Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme


Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Chemistry and Physics

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Professor Stephen Blanksby
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Infrastructure)/Principal Research Fellow (Mass Spectrometry)
Division / Faculty
Division of Research and Innovation
Dr Berwyck Poad
Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) is a rapidly emerging technology for mapping molecular distributions within biological samples.

This project will bring together market-leading MSI instrumentation from an industry partner, Waters Corporation, with unique technologies developed at QUT to develop an integrated MSI-platform capable of achieving high mass-resolution and spatial-resolution, as well as discrimination of lipid isomers.

Resolution of lipid isomers using this instrumentation will afford researchers a first glimpse of isomer-resolved images that will be used to visualise tissue-specific changes resulting from underlying chemical, physical or metabolic processes. These changes are currently invisible to contemporary imaging technologies.

Research activities

This project is aligned with a currently funded ARC Linkage Project.

Your research activities will involve, in close consultation with the supervisors, development and application of advanced mass spectrometry imaging techniques to acquire data from tissue samples.

This data will then be interrogated using both existing workflows and workflows that will be developed over the course of this study.


Expected outcomes from this project include developing:

  • fundamental new insights into the distinct structure-function relationships of closely-related lipid isomers
  • new capabilities to visualise differences in enzyme expression and activity across a tissue through the relative distributions of specific lipid substrates and products
  • strong international collaboration networks between academic and industry-based researchers in advanced MSI technology
  • a deployable “OzID module” that can be made available to users of MSI platforms anywhere in the world.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisors for more information.