Pharmaceutical Analysis Laboratory (PAL)
The College of Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Analysis Laboratory (PAL) serves as a central analytical hub for the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.  This newly renovated laboratory (2014),  situated in the Apotex building, is the only facility on the Bannatyne campus with analytical mass spectrometry capabilities. The PAL houses several HPLC systems, single and triple quadrupole mass spectrometers (LC-MS and LC-MS/MS), a quantitative PCR (qPCR) thermocycler, a fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC) system, a nano-drop UV-Vis spectrophotometer, and a clinical chemistry analyzer.

Several fruitful collaborations between researchers within the University of Manitoba, in Canada, and internationally involve the PAL, and encompass a diverse spectrum of research including the pharmaceutical (basic and clinical) and fundamental sciences.  Routine experimentation includes drug quantification and analysis, quantifying protein post-translational modifications, performing enzymatic mechanistic studies, identification of synthetic organic chemicals, as well as gene expression analysis, and protein expression and purification.

Researchers in the PAL have collaborated on projects involving drug analysis and quantification. Specific examples include the following -
• measuring post-operative cefazolin concentrations in obese women undergoing caesarean delivery, and in patients undergoing cardiac surgery using LC-MS/MS;
• method development to quantify anti-cancer drugs in plasma and urine that reflect the effectiveness of nanoparticle delivery systems in tumors;

Other research projects require quantification of endogenous chemicals and natural products    -
• measurement of adenosine, adrenaline, noradrenaline and dobutamine using LC-MS/MS contribute to the development of methods of cadaveric heart transplantation;
• in collaboration with Diagnostic Services of Manitoba, the PAL is quantifying sugars in blood with the hope that these studies will produce new rapid methods of diagnosis for Celiac, gastrointestinal disorders and gestational diabetes;
• quantification of potential biomarkers that may eventually be used to diagnose some types of brain cancer and monitor treatment;
• measurement of natural products and nutritional supplements including creatine, creatinine, curcumin, tetrahydrocurcumin, and other curcuminoids, glucosamine, hesperetin, resveratrol and cannabinoids;

Innovative discovery-driven research -
PAL researchers have developed innovative, advanced mass spectrometry techniques to study post-translational histone modifications in vitro, in vivo and in cells, and during treatment with drugs that inhibit epigenetic processes including HDAC inhibitors. Collaborative research in the PAL has resulted in the discovery of a potential novel post-translational modification associated with myelin basic protein which may play a role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis.

Routine laboratory functions -
The PAL equipment is also used for routine measurement of molecular weight for identification as part of organic synthesis, quantification of drugs and DNA using UV spectrometry, and the purification of novel synthetic organic and macromolecular compounds.

Dr. Lakowski is the director of the PAL and he has over a decade of experience in developing innovative mass spectrometry methods, enzymology, drug analysis, and protein expression and purification.