Temperature Measurement System for Use in Vacuum
  • Antonio Ivan Manuell Nava: Nitrogen removal in anaerobic ammonium oxidation process-based bioelectrochemical system
  • Joshua Onyeka Osagu: Simultaneous Determination of Selected Antimicrobial Agents In Sewage Sludge By Pressurised Liquid Extraction And LC-MS/MS
  • Dmytro Danilian: X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy Studies of Carbon-Based Electrocatalytic Materials

Congratulations and wishing you all the best for your future!

On May 12, 2020 the on-line course (MOOC) Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis offered by University of Tartu finished successfully.
Eventually altogether 843 people registered (270 in 2014, 489 in 2015, 757 in 2016, 363 in 2017, 521 in 2018, 590 in 2019) from 95 countries (a number of participants joined after the start of the course). 600 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 464 successfully completed the course (141 in 2014, 169 in 2015, 308 in 2016, 148 in 2017, 358 in 2018, 238 in 2019). The overall completion rate was 55% (52% in 2014, 34% in 2015, 40% in 2016, 41% in 2017, 42% in 2018, 40% in 2019). The completion rate of participants who started the studies was 77% (67% in 2014, 60% in 2015, 67% in 2016, 68% in 2017, 61% in 2018, 62% in 2019). The completion rate this year is the best we have seen and can be considered excellent for a MOOC, especially one that has quite difficult calculation exercises, which need to be done correctly for completing the course.

The participants were very active and asked lots of questions. The questions were often very much to the point and addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. The course has several forums (general and by topic) and during the course period the overall number of forum posts was close to 600 (!) (overall number of posts, both from participants and from teachers) and the forums are still active and posts are still coming in.

This active participation made teaching of this MOOC a great experience also for us, the teachers. The discussion threads gave a lot of added value to the course and some of them triggered making important modifications to the course materials, even during the course.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Spring 2021.

 

The UT Analytical Chemistry group is well known for its acid-base studies, especially pKa measurements, in non-aqueous media. Up to recent time the measured data have been scattered among a number of publications containing pKa measurements.

Now the pKa data of acids and bases in different solvents – acids in MeCN and 1,2-Dichloroethane; bases in THF, MeCN and 1,2-dichloroethane – are compiled into collections of experimental acidity and basicity data in non-aqueous media measured by the UT analytical chemistry group are now up to date on group’s webpage.

Both tables include the compounds name, CAS number and SMILES code. The acidity collection contains 190 compounds, where the compounds available experimentally measured pKa in acetonitrile (MeCN) and pKip in 1,2-dichloroethane (DCE) are given. The pKa in DCE is calculated/estimated based on pKip value.

The basicity data collection includes 353 compounds and their pKip in tetrahydrofuran (THF) and in DCE. The pKa values in MeCN were re-evaluated taking into account all (close to 700) measurements of 279 bases. Therefore, these pKa values can be considered the most reliable pKa values measured in MeCN available!

We welcome everybody to use the pKa values and propose other compounds for which pKa values should be measured.

 

On Tuesday, March 24, 2020 the web course Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis was launched the seventh time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course)!

Currently 828 participants from 92 countries are registered – the largest audience the course has ever had! As was the case in the previous years, the majority of participants are from analytical laboratories. This once again demonstrates the continuing need for training in measurement uncertainty estimation for practicing analytical chemists.

The full course material is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises). In order to pass the course the registered participants have to pass six graded tests and get higher than 50% score from each of them. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.

This course is run under the umbrella of the Estonian Center of Analytical chemistry (https://www.akki.ee/) and forms a part of the measurements and chemical analysis related master programmes at UT: Applied Measurement Science (https://ams.ut.ee/) and Excellence in Analytical Chemistry (https://www.analyticalchemistry.eu/).

 

On Feb 14, 2020 our LC-MS Method Validation web course (MOOC) finished successfully!
Altogether 515 (426 in 2019, 424 in 2018, 303 in 2017) people were registered from 77 (70 in 2019, 71 in 2018, 61 in 2017) countries. 267 (227 in 2019, 236 in 2018, 224 in 2017) participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 161 (125 in 2019, 159 in 2018, 168 in 2017) successfully completed the course. The overall completion rate was 31% (29% in 2019, 37% in 2018, 55% in 2017). The completion rate of participants who actually started the studies was 60% (55% in 2019, 67% in 2018, 75% in 2017). It is pleasant to see that the completion rate of the of the course seems to be stabilizing (as opposed to the clearly negative trend observed last year) and in fact more than 50% completion rate of people who actually started the course can be considered very good by any measure.

As has been the usual case with our online courses, the questions from the participants were often very interesting, often addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. Such discussions made teaching this course a great experience also for us, the teachers!

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Autumn-Winter 2020-2021.

The 2020 edition of the web course (MOOC) Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis will be running during Mar 24 – May 5, 2020. Registration is open!

The full course material (as well as the registration link) is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises) and examples. Almost all areas of analytical chemistry are addressed, ranging from simple titrations to sophisticated instrumental analysis, such as determining pesticide residues by LC-MS.

In order to pass the course, the registered participants have to take six graded tests and get higher than 50% score in every graded test. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform. Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from University of Tartu. A digital certificate of completion is free of charge. A certificate of completion on paper can be requested for a fee of 60 euros.

You are welcome to distribute this message to potentially interested people!

 

On Tuesday, November 26, 2019 the web course LC-MS Method Validation was launched for the fourth time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). There are 511 registered participants (the largest number ever in this course) from 77 countries, ranging from Guatemala to Azerbaijan and from Finland to Sudan. Image on the left shows the countries where the participants come from.

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using LC-MS as technique. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation, covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. The LC-MS validation course is delivered by a team of 8 teachers, each with their own specific area of competence. This way it is expected to offer the best possible knowledge in all the different subtopics of analytical method validation.

The full set of course materials is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/lcms_method_validation/. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged calculation exercises). In order to pass the course the registered participants have to take all tests and get higher than 50% score from each of them. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform. Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from the University of Tartu.

 

In a recent minireview, published in Eur. J. Org. Chem. an important part of our group’s acid-base chemistry research has been summarized: the pKa values of bases (pKaH values) determined over the years in acetonitrile have now been rigorously united into a single scale, whereby all the involved ΔpKa values have been considered for deriving the absolute pKaH values of the bases involved. Altogether 279 basic compounds are included in the scale from all major groups of organic bases (amines, pyridines, imidazoles, anilines, amidines, guanidines, phosphazenes, etc) and are linked with altogether 682 ΔpKa measurements.

The minireview also presents possibilities to predict the pKa values of bases in other media – namely water, DMSO and THF – on the basis of MeCN pKaH values. It is expected that this minireview will be a useful tool for future researchers who need pKa values of bases in nonaqueous solvents for planning their studies or for interpreting research results.

 

This week is the first study week for the new students of Applied Measurement Science and EACH Erasmus Mundus Joint Programme. Altogether 21 students started their studies. The countries of origin of the students are very diverse: Vietnam, Philippines, Estonia, Nepal, Thailand, Peru, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka, China, Italy, Serbia, Belarus, Poland, Mexico and Kazakhstan.
During the introductory meeting on Monday 02.09.18 an overview of both programmes was given (see the slides), the autumn semester timetable was explained in detail (see the timetable) and a large number of questions were asked and answered, accompanied by tea/coffee and cake.

We wish successful studies to all new students!

 

Starting from July 07, 2019 the MSC Summer School 2019 is taking place in Lyon (France), organized by the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1.

Five students from the University of Tartu take part in the summer school: Dariya Tukhmetova (Kazakhstan), Jeewan Babu Rijal (Nepal), Nhung Dang Thi Hong (Vietnam), Larissa Silva Maciel (Brazil) and Marvy Girgis (Egypt).

As in previous years, a core aim of the Summer school is teaching measurement science (metrology) topics related to analytical chemistry using active learning (“learning by doing”) approaches, as far as possible. Thus, efforts are made for increasing the share of discussions, hands-on work, teamwork. A key activity of the summer school is the contest of student teams (setting up virtual laboratories and interacting with customers), which tests their knowledge and skills in all areas of metrology in chemistry. This time the task is determining caffeine content in a cotton patch using UV-Vis spectrophotometry.

As always, serious studies and work are intermixed with fun. On Friday the whole group visited Chamonix and took the cable car to the top of Aiguille du Midi mountain (3842 meter height). Unforgettable experience for the participants!

We wish all the participants successful continuation of the summer school!

(Photo on the left by Dariya Tukhmetova: Dariya, Jeewan, Nhung, Larissa and Marvy at the Summer school; photo on the right by Marvy Girgis: UT participants in Chamonix)

 

Today (June 04, 2019) 4 AMS master students successfully defended their master’s theses.

Congratulations to all of you!

Photo on the left, from left to right: Huy Qui Vinh Nguyen, Ismail Sarigül, Mahvish Faisal and Nguyen Kim Ngan Bui.

As is usual for the AMS programme the topics of the theses were diverse ranging from analytical chemistry to molecular biology and from organic synthesis to applied electrochemistry. The full list of the defenders and their thesis titles is below. This list demonstrates well the ubiquitous nature of measurement science. The scientific/technological quality of the theses was high: all students got either “A” or “B”.

 

Full list of students and thesis topics:

  • Nguyen Kim Ngan Bui, Determination of Amino Acids in Bee Products by Diethyl ethoxymethylenemalonate Derivatization Using LC-ESI-MS/MS
  • Mahvish Faisal, Isosorbide-Based Monomers and Novel Stiff Biobased Polymer
  • Huy Qui Vinh Nguyen, Oxygen Reduction on Platinum Nanoparticles Deposited onto Chromium Carbide-Derived Carbon Support
  • Ismail Sarigül, Functional Interactions of Metalloprotein YbeY, Involved in Ribosomal Metabolism, with the Putative Metal Efflux Protein YbeX

 

During May 20-21, 2019 the Eurachem 2019 Scientific workshop Validation of targeted and non-targeted methods of analysis took place in Dorpat Conference Centre in Tartu. This workshop also marks the 30th anniversary of Eurachem.

Approximately 160 people attended the workshop, which is the largest number of participants in the history of Eurachem workshops! The participants were from 42 countries of the member countries in Eurachem as well as Asia, North America, South America and Middle East. The farthest participants were from Fiji, the Philippines, Uruguay and Brazil.

The workshop was held with 13 oral presentations from established researchers, young scientists as well as industries. Together with 22 posters all presentations reflected the current and potential future developments related to methods validation. The workshop addressed the current status of analytical method validation in general and specifically validation of the non-targeted methods (i.e. ones where the analyte is not defined beforehand). With the speaker permissions, all presentations will shortly be available at the Eurachem website. In addition to presentations, each day a Working Group session was organised with 3 topics in parallel (Image on the left: Welcome by Dr Marina Patriarca, the Eurachem chair).

Non-targeted methods are an especially noteworthy part of the programme, because their validation involves specific issues and their validation is significantly less developed than validation of targeted methods (i.e. the “normal” analytical methods, where the analyte is known beforehand). At the same time non-targeted methods are becoming increasingly important in environmental protection, food safety, different omics areas, etc. (Image on the right: Prof. Jon Benskin from Stockholm University presenting an introduction to non-targeted analysis)

All sessions raised new issues and challenges, especially related to non-target method validation. The workshop clearly was also very inspirational for Eurachem from the point of view of preparing new guideline materials – especially the topics related to non-targeted analysis are still essentially not covered by official guidance documents.

Some example topics of the workshop: Validation of targeted methods: where are we? Validation of non-targeted methods – differences from targeted methods. Detection of a multitude of (unknown) components in complex samples: criteria for identification. Managing the huge amounts of complex data from non-targeted methods. Recent instrumental developments. Software tools for validation. (Image on the left: Dr. Koit Herodes presenting the ValChrom validation software)

The workshop certaily had a significant educational value and we are pleased by the large number of student participants: altogether close to 50! The international master’s programmes Excellence in Analytical Chemistry and Applied Measurement Science were both heavily represented: the majority of students of those programmes participated in the workshop (Image on the left: EACH and AMS students at the workshop).

The workshop was jointly organized by Eurachem and ECAC (University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology and the Estonian Environmental Research Centre).

 

Measurement_Uncertainty_MOOC_Successfully_FinishedOn May 14, 2019 the on-line course (MOOC) Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis offered by University of Tartu finished successfully.
Eventually altogether 590 people registered (270 in 2014, 489 in 2015, 757 in 2016, 363 in 2017, 521 in 2018) from 86 countries (a number of participants joined after the start of the course). 381 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 238 successfully completed the course (141 in 2014, 169 in 2015, 308 in 2016, 148 in 2017, 358 in 2018). The overall completion rate was 40% (52% in 2014, 34% in 2015, 40% in 2016, 41% in 2017, 42% in 2018). The completion rate of participants who started the studies was 62% (67% in 2014, 60% in 2015, 67% in 2016, 68% in 2017, 61% in 2018). The completion rates are consistent over the last years and can be considered very good for a MOOC, especially one that has quite difficult calculation exercises, which need to be done correctly for completing the course.

The participants were very active and asked lots of questions. The questions were often very much to the point and addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. The course has several forums (general and by topic) and the overall number of posts to them during the course period exceeded 400 (!) (overall number of posts, both from participants and from teachers) and the forums are still active and posts are still coming in.

This active participation made teaching of this MOOC a great experience also for us, the teachers. The discussion threads gave a lot of added value to the course and some of them triggered making important modifications to the course materials, even during the course.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Spring 2020.

 

During Apr 22 to May 4 we had the pleasure to host visiting scholar, prof. Todd Pagano from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), USA. He conducted, for the second time, a two week-intensive course Principles and applications of fluorescence spectroscopy.

In this course, students reviewed the principles of fluorescence spectroscopy, were introduced to the impact of photophysical phenomena on fluorescence data, and discussed new directions of fluorescence in analytical chemistry. Techniques in multidimensional fluorescence spectroscopy with chemometric analysis were highlighted, especially in the context of novel applications in environmental and related fields. The course consisted of lectures, seminars, tutorial sessions and two lab practicals. The latter were specifically set up for this course by prof. Pagano and were very much appreciated by students.

The first practical was about discovering the fundamental concepts of fluorescence (excitation and emission spectra, Stokes shift, Vavilov’s rule, fluorescence lifetime, etc). The second practical was about analysis of caffeine in beverages using salicylic acid as a fluorescent chemosensor. This analysis utilizes the ability of caffeine to quench the fluorescence of salicylic acid and introduces students to the fluorescence quenching, Stern-Volmer equation and inner filter effects.

Altogether 30 students (out of them 14 EACH students) participated in the course and their feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

 

Prof. Pagano is a passionate educator. He was the initiator of the Laboratory Science Technology program at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, which is a unique science programme, specifically designed for deaf students. He was named “2012 U.S. Professor of the Year” by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

 

(Images: top left, group photo of prof. Pagano with course participants; right: prof. Pagano with students in lab)

 

Choosing the best possible ion source is a very important step in liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC/MS) method development. In a recent paper ESI outcompetes other ion sources in LC-MS trace analysis Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 2019 Asko Laaniste from the UT Analytical chemistry group carried out a large scale survey of differen LCMS ion sources (and their different working modes) as applied to pesticide analysis. He compared electrospray ionisation (ESI) source, thermally focused/heated electrospray (HESI), atmospheric pressure photoionisation (APPI) source with and without dopant, and multimode source in ESI mode, atmospheric pressure chemical ionisation (APCI) mode, and combined mode using both ESI and APCI, i.e. altogether seven different ionisation modes for the analysis of 40 pesticides (see list below).

The lowest limits of detection (LoDs) were obtained by ESI and HESI. The widest linear ranges were observed with the conventional ESI source without heated nebulizer gas. ESI source was significantly less affected by matrix effect than the HESI source. APPI ranked second (after ESI) by not being influenced by matrix effect; therefore, it would be a good alternative to ESI if low LoDs are not required.

It was somewhat unexpected that ESI outperformed HESI. This may be caused by the instability of the additional heated gas (sheath gas) in HESI that is used in addition to the nebulising gas.

In conclusion, as a broad generalisation, Asko’s results show that although several new ion sources have been introduced during the last decade, the conventional ESI performs at least equally to these new ion sources in the case of polar to medium polarity pesticides. ESI with thermal focusing (HESI) performed more or less equally with ESI in terms of LoD. At the same time, HESI had significantly poorer intermediate precision of matrix effect values for most compounds. Thus, for trace analysis, ESI is still the ion source of choice.

(Full list of pesticides: pymetrozine, thiamethoxam, methiocarb-sulfoxide, chloridazon, imidacloprid, acetamiprid, methiocarb-sulfone, thiacloprid, imazalil, thiophanate-methyl, metribuzin, pyrimethanil, fenpropimorph, spiroxamine, propoxur, triasulfuron, bupirimate, paclobutrazol, methiocarb, azoxystrobin, epoxiconazole, myclobutanil, fenhexamid, fluquinconazole, flusilazole, mepanipyrim, bitertanol, propiconazole, triazophos, methoxychlor, ditalimfos, tebufenozide, benalaxyl, pyrazophos, buprofezin, indoxocarb, trifloxustrobin, quinoxyfen, pirimiphos-ethyl, hexythiazox)

 

(Image top left: Asko Laaniste preparing solutions; Image right: Comparison of accuracy of LC-MS analysis using different ion sources)

 

On Tuesday, March 26, 2019 the web course Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis was launched the sixth time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course)!

Currently 530 participants from more than 80 countries are registered! As was the case in the previous years, the majority of participants are from analytical laboratories. This once again demonstrates the continuing need for training in measurement uncertainty estimation for practicing analytical chemists.

The full course material is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises). In order to pass the course the registered participants have to pass six graded tests and get higher than 50% score from each of them. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.

This course also forms a part of the measurements and chemical analysis related master programmes at UT: Applied Measurement Science and Excellence in Analytical Chemistry.

 

Starting from last week the Analytical chemistry group of University of Tartu has the pleasure to host Dr Monika Lindner and Hendrik van Thienen from the group of professor Benjamin List – a worldwide known guru in the field of strongly acidic catalysts working at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung (Mülheim, Germany).

The purpose of their stay is to learn our pKa measurement method and set it up in Mülheim. This is the logical continuation of our group’s collaboration with the List group – the pKa values of a number of their catalysts have been measured here at Tartu (see Nature Chemistry 2018, 10, 888-894 and Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 1411-1415) – and we are glad that our pKa measurement method thereby gains even wider acceptance than it has now. We wish Monika and Hendrik all the success in learning the measurements!

(On photo, from left: Märt Lõkov, Monika Lindner and Hendrik van Thienen)

 

During 24-26.02.2019 the Suprachem 2019 conference took place at University of Würzburg (Germany). The UT Analytical chemistry chair was represented by two posters: Optimization of the reaction pathway for the synthesis of substituted 1,3-bis(carbazolyl)urea anion receptors by Alo Rüütel and Mihkel Ilisson and From receptor-anion binding ladder to ion-selective electrode by Kerli Martin, Sandip A. Kadam, Ulriika Mattinen, Johan Bobacka and Ivo Leito.

The presentation from Alo and Mihkel focused on optimization of the synthesis route of anion receptors (ionophores) based on the 1,3-bis(carbazolyl)urea building block, augmented with additional amide functionalities (see the poster). The developed synthesis route is very valuable for the synthesis of a wide variety of analogous receptors (ionophores) that have previously been demonstrated to bind carboxylates with high affinity (see K. Martin et al, Eur. J. Org. chem. 2017, 5231-5237).

Kerli Martin et al present the first practical application of such receptors: a solid-contact acetate-selective electrodes. For acetate anion the electrodes show linearity over the activity range of 10-4.50 – 10-1.10 with a sub-Nernstian slope of -51.3 mV per decade and a detection limit of 10-5.00. The anion-selectivity pattern of these electrodes deviates markedly from the pattern found in DMSO solution and from the Hofmeister pattern. The selectivity coefficients of SCN, I, NO3 and Br decrease by 3-5 orders of magnitude when adding the studied ionophore to the membrane. The selectivity coefficients of hydrophilic anions such as Cl, F, HPO42–, and SO42– are significantly lower than in case of the ionophore-free control membrane. All in all, it is clear that a lot of work is still needed for improving the selectivity of the electrode.
This work has been accepted for publication: K. Martin et al Electroanalysis 2019 (the link will work soon).

The combined contributions from our group stood out from the majority (the conference altogether had 27 oral and 111 poster presentations) by a clear line of development from fundamental research (receptor design) to highly practical application (ion-selective electrode).

(Photos: above left: Mihkel Ilisson explaining his work to Dr Diane Smith from Wiley; right: Poster by Kerli Martin et al)

 

LCMS Method Validation online course offered by UTOn Feb 15, 2019 the on-line course (MOOC) LC-MS Method Validation finished successfully!
Altogether 426 (424 in 2018, 303 in 2017) people were registered from 70 countries (71 in 2018, 61 in 2017) countries. 227 (236 in 2018, 224 in 2017) participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 125 (159 in 2018, 168 in 2017) successfully completed the course. The overall completion rate was 29% (37% in 2018, 55% in 2017). The completion rate of participants who actually started the studies was 55% (67% in 2018, 75% in 2017). As can be seen, almost all these statistics have been getting worse year after year. We are working n analysing the situation. On the positive side it can be said that the completion rates more than 0% of those who started can be considered very good by any measure. Thus we probably can be reasonably happy with the completion rate that we have this time.

As has been the usual case with our online courses, the questions from the participants were often very interesting, often addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. Such discussions made teaching this course a great experience also for us, the teachers!

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Autumn 2019.

 

 

The 2019 edition of the web course (MOOC) Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis will be running during Mar 26 – May 7, 2019. Registration is open!

The full course material (as well as the registration link) is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises). In order to pass the course, the registered participants have to take six graded tests and get higher than 50% score in every graded test. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform. Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from University of Tartu. A digital certificate of completion is free of charge. A certificate of completion on paper can be requested for a fee of 60 euros.

You are welcome to distribute this message to potentially interested people!

The UT analytical chemistry group is proud to be the leading organiser of the 2019 Eurachem General Assembly and the accompanying scientific workshop “Validation of targeted and non-targeted methods of analysis”!

The Workshop will take place in Tartu (Dorpat conference centre) on May 20th and 21st. The programme of the workshop, as well as registration and abstract submission are available at the event website:
https://eurachem2019.akki.ut.ee/

The workshop addresses the current status of analytical method validation in general and specifically validation of the non-targeted methods (i.e. ones where the analyte is not defined beforehand). Non-targeted methods are an especially noteworthy part of the workshop programme, because their validation involves specific issues (since analyte is not known it is not possible to make validation experiments with it) and is significantly less developed than validation of targeted methods (i.e. the “normal” analytical methods, where the analyte is known beforehand). At the same time non-targeted methods are becoming increasingly important in environmental protection, food safety, different omics areas, etc.

Some example topics of the workshop are: Validation of targeted methods: where are we? Validation of non-targeted methods – differences from targeted methods. Detection of a multitude of (unknown) components in complex samples: criteria for identification. Managing the huge amounts of complex data from non-targeted methods. Software solutions for validation.

Compact overview of the workshop can be found in the 2nd circular.

These events mark the 30th anniversary of Eurachem and are jointly organized by Eurachem and ECAC (University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology and the Estonian Environmental Research Centre).

We are hoping to see many of you in Tartu in May!

 

Today, On Nov 16, 2018 the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) unanimously decided to fundamentally remake the SI system of measurement units. Perhaps the most important change is that the kilogram will not be defined via a physical artefact – the platinum-iridium cylinder – but in terms of the Planck constant. As a result, for the first time the entire SI system will be defined entirely on the basis of fundamental constants, which has been the aim for decades!

The change will become effective on the 2019 World metrology day – May 20, 2019.

More information can be found in the post CGPM votes unanimously to change the SI by Dr Steve Ellison at the Eurachem website.

(Image: Wikipedia)

 

On Nov 05, 2018 Ivo Leito gave a presentation Unified pH about the pan-European research network of fundamental pH Research UnipHied (www.uniphied.eu) at the 7th Baltic Electrochemistry Conference organized by the University of Tartu.

The presentation started with explaining the need for the experimental realization and measurement capability of unified pH (pHabs). Thereafter the current state of art of measuring pHabs values was described and finally some first exemplary results were highlighted.

The presentation created a lot of interest from the participants and roughly as many questions were asked as for the other four presentations of the same session put together!

As of now, it is not possible to compare pH values of solutions made in different solvents, as every solvent has its own pH scale. This situation is highly unfortunate, since it causes confusion and inaccuracies into many fields, extending far beyond the specific field of acid-base chemistry. Examples are industrial catalytic processes, food chemistry, liquid chromatograpy, etc.

The central aim of the UnipHied network is to establish at international level measurement capability of pHabs values that would be applicable also at routine laboratory level. The two key activities for achieving that are creating a reliable method for the experimental or computational evaluation of the liquid junction potential and between aqueous and non-aqueous solutions and developing a coherent and validated suite of calibration standards for standardizing routine measurement systems in terms of pHabs values for a variety of widespread systems (e.g., industrial mixtures, soils/waters, food products, biomaterials).

The partners of the UnipHied network are LNE (France, coordinator), BFKH (Hungary), CMI (Czech Republic), DFM (Denmark), IPQ (Portugal), PTB (Germany), SYKE (Finland), TÜBITAK-UME (Turkey), Freiburg University (Germany), ANBSensors (United Kingdom), FCiencias.ID (Portugal), UT (Estonia, initiator).

UnipHied is funded from the EMPIR programme (project 17FUN09) co-financed by the Participating States and from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

 

On Oct 26, 2018 Ivo Leito gave presentation titled Analytical chemistry education activities at University of Tartu at the EcoBalt 2018 conference in Vilnius (Lithuania).

The presentation contains information about the on-line courses LC-MS Method Validation and Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis, as well as the recently published tutorial reviews (Validation I, Validation II, LoD I, LoD II) that form the basis of the LC-MS Method Validation course.

The presentation also addresses the international master’s programmes Applied Measurement Science and Excellence in Analytical Chemistry at University of Tartu.

The last part of the talk is devoted to the Eurachem 2018 General Assembly and Workshop that will take place in Tartu on May 20-21, 2018. The topic of the workshop is “Validation of targeted and non-targeted methods of analysis”.

 

Validation_of_LC-MS_Methods_Online_CourseWe are glad to announce that the third edition of the online course LC-MS Method Validation is open for registration at the address https://sisu.ut.ee/lcms_method_validation/ !

The course will be offered as a Massive Open On-line Course (MOOC) during Nov 27, 2018 – Feb 08, 2019.

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) as technique, mostly (but not limited to) using the electrospray (ESI) ion source. The course will also be of interest to chromatographists using other detector types. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation, covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. The course is largely based on the recently published two-part tutorial review:

The course materials include lectures, practical exercises and numerous tests for self-testing. In spite of being introductory, the course intends to offer sufficient knowledge and mathematical skills for carrying out validation for most of the common LC-MS analyses in routine laboratory environment. The real-life analysis situations for which there are either examples or self-tests are for example determination of pesticides in fruits and vegetables, perfluoroalkyl acids in water, antibiotics in blood serum, glyphosate and AMPA in surface water, etc. It is important to stress, that for successful validation practical experience – both in analytical chemistry as such and also specifically in validation – is crucial and this can be acquired only through hands-on laboratory work, which cannot be offered via an on-line course.

Participation in the course is free of charge. Receiving digital certificate (in the case of successful completion) is also free of charge. Printed certificate (to be sent by post) is available for a fee of 60 EUR. Registration is possible until the start of the course. The course material is available from the above address all the time and can be used via web by anyone who wishes to improve the knowledge and skills in analytical method validation (especially when using LC-ESI-MS).

 

During 29.09-10.10.2018 the UT Institute of Chemistry has been hosting visiting scholar, Prof. Narendra Nath Ghosh from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, K K Birla Goa Campus (India). He conducted an intensive course Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology and their Applications in Analytical Chemistry.

This lecture series started with introduction to nanomaterials and nanotechnology, the origin of nanotechnology and nanomaterials, and how and why the properties of nanomaterials are different from bulk materials. It then developed to cover design of a variety of nanostructured materials, their preparation techniques and different analytical instrumental methods for structural characterization of nanomaterials. Finally, a significant amount of time was devoted to the use of nanomaterials in different analytical techniques, especially in sensor applications and applications of these sensors in real life (detection and estimation of different types of analytes such as glucose, H2O2, metal ions, etc and how these nanosensors can be used for health monitoring, food quality monitoring, and environmental monitoring).

Altogether 15 students (out of them 7 AMS students) participated in the course and their feedback was very positive.

Prof. Ghosh is the Associate Dean, International Program and Collaboration at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, K K Birla Goa Campus. His research interests embrace development of new and novel chemical methodologies for preparation of nanomaterials, mesoporous materials and nanocomposites, as well as applications of nanomaterials in catalysis, sensors, separations, microwave absorption, supercapacitor etc.

(Photo by Ivo Leito: Prof. Ghosh, in the middle, with students)

 

Recently the Analytical chemistry group of University of Tartu participated in a cutting-edge research endeavor: characterizing the acidity of some extremely efficient strongly acidic organocatalysts. In the case of the Mukaiyama aldol reaction the best of them (1) worked at low ppm to sub-ppm level, (2) gave excellent yields and (3) high enantiomeric selectivity as well as (4) turnover numbers (TON numbers) of hundreds of thousands (Nature Chemistry 2018, 10, 888-894).

The extent to which these four features occurred together in the same catalyst was so remarkable that the results were published in one of the most prestigious journals in chemical sciences: Nature Chemistry.

The extremely demanding acidity measurements were performed by Dr Karl Kaupmees using the unique non-aqueous acid-base chemistry facility that the group is running. The whole research project was led by the group of professor Benjamin List – a worldwide known guru in the field of strongly acidic catalysts working at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung.
These results are expected to open new avenues in development of powerful new organocatalysts.

(Photo by Andres Tennus: Karl doing acidity measurements in a glovebox under anhydrous conditions)

This week is the first study week for the new students of Applied Measurement Science and EACH Erasmus Mundus Joint Programme. Altogether 27 students started their studies. This is the largest joint number of students of these two programmes.

As a result of the rather large number of students, the countries of origin of the students are also very diverse: Vietnam, Philippines, Brazil, Estonia, Nepal, Thailand, Peru, India, Netherlands, Fiji, Albania, Nigeria, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Ukraine, Pakistan and Turkey. And for the first time all six inhabited continents are represented!

During the introductory meeting on Monday 03.09.18 an overview of both programmes was given (see the slides) and a large number of questions were asked and answered, accompanied by tea/coffee and cake. The session ended with an entertaining “get-to-know-each-other” game organized by the tutor Kristi Palk (far left on the photo).

We wish successful studies to all new students!

 

On August 10, 2018 the master thesis defence session of the second of the EACH programme, the “sister programme” of AMS, took place at Åbo Akademi University (AAU)! Kenneth Arandia, Changbai Li, Jay Pee Oña and Jayaruwan Gunathilake Gamaethiralalage successfully defended their master’s theses. (first row on the photo, left to right)

Congratulations to all of you!

The defence took place in front of an international jury – Tom Lindfors (Finland), Patrik Eklund (Finland), Johan Bobacka (Finland), AdrianaFerancova (Slovakia/Finland), Ivo Leito (Estonia), Hanno Evard (Estonia). (second row on the photo, right to left, Hanno participated via Skype)

Most of the defended theses focused on development and applications of advanced electrochemical sensing devices – preparation of all-solid-state sensors, solid state reference electrodes, calibration-free potentiometric analytical devices, etc.

Most of the students who defended their theses have already secured either a PhD position or a job in industry.

(Photo: Jayaruwan Gunathilake)

 

A new paper on ancient dietary practices was recently published by our group (led by Dr. Ester Oras) in the Journal of Archaeological Science: “Social food here and hereafter: Multiproxy analysis of gender-specific food consumption in conversion period inhumation cemetery at Kukruse, NE-Estonia”.

We demonstrated the fruitfulness of multiproxy dietary analysis combining plant microfossil, human bone stable isotope and pottery related organic residue analysis. The results reveal that even 800 years ago men and women had different dietary habits: men preferred fish and higher trophic level terrestrial animals (e.g. pork), whilst women declined towards ruminant carcass (a nice steak!) and dairy products.

The paper is one of the few of its kind illustrating ancient food consumption as a highly social phenomenon, and setting an example for microscale dietary analysis in the future.

On Saturday 21.07.2018 The MSC Euromaster Summer School 2018 (Tallinn, Estonia) finished. It was the 11th summer school of the Measurement Science in Chemistry consortium. The hallmark of the MSC Summer schools is “learning by doing” and combining learning with fun, meeting new people and sharing experience. The feedback from the Tartu participants is below and it indicates that organizing these Summer schools it is worth the effort!

 

 

 

Angelique Dafun:
MSC Summer School is a great experience to learn and have fun at the same time. It encompasses intensive learning and practical applications of metrology and accreditation that are significant for an analytical chemist in a “learning through play” way. It is an opportunity to gain knowledge from the experts in the field and to learn about the culture of people from different parts of the world. The schedule is tight and a little bit tiring but having an amazing group of people made it really rewarding. With other Filipinos, we dream of having this kind of summer school in our country someday in order to improve our system in analytical measurement.

 

 

Nikola Obradović:
The MSC Summer School is a great opportunity for all those who want hands-on experience in operating a laboratory under ISO/IEC 17025. Through many theoretical and practical exercises, the participant of this course is led through the whole process of method validation. But, the school is not all about studying. There is much networking going on here, with people making friends and partnering up to do new and exciting projects. Thus, for many, the end of the Summer School marks the start of a whole new chapter in their lives. As the moto of school states: “To mesure is a pleasure!”

 

 

Mark Justine Zapanta:
The MSC Summer School provides a great opportunity to deepens one’s knowledge and understanding of measurement science and accreditation in a fun and exciting way. The “learning through play” theme of the School allows participants to apply theories by making them think, design, implement, and evaluate their approach to answer an analytical problem. Outside the walls of the classroom, participants get to broaden their social network as the School is highly diverse with people coming from different cultures and backgrounds and it is the cultural exchange that adds more flavor and spice to the summer school. Attending the MSC Summer School is truly a one of a kind experience!

 

 

Ernesto Zapata Flores:
Well, it was more than the expected, I mean I met people from different countries around the world, from Ghana, Myanmar, Ireland, Belgium, Portugal, etc. I made a lot of friends. By the other side, there were some topics that I had learned at the University of Tartu, but others were completely new to me. The Professors had an excellent attitude towards us. It was an extremely good experience, the group work gave a lot of stress but it was exciting because of sharing points of view with people from different backgrounds and countries contributed to enrich not only the project but my own knowledge.

 

 

 

On Sunday 8th July, 38 students from 17 countries made their way to the beautiful city of Tallinn. The round of introductions already told us a lot about the individuals, much more than they intended. On Monday 9th July, armed with a little information and lots of things to think about, from the earlier sessions, the students set off, in their teams, to collect sea water samples (Photo on the left). All managed to complete the task but for some the waters were muddied, in more ways than one. Finding out the next day, Tuesday 10th, that salinity measurements are not trivial was a rich learning experience and shed light on many of the pitfalls awaiting the unsuspecting sampler/analyst.

These issues were then further embedded and clarified in various lectures (parts of the resource or process requirements of the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 namely chapters 7.1, 6.1 to 6.6, 7.1-7.8). Already on Tuesday evening the various laboratories (TEAM ONE, JCPT, K2Y, Cool Lab, Djam, We Click!, Elk Analytical, G.I.M.M., ISO CHEM and MONALU) had clearly defined roles and responsibilities for each of their staff. This was about to be tested when they got started on their measurements in the laboratory on Thursday afternoon, following a review of basic lab skills the day before.

Once in the lab the mixture of more and less experienced people really proved to be invaluable for both. It was really lovely to see the exchange of advice, with younger people sharing their intimate knowledge of software such as excel and what it can do and slightly older people providing perspective on what’s really important with respect to fitness for purpose decisions etc. (Ready for the lab! Photo on the right)

When the students had completed five full days of the summer school and were unwinding a little bit in Mektory’s lovely garden, sharing national food, drink, language tips, jokes, songs, (tall) tales from their countries, the idea of filming a mini ‘TV’ novella on Lab Safety was born. It just shows that free time is needed for creative juices to flow!

Saturday the 14th July was simply amazing. From learning that Estonians were Vikings too and what that actually meant, to learning some basic Viking skills (axe throwing and long bow shooting), followed by a hike to the magical Saula Springs, canoeing or long boat river excursion (Photo on the left) and finally ancient singing and dancing games (intermingled with dinner) left all feeling physically exhausted but mentally refreshed and ready for the World Cup Final on Sunday (preceded by a guided tour of Tallinn) and needless to say, another week of interactive learning.

 

On July 09, 2018 the 11th MSC Summer School started in the Mectory facility of the Tallinn University of Technology (Tallinn, Estonia).

Four students from the University of Tartu take part in the summer school. Three students are from the EACH programme: Angelique Dafun, Mark Justine Zapanta and Nikola Obradović. One student, Ernesto De Jesus Zapata Flores, is from the AMS programme. (Photo on the left, taken by Mark Justine Zapanta)

As in previous years, a core aim of the Summer school is teaching measurement science (metrology) topics related to analytical chemistry using active learning (“learning by doing”) approaches, as far as possible. Thus, efforts are made for increasing the share of discussions, hands-on work, teamwork. A key activity of the summer school is the contest of student teams (setting up virtual laboratories and interacting with customers), which tests their knowledge and skills in all areas of metrology in chemistry (Photo on the right).

We wish exciting and enjoyable Summer school to all participants!

 

On June 08, 2018 the master thesis defence of the second cohort of the EACH programme took place at Uppsala University! Thi Duong Bui, Anton Roshchin, Duc Khanh Tho Nguyen, Ruixin Huang, Alisija Prakapaitė, Kalliroi Sdougkou, Ajit Jung Karki and Snežana Đorđević successfully defended their master’s theses.

The topics of the theses embraced a wide area of modern biomed- and environmental analytical problems (MS imaging in biomedical research, LC-MS analysis of drugs in different matrices, evaluation of molecular markers for determination of efficiency in drinking water treatment processes, studies of photosynthesis, etc). All of them featured the use of highly sophisticated analytical instrumentation, such as high-resolution MS, imaging systems, etc. This choice of topics is largely directed by the world-famous biomedical analysis research direction at Uppsala University led by prof. Jonas Bergquist.

The average quality level of the theses was found to be very high by the defence committee members.

Congratulations to all of you!

(On photo from the left: Tho, Kalliroi, Alisija, Snežana, Ivo, Jonas, Duong, Ajit, Anton, Ruixin)

 

University of TartuIn a recent ranking of universities in the “New Europe” – the 13 countries that have become EU members since 2004 – carried out by the Times higher Education, the University of Tartu was ranked as No 1!

University of Tartu is followed by the Cyprus University of Technology and University of Cyprus. The Charles University in Prague is ranked fourth.

The list includes 53 universities in total and uses the conventional methodology of THE World University Rankings.

 

U_MOOC_Countries_of_Participants_2018On Tuesday, March 27, 2018 the web course Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis was launched the fifth time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course)!

Currently more than 450 participants from 70 countries are registered! As was the case in the previous years, the majority of participants are from analytical laboratories. This once again demonstrates the continuing need for training in measurement uncertainty estimation for practicing analytical chemists.

The full course material is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. As is usual, some developments and improvements have been made to the course material. in particular, the description of course organisatsion was improved; more explanations and examples were added on random and systematic effects within short and long term; the typical requirements for determining repeatability and within-lab reproducibility have been clearly outlined; more explanations on the main principles of modifying a model in a modelling approach have been given, together with an example. Some changes are still in the pipeline.

The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises). In order to pass the course the registered participants have to pass six graded tests and get higher than 50% score from each of tehm. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.

 

LCMS Method Validation online course offered by UTOn Feb 16, 2018 the on-line course (MOOC) LC-MS Method Validation finished successfully.

Altogether 424 (303 last year) people were registered from 71 (61 last year) countries. 236 (224 last year) participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 159 (168 last year) successfully completed the course. The overall completion rate was 37% (55% last year). The completion rate of participants who actually started the studies was 67% (75% last year). As can be seen, almost all these statistics are worse than they were the year ago. But then in the last year’s edition both completion rates were all time highest that our group has seen in any of our MOOCs. Thus we probably can be reasonably happy with the completion rates that we have now.

As has been the usual case with our online courses, the questions from the participants were often very interesting, often addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work and in several cases led to improvements in the course. This active participation made teaching this course a great experience also for us, the teachers! The discussion threads gave a lot of added value to the course and some of them triggered making important modifications to the course materials.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Autumn 2018.

 

It was the spring of 2011 when I decided to apply to the AMS programme. If I remember correctly, the decision was based on my gut feeling and it was a right one. AMS was related to “perceived” world more than many other programmes in the faculty of science and technology as was also stated in the slogan “bridging the gap between measurements and society”.

5 years after the graduation I am still thankful for taking the journey, and I wanted to remind to myself and to others the three aspects that distinguished the programme from many others.

1) Combination of science and society. If you have the opportunity to combine your own favourite scientific topic (in my case biochemistry and measurement science) with knowledge about requirements related to law, regulations, and standards one has the possibility to give your thoughts a new perspective. It was beneficial for me in the labour market – there are not many people who know both of these aspects simultaneously which makes an AMS graduate a valuable specialist, mostly in private sector, but also in “pure” science. (I am currently working as a quality assurance specialist at Kevelt AS, which is a pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Estonia.)

2) Improvement of communication skills. There was a lot of group work during the studies, which improved my social skills. There is nothing more important than human relations! We had the possibility to study with people from Uzbekistan, Latvia, China, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Jordan, Romania, France, Turkey, and many more. This enabled to study about other cultures, but also how to communicate with people from other cultures.

3) The inspiring (!) lecturers. Their eyes were sparkling when they spoke about their topics so vividly. I believe that people are best at what they really love to do and I aim for the same in my professional career.

I could not thank Prof. Ivo Leito more for such an important contribution to our (students´) lives as leading the AMS programme. He is passionate about what he is teaching and sincerely interested in answering the endless questions, giving us the opportunity to find our better selves in the progress of studies.

 

It is a pleasure to announce that the admission period is again open for the Applied Measurement Science master’s programme!

It is a programme in a field where there is a serious shortage of competent people all over the world. The reason is that the importance of measurements, tests and chemical analyses is constantly increasing. It has recently been claimed, and rightly so, that we are living in a Golden Age of Measurement Science!

It is also the pleasure to let you know that this is the 10th full admission cycle of the AMS programme! Ten years is sufficiently long time to take a brief look back.

During the ten years altogether 55 people have successfully graduated from the AMS programme. Our graduates are enjoying a variety of interesting careers: setting up a contract analytical laboratory, redefining the way people interpret and measure pH, developing new ion sources for mass spectrometry, working as vice-director at National Measurement Institute, Managing IT Infrastructure projects, etc. A longer list of positions held by AMS alumni can be seen in the AMS Career Outlook page.

We have every reason to believe that the row of exciting achievements will continue and we wish you all the success in applying to the programme!

Admission will be open until Mar 15, 2018.

 

Measurements and computations of acidity and basicity of strong and superstrong acids (superacids) and bases in organic solvents is among the core research topics at the UT Chair of Analytical Chemistry. In a recent works (Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 6964-6973.,    J. Phys. Org. Chem. 2013, 26, 162-170.,    J. Phys. Chem. A 2015, 119, 735–743.,    J. Phys. Chem. A 2016, 120, 3663–3669.) the behavior of a number of acids – ranging from weak to strong and superstrong acids (superacids) was examined in three solvents (water, acetonitrile, 1,2-dichloroethane) and in the gas phase. Acidities (pKa values) of a number of different acids including the well-known superacids trifluoromethanesulfonic (triflic) acid, bis-trifylimide (Tf2NH), etc as well as the carborane superacids (closo-carborane superacids), but also weaker acids (HCl, acetic acid, phenol) etc are examined in the above mentioned solvents. pKa of superacids are not easy to find in literature. Trends of acidity changes on moving from water to the gas phase depnding on the on the nature of the acidity centre and the molecular structure are analyzed. The acidity orders are different in water, MeCN, DCE and the gas phase. In some cases – notably, the hydrohalogenic acids HCl, HBr and HI – the differences are dramatic. These three acids are among the strongest known acids in water but have modest acidity in the gas phase. In contrast, 9‑C6F5‑Octafluorofluorene, a weak acid in water (approximately of the strength of phenol) is quite strong acid in the gas phase, beating any of the hydrohalogenic acids.

It is demonstrated that the decisive factor for behavior of the acids when transferring between different media is the extent of charge delocalization in the anion and that the recently introduced WAPS parameter in spite of its simplicity enables interpretation of the trends in the majority of cases. The acidity data together with references to specific publications are collected in the Table below.

Table of pKa valuesa of acids in different solvents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acid

H2O

MeCN

DCEb

GP

GP

 

pKa

pKa

pKa

pKa

GA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fluoradene

11.1

23.90

12.5

238

324.9

Para-Toluenesulfonamide, 4-CH3-C6H4-SO2-NH2

10.21

26.87

15.6

245

334.0

9‑C6F5‑Octafluorofluorene

10.1

18.88

9.0c

220

300.6

Phenol

10.00

29.14

19.6

251

342.3

(C6F5)2CHCN

9.5

21.10

10.3

229

312.4

C6F5CH(CN)COOEt

5.89

17.75

7.5c

230

313.5

2,4-Dinitrophenol, 2,4-(NO2)2-C6H3OH

4.09

16.66

4.7

226

308.6

(CF3)3COH

5.40

20.55

9.2

238

324.0

Acetic acid, CH3COOH

4.76

23.51

15.5

250

341.1

(4-CF3-C6F4)2CHCN

4.4

16.13

6.0

221

302.1

4-NO2-C6H4-CH(CN)2

2.3

11.61

0.3

220

299.5

Saccharin

1.80

14.57

5.5

232

315.9

Picric acid, 2,4,6-Trinitrophenol

0.40

11.00

0.0

219

299.0

(4-NO2-C6H4-SO2)2NH

<-1

8.19

-3.9c

213

291.1

(CF3SO2)3C6H2OH

-2.0

4.48

-6.6c

208

284.2

(CF3SO2)2NH

<-2

0.3d

-11.9c

210

286.9f

(C2F5SO2)2NH

<-2

-0.10

-12.4c

208

283.7

Cyanoform, (CN)3CH

-5.1

5.1

-6.4c

216

294.8

Triflicid, trifluoromethanesulfonic acid, CF3SO2OH

-14.7g

0.70

-11.3c

215

292.7g

Hydrochloric acid, hydrogen chloride, HCl

-5.9g

10.30

0.2c

241

328.1g

Hydrobromic acid, hydrogen bromide, HBr

-8.8g

5.5

-4.4c

233

318.3g

Sulfuric acid, H2SO4

-9e

8.7d

-2.2c

221

301.2f

Pentacyanopropene

-9.02

-2.80

-15.3c

196

267.2

Hydroiodic acid, hydrogen iodide, HI

-9.5g

2.8

-7.3c

227

309.3g

CB11H12H, unsubstituted closo-Carborane superacid

-25h

-17h

-25f

195

266.5f

B12H12H2, unsubstituted closo-Dodecaborate superacid

-17h

-9h

-17f

196

267.5f

CB11F12H, perfluoro-closo-Carborane superacid

-47h

-39h

-47f

156

212.8f

B12F12H2, perfluoro-closo-Dodecaborate superacid

-45h

-37h

-45f

156

213.4f

 

 

 

 

 

 

a Values from http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/poc.2946 unless noted otherwise. There are numerous comments and details to these values. Please see the original articles for details and comments. GA values are given in kcal mol-1. pKa values in the gas phase are approximate and have been obtained from the GA values by dividing with 1.364 kcal mol-1. b Ion pair pKa values relative to picric acid in 1,2-dichloroethane. c Values from https://doi.org/10.1039/c7sc01424d. d Values from http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jo101409p. e Value from E. V. Anslyn, D. A. Dougherty, Modern Physical Organic Chemistry, University Science Books, Sausalito, 2006. f Values from http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp506485x. DCE values have been recalculated from absolute to relative, in order to be comparable with the rest. g Values from http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpca.6b02253. h Crude estimates from DCE data by considering that bulk water is by 53 kcal mol-1 more basic than bulk DCE and bulk acetonitrile is by 42 kcal mol-1 more basic than bulk DCE.

 

(This post was initially posted on Feb 2, 2013. On Jan 15, 2017 a number values in the table have been replaced by more reliable values from more recent publications. In addition, some compounds were added to the in order to give a fuller picture. The changes concern only the table. The image has not been changed and should be viewed as illustrative)

_END_

This is a Golden Age of Measurement ScienceThe American Chemical Society (the world’s largest scientific society by membership!) has published a document titled Top Ten Trends Driving Science, which summarizes in an intelligent and engaging way the main processes and trends in the contemporary society that drive the scientific research. The explanations are supported by numerous quotes from leading scientists.

Of specific interest for our study programme is the trend No 2: Big data is more essential than ever, is which supported by quote from Jonathan Sweedler, Editor-in-Chief of Analytical Chemistry, stating among other things: This is a Golden Age of Measurement Science!

All the best wishes to all measurement scientists – both chemical and physical – everywhere in the world!

 

Huian_Liu_in_lab_with_GC_instrumentThe master theses of the EACH programme have usually high practical value. However, this does not prevent them to lead to cutting edge scientific results.

The master thesis of Huian Liu – EACH 2017 graduate from the Lyon study track – titled Gas separation by high pressure gas chromatography using monolithic columns is a good example. At its core the thesis was devoted to investigating the behavior of monolithic GC columns in separation of small hydrocarbons for achieving high efficiency and short analysis time – an important issue in oil refineries.

As an additional value, however, it involved experimenting with a novel detector – vacuum UV absorption detector (VUV detector). VUV detector is an emerging detector in GC, enabling simultaneous detection, identification and quantitation of analytes.

In chromatography there are detectors of two response types – concentration-sensitive and mass-sensitive detectors. The response type is important in planning separation, and especially in quantitation. As a result of Huian’s work it was firmly established that VUV detector is a concentration-sensitive, not mass-sensitive detector. This result was considered scientifically so significant that it was accepted for publication by the number one chromatography journal in the world – Journal of Chromatography A (!): Huian Liu, Guy Raffin, Guillaume Trutt, Jérôme Randon J. Chrom. A, 2017, 1530, 171–175. Congratulations to Huian and the team!

Huian is continuing his studies as a PhD student at UCBL.

 

(Photo: Huian Liu in lab with the GC instrument)

 

Monika_Sandy_Rudolf_MarkoThis June and September, the first intake of students graduated successfully from the EACH programme (a sister programme of AMS). See the graduation blogposts at Uppsala, Lyon and Åbo.

Just few months later, 14 out of our 17 fresh graduates have already obtained positions! Some work in the professional/industrial field, some in academic field. Their jobs range from research assistant at a university to project manager at an international corporation. Several have chosen to continue their studies as PhD students. The reflections of some of our graduates on the programme are here:

Marko_Jovanovic

 

Marko, working as project leader in the Industrial Development at Servier (France), writes:
I have spent amazing 2 years in EACH Programme, that represents a perfect balance between studying and travelling. Throughout this period, we had the opportunity to be educated by the experts in the field of Analytical Chemistry. The study track – Industrial Analysis held in France gave me an important insight into the field that I was not so familiar with before I had the opportunity to spend 6 months of the Programme among well-educated and highly-skilled professionals in the company Axel’One, where I was doing my internship. Since Axel’One is a collaborative research platform, I was engaged in several different projects with different companies. This enabled me not only to enrich my knowledge and skills in applied analytical chemistry, but also to significantly expand my professional network. In the end, I was offered a job in France, within a company Servier, as a Project Lead in the Industrial Development.

Monika

 

Monika, working as research assistant at the University of Exeter (United Kingdom), writes:
The Excellence in Analytical Chemistry program was an extremely valuable experience that increased rapidly the course of my career. Taught by highly competent and respected professors it gives the opportunity to gain all the necessary skills in modern analytical techniques. It has been a pleasant, exceptional experience and honor to be a part of EACH!

Monika is simultaneously pursuing doctoral study at Exeter.

 

Sandy

Sandy, now working in the laboratory of the Akademiska sjukhuset hospital in Uppsala, Sweden, writes:
EACH program was so fruitful. It provided me with the skills needed to kick off my career path by providing a wide range of courses delivered by passionate tutors who really care about your success. Moreover, EACH has wonderful activities like a winter school where you can get knowledge and unforgettable social activities. Thanks to everyone who contributes to the success of EACH!

Rudolf

 

 

Rudolf, now a doctoral student at the Örebro University (Sweden), focusing on analytical chemistry of environmental pollutants, adds:
EACH program exposed us to new (study) environments and without doubt provided an invaluable experience. This project offered me a chance to study a specific field in depth. The obtained skills were crucial for pursuing of third cycle studies. All in all, I got more out of the program than I expected in the beginning.

 

 

The success of our graduates is also the success of the EACH programme! This has also been recognised by the European Commission who has decided to extend the funding of Erasmus Mundus scholarships for the EACH programme.

 

Agnes Heering successfully defended her PhD thesis on experimental realization of the unified pH scale

On December 6, 2017 Agnes Heering, an AMS alumna, successfully defended her PhD thesis titled Experimental realization and applications of the unified acidity scale.

Her work literally redefines the way the pH of non-aqueous and mixed aqueous solution is understood and measured. The main focus of the experiments was on validating the measurement approach and measuring the unified pH values, i.e. pHabs values, of HPLC mobile phases (eluents). Her work introduces a conceptually new approach of measuring pH of mixed-solvent liquid chromatography (LC) mobile phases and has been published in the Analytical Chemistry journal: Unified pH Values of Liquid Chromatography Mobile Phases. Anal. Chem. 2015, 87, 2623–2630.

Mobile phase pH is very important in LC, but its correct measurement is not straightforward and all commonly used approaches have deficiencies. The new and fundamentally correct approach developed by Agnes enables direct comparison of acidities of solutions made in different solvents, based on chemical potential of the proton in the solutions.

The work by Agnes represents the first experimental realization of the pHabs concept using differential potentiometric measurement for comparison of the chemical potentials of the proton in different solutions (connected by a salt bridge), together with earlier published reference points for obtaining the pHabs values (referenced to the gas phase) or pHabsH2O values (referenced to the aqueous solution). The liquid junction potentials were estimated in the framework of Izutsu’s three-component method.
She determined the pHabs values for a number of common LC and LC-MS mobile phases and formed a self-consistent pHabs scale. This scale enables for the first time direct comparison of acidities of any LC mobile phases: with different organic additives, different buffer components etc. Agnes has developed a possible experimental protocol of putting this new approach into chromatographic practice and has tested its applicability. She has demonstrated that the ionization behavior of bases (cationic acids) in the mobile phases can be better predicted by using the pHabsH2O values and aqueous pKa values than by using the alternative means of expressing mobile phase acidity. Description of the ionization behavior of acids on the basis of pHabsH2O values is possible if the change of their pKa values with solvent composition change is taken into account.

The defence was successful in every respect. Agnes presented very well, answered questions confidently and convincingly demonstrated to everyone that she is really on top of this whole matter.

(Photo: Agnes Heering and prof. Peeter Burk, the chairman of the defence committee, during defence)

 

EACH_Erasmus_Mundus_JMDWe are glad to announce that the 2018 admission is officially open to the 4th intake of the Excellence in Analytical Chemistry (EACH) Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree programme!

EACH is a sister-programme of AMS. EACH is an international two-year joint master degree programme that educates specialists in analytical chemistry well qualified to work in industry (food, pharmaceutical, materials, energy, etc), chemical analysis laboratories (environment, food, health, etc) and research (developing new analysis devices or new analysis methods) worldwide. EACH provides knowledge and practical skills in both fundamental and applied aspects of modern analytical chemistry. Practical internship placement in industry or laboratories is an important part of the training.

The programme is suitable both for students who have finished their bachelor’s studies and want to continue in master’s studies, as well as for working analytical chemistry practitioners wishing to spend couple of years to bring their knowledge and skills to a new level.

The programme features generous scholarships as detailed in the Scholarships and tuition fees page.

The programme is taught by four universities: University of Tartu (UT, coordinator), Estonia; Uppsala University (UU), Sweden; University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (UCBL), France; and Åbo Akademi University (AAU), Finland. The language of instruction is English, but students will also learn to communicate in one of the languages of the countries involved.

The online application form, admission requirements, deadlines, list of necessary documents, instructions/explanations, as well as contact data for questions are available from the EACH Admission information page.

We wish you all the success in applying!

 

 

JMS_v52_i10_CoverThe Analytical chemistry group at UT recently received a very pleasant and well-deserved recognition: the paper MALDI‐FT‐ICR‐MS for Archaeological Lipid Residue Analysis J. Mass Spectrom. 2017, 52, 689-700 led by research fellow Dr Ester Oras was selected by the editorial board as the cover article for the Oct 2017 issue of the Journal of Mass Spectrometry!

Ester_OrasEster’s research demonstrates that tiny (and to a large extent degraded) food remains on ceramic potsherds, dating back many hundreds of years, can still tell interesting stories about the food practices of our ancestors. The key to these results is clever usage of high-resolution FT-MS with MALDI ion source.

The developed methodology is expected to lay foundation to further studies of ancient food practices in Europe.

 

(Photo on the left: cover of the Oct 2017 issue of the Journal of Mass Spectrometry; photo on the right: Ester Oras)

 

css.php