Another Emerging Investigator Accolade for Alex Donald

Posted 4 April 2017

Dr Alex Donald has been recognised as an Emerging Investigator in the field of mass spectrometry research in this month’s issue of the Journal of the American Society of Mass Spectrometry – the official society journal, and the leading specialty journal in mass spectrometry research.

Donald’s research was also selected for the cover of the April issue, which features high quality and interdisciplinary research communications contributed by the 14 researchers identified in 2016 as rising stars in this field. This is the first year that an Australian-based researcher has been selected as an Emerging Investigator by the Journal of the American Society of Mass Spectrometry. The Focus section of this issue celebrates the influential contributions of Emerging Investigators from Australia, USA, Germany, and Korea – all of whom are just seven years or less into their independent research careers.

The research communication contributed by Donald describes a method to significantly improve the energy efficiency of active capillary dielectric barrier discharge ionization mass spectrometry – so efficient that the source can be powered by a 9-volt battery, or 100 times less energy required by comparable methods. This makes this method ideal for portable mass spectrometry applications. This ion source was used to detect chemical warfare agent simulants and persistent organic pollutants directly in air, with high sensitivity.

Donald and his PhD student, Morphy Dumlao, conducted this research, together with collaborators from the School of School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications at UNSW.

The core research interest in the Donald research group is developing and applying new methods, theory, and instrumentation, with a focus on mass spectrometry, to problems in chemistry and biochemistry.

This latest acknowledgment by the Journal of the American Society of Mass Spectrometry is another sign of Donald’s growing reputation as an influential analytical scientist. He has previously been identified as Emerging Investigator by two Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) journals – Analytical Methods (2015) and the Analyst (2016).