EACH_Master_Thesis_Defence_at_Uppsala_2017On June 26, 2017 the first master thesis defence in the history of the EACH programme took place at Uppsala University! Monika Kish, Cenyi Li, Nikola Radoman, Rabin Neupane, Ru Fang, Sandy Abujrais and Santosh Acharya successfully defended their master’s theses.

Congratulations to all of you!

The topics of the theses embraced a wide area of modern biomed- and environmental analytical problems (LC-MS analysis of aggregates of antibody drug conjugates, quantification of peptide drugs, analysis of dissolved organic matter in natural waters, etc). All of them featured the use of highly sophisticated analytical instrumentation, such as high-resolution MS, liquid-handling robots, etc. This choice of topics is rooted in the world-famous biomedical analysis research direction at Uppsala University led by prof. Jonas Bergquist.

(On photo from the left: Jonas, Sandy, Monika, Ivo, Santosh, Ru, Nikola, Cenyi, Rabin)

 

Leito_LCMS_Validation_EuroMS_2017On 21.06.17 Ivo Leito gave a talk titled Review on validation of liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry methods at the Euro Mass Spectrometry 2017 meeting (London, UK). The talk focused on the two-part Tutorial review on validation of liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) methods

as well as on the related on-line course (MOOC) LC-MS Method Validation and the ValChrom validation software.

The reception of this talk was one of the warmest during the meeting! Several participants came later to say words of thank for offering such a valuable resource to the LC-MS community. There were also some interesting ideas proposed regarding topics that could be covered in the online course. LC-MS and MiC issues, such as validation, are among core competences of the UT Analytical Chemistry research group. The tutorial review, the on-line course, as well as the ValChrom software together form a nice outcome of joining these competences together.

Concerning the topics of the meeting in general, they were remarkably diverse and not so heavily dominated by biomedical MS as is often the case at mass spectrometry meetings. Interesting presentations were given on gas-phase ion processes, different laser techniques in MS (e.g. for analysis of solids without sample preparation), advanced catalysis studies by MS, LC-ICP-DRC-MS for trace element speciation, the possibility of making a high-end LC-HRMS system an “open access” system within an organization, etc.

 

Irja_Helm_Conducting_Dissolved_Oxygen_Measurement_Training_in_UruguayDuring Jun 12-16, 2017 research fellow Irja Helm from University of Tartu, Institute of Chemistry is conducting a training session on high-accuracy dissolved oxygen measurement in Montevideo (Uruguay). The local organiser of the training is LATU (Laboratorio Tecnológico del Uruguay). There are 8 participants in the training, from Uruguay, Argentina, Ecuador and Peru.

The training is centered around the high-accuracy Winkler titration method of dissolved oxygen concentration measurement that Irja developed during her PhD study: I. Helm, L. Jalukse, I. Leito “A highly accurate method for determination of dissolved oxygen: Gravimetric Winkler method” Analytica Chimica Acta 2012, 741, 21–31. The training is interesting in the sense that most of it is carried out in laboratory, where participants do measurements hands-on. The experimental setup was assembled jointly by LATU and by Irja. The practical orientation is well in line with the main purpose of the training – to introduce the high-accuracy Winkler method to the reference laboratories in the participant countries.

The training is organised in the framework of the project „Regional Quality Infrastructure Fund for Biodiversity and Climate Protection in Latin America and the Caribbean“ (VH-No.: 95094) coordinated by PTB (Germany).

(Photo: Irja Helm, on the left, together with training participants in laboratory)

 

University of TartuIn a recent ranking of world universities by QS, one of the world’s leading compilers of university performance ratings, the University of Tartu scored a high 314. place (up by 33 places from the last year) and maintains the highest rank among Estonian and Baltic universities.

Out of the criteria used by QS the improvement was especially strong in the category “Employer reputation”: up by 90 places from the last year. The criteria “Faculty student ratio”, “Number of international students” and “Research” also improved. Considering that there are around 26 000 universities in the world, this result places UT within the best 1.2% universities in the world!

 

Measurement_Uncertainty_MOOC_Successfully_FinishedOn May 18, 2017 the MOOC Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis offered by University of Tartu finished successfully.
Eventually altogether 363 people registered (270 in 2014, 489 in 2015, 757 in 2016) from 69 countries (a number of participants joined after the start of the course). The significantly lower number of participants is understandably due to the fact that this year for the first time the certificate on paper was not free of charge. 219 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 148 successfully completed the course (141 in 2014, 169 in 2015, 308 in 2016). The overall completion rate was 41% (52% in 2014, 34% in 2015, 40% in 2016). The completion rate of participants who started the studies was 68% (67% in 2014, 60% in 2015, 67% in 2016). The completion rates of participants who actually started the course are nicely consistent over the 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. These 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 reached beyond 300 (!) (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 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 2018.

 

EACH_AMS_Master_Seminar_Spring_2017Today on Sat 20.05.17 the concluding event of the joint master seminar of the EACH and AMS programmes took place. Its main activities were the feedback session on employability from Prof. Salzer (TU Dresden) and concluding the Group work of helping a water production company to choose, which analytical technique to implement in their lab for analysis of trace elements in drinking water according to the EC directive 98/83/EC Quality of Water Intended for Human Consumption.

Prof. Salzer gave feedback on the CVs and motivation letters that the students wrote according to the guidance given by him earlier this week. He praised the group and gave, on the example of CVs and motivation letters of students, a number of good hints for improvements.

The above mentioned group work has been going on since the beginning of the semester and its essence is that students are divided into groups and each group is a small consultation company that intends to guide a water production plant, as to which trace element technique to implement in their lab, taking into account the amount of water produced, the corresponding required number of samples per year according to 98/83/EC, the cost of the equipment, the running costs, etc. The groups had to justify their recommendations. The groups did well and came up with different suggestions: GFAAS (together with CVAAS), ICP-OES (together with voltammetry) and ICP-MS.

Both of these activities are expected also for future seminars of these prorammes.

 

Pilleriin Peets presenting at Technart 2017

Pilleriin Peets presenting at Technart 2017

On May 02, 2017, the first day of the Technart 2017 conference (Bilbao, Spain) doctoral student Pilleriin Peets from UT Analytical Chemistry group made a presentation Identification and classification of textile fibres using ATR‐FT‐IR spectroscopy with chemometric methods (Photo on the left).

The presentation outlines the recent results by Pilleriin in creating the method for quick, easy and non-destructive classification and semi-quantitative analysis of textiles using ATR-FT-IR spectroscopy combined with chemometric data analysis methods.

She investigated altogether 89 individual textile materials – Wool, Silk, Cotton, Linen, Cellulose acetate, Lyocell/Tenzel, Viscose, Polyester fibre, Polyamide fibre, Polyacrylic fibre, Elastane and their different combinations – and created a discrimination/classification model using principal component analysis (Image on the right).

Classification of textiles by ATR-FT-IR and principal component analysis, PCA (single-fibre model)

Classification of textiles by ATR-FT-IR and principal component analysis, PCA (single-fibre model)

As a side-product of this work, a collection of ATR-FT-IR spectra of textile materials containing one or two different fibres was composed and is deposited in the Supplementary data of the paper that she recently published: P. Peets et al. Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy 2017, 173, 175–181.

This collection of ATR-FT-IR spectra helps to identify different kind of single- and two-component mixed textiles.

Technart conference series is a premier scientific forum dedicated to applying analytical techniques in the field of art and cultural heritage.

 

 

Awards2017-Website&Facebook-share-1200x630On the 5th of April 2017 the European Commission and Europa Nostra announced the winners of the 2017 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, Europe’s top honour in the heritage field.

Among the 29 laureates (from 18 countries) is also the Rode Altarpiece Research and Conservation Project (research category) of the high altar of St. Nicholas’ Church in Tallinn.

The project was coordinated by Dr. Hilkka Hiiop from the Art Museum of Estonia. This project also involves several scientists from the chair of analytical chemistry at the University of Tartu, among them Dr. Signe Vahur and her student Krete Saak, and Dr. Riin Rebane, who carried out a thorough material analysis.

The Award Ceremony will be held in Turku, Finland on the 15th of May 2017. During the ceremony, in addition to seven Grand Prix laureates also the Public Choice Award winner will be announced. Everyone has a chance to vote for 3 of their favourite projects, and thereby enter a draw to win a trip for two to Turku and take part in the European Heritage Awards Ceremony on 15th of May. The deadline for casting your votes is the 3rd of May, 2017.

Further information on the project can be found on the web page: Rode Altarpiece in Close-up.

 

CreativeEuropeLogo Europa NostraLogo

UT_Measurement_Uncertainty_MOOC_Participants_2017On Monday, March 27, 2017 the web course “Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis” was launched the third time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course).

Currently 336 participants from 62 countries are registered. The somewhat decreased popularity of the course is most probably due to the fact that starting from this year certificate of completion on paper is not free of charge (digital certificate is still free). Given this change, we are actually surprised that we still have so many participants! Image on the left shows the countries where the participants come from. As in the previous years, the majority of participants are from analytical laboratories, once again demonstrating the continuing need for training in measurement uncertainty estimation in analytical chemistry.

The full course material is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. Some developments and improvements have been made to the course material, in particular, better description of course organisatsion a self-test on sophisticated uncertainty estimation taking numerically into account the limited selectivity of the technique (potentiometry with ion-selective electrode). 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 take six graded tests and get higher than 50% score. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.

 

Measurement_Uncertainty_Value_Error_EtcThe online course Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis will start its 4th edition on Monday, Mar 27, 2017. 300 participants have already been registered from 58 countries. Registration is still open and all people interested to learn this important topic are welcome to participate!

The registration link is available from the course website: https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty