This summer, mass spectrometry expert Dr. Athula Attygalle of Stevens Institute of Technology was invited to lead a workshop at the prestigious Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology. Dr. Attygalle's intensive course, "Advanced Training in Mass Spectrometry," comprised lectures and demonstrations held in Jena, Germany from June 20-23, as part of the Max Planck Research School curriculum.
"The mass spectrometry techniques that Dr. Attygalle pioneers are key to obtaining new information about the fundamental components of our complex biological world and discovering medicines that exist in nature," says Dr. Michael Bruno, Dean of the Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering and Science. "It's both a personal and University honor to have him represent Stevens with the Max Planck Society."
As Director of the Center for Mass Spectrometry, one of the most well equipped academic lab facilities of its kind in the US, Dr. Attygalle is a sought-after expert for research collaborations and sample analysis. Dr. Attygalle uses his deep knowledge of mass spectrometry technique and application towards fundamental research in bioanalytical chemistry, microchemical techniques, chromatography, GC-infrared spectrometry, chemical communication and defense in arthropods, and "chemical prospecting" by pharmacological screening of tropical rain forest natural products. Although widely published in academic journals, Dr. Attygalle also provides up-to-date teaching and frontier level research programs to Stevens students through hands-on experience in his advanced facility.
"Dr. Attygalle's innovative facility attracts high-level research partners to Stevens, and also, equally important, provides our students with hands-on learning that they might not gain in other programs," says Dr. Philip Leopold, Director of the Department of Chemistry, Chemical Biology and Biomedical Engineering.
Dr. Attygalle contributed this cutting edge experience to the summer program, "Advance Mass Spectrometry in Chemical Ecology II," a course organized by Dr. Ales Svatos, head of the mass spectrometry group of the Institute for Chemical Ecology. This international graduate program trains in the use of molecular and chemical techniques to experimentally explore ecological interactions under natural conditions. Dr. Attygalle's mass spectrometry instruction was designed to prepare scientists at the Institute for study of the interactions between plants, animals, and their environments, as well as the behavioral consequences of these interactions.
The 2011 program marks the fifth time that a Max Planck research facility has invited Dr. Attygalle to conduct workshops in mass spectrometry. His long affiliation with German research institutes began in 1983, when he traveled to Germany as a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Early in his career, Professor Attygalle also worked for five years at Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg.
This workshop was part of the Max Planck Research Schools, which function as a critical educational component of the Max Planck Society, the internationally-recognized German research organization. The Society hosts a growing number of Max Planck Institutes conducting basic research in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. With a focus on fundamental research in fields demanding advanced technical capabilities, the Max Planck Institutes invite guest scholars like Dr. Attygalle to train their scientists in leading research systems.
For more information, visit the Department of Chemistry, Chemical Biology and Biomedical Engineering, the Center for Mass Spectrometry, or Undergraduate or Graduate Admissions.