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March 30, 2011

Camosun’s Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology (ACBT) students received a “massive” gift from MB Laboratories earlier this month. The Sidney-based private testing laboratory generously donated a used gas chromatograph mass spectrometer to the program, valued at close to $20,000.

Blair Surridge from Applied Chemistry & Biotechnology with the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer.

Blair Surridge from Applied Chemistry & Biotechnology with the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer.

"A mass spectrometer is a sophisticated piece of equipment used for the analysis of organic substances,"explains ACBT Instructor Blair Surridge."It's applied in many areas of science including environmental pollutants monitoring, food safety analysis, pharmaceutical and toxicology analysis."

Long-standing relationship with MB Laboratories

"We're really grateful to MB Laboratories for this technology," adds Surridge. "Our ACBT program has been around for 27 years and we have had a long-standing working relationship with them. They provide our students with internships and we meet with them regularly during site visits throughout the year. MB Laboratories recently decided to expand their laboratories and move some of their equipment around. It was great timing for us!"

Learning the fundamentals of organic testing

Camosun students taking second-year chemistry courses will get to train on the mass spectrometer, including students in physics, biology, Environmental Technology, and pre-med programs.

"This instrumentation will help teach students the fundamentals of mass spectrometry and its applications in sample analysis," says Surridge. "The auto-sampler component of this instrument adds flexibility for use in teaching labs and will expose students to lab automation."

Expanding and building toward applied research

The donation is all part of a bigger plan to expand and better equip Camosun's chemistry labs for students as well as build the college's capacity as a centre for applied research, innovation and technology access.

"We've recently applied to NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) for Applied Research Tools and Instrument funding and MB Laboratories has been instrumental in supporting our efforts," adds Surridge. "If successful, we plan to purchase brand new qPCR and gas chromatography mass spectrometry equipment allowing for automated and rapid analysis of volatile organic contaminants as well as water-borne pathogens."

"Not only will our students then be training on more advanced lab equipment, Camosun will also be in a position to work closely with industry partners to help support their research and development needs. We can offer them our expertise as well as access to this advanced equipment to help support innovation in our community."

Camosun’s two-year Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology (ACBT) program prepares students for careers and further education in environmental analytical chemistry, cancer research, drug development, forestry, oceanography, agriculture, forensics toxicology and much more.  The program also offers an optional laboratory internship.

Last updated: April 1, 2011 10:18 am

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