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Spring 2015

Inquiry Magazine Archive

  • Spring 2016

    Spring 2016: Premium Blend

    Found in everything from space shuttles to dental fillings, composite materials have thoroughly infiltrated modern society. But their potential is still greatly untapped, offering researchers ample opportunity for discovery.

  • Fall 2015

    Fall 2015: Collision Course

    Within the particle showers created at the Large Hadron Collider, answers to some of the universe’s mysteries are waiting.

  • Spring 2015

    Spring 2015: Almost Human

    Model systems like pigeons can help illuminate our own evolutionary and genomic history.

  • Fall 2014

    Fall 2014: Small Wonder

    UT Arlington's tiny windmills are bringing renewable energy to a whole new scale.

  • Winter 2014

    Winter 2014: Overdue for an Overhaul

    The stability of our highways, pipelines, and even manholes is reaching a breaking point.

  • 2012

    2012: Mystery solved?

    Scientists believe they have discovered a subatomic particle that is crucial to understanding the universe.

  • 2011

    2011: Boosting brain power

    UT Arlington researchers unlock clues to the human body’s most mysterious and complex organ.

  • 2010

    2010: Powered by genetics

    UT Arlington researchers probe the hidden world of microbes in search of renewable energy sources.

  • 2009

    2009: Winning the battle against pain

    Wounded soldiers are benefiting from Robert Gatchel’s program that combines physical rehabilitation with treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • 2009

    2007: Sensing a solution

    Tiny sensors implanted in the body show promise in combating acid reflux disease, pain and other health problems.

  • 2006

    2006:Semiconductors: The next generation

    Nanotechnology researchers pursue hybrid silicon chips with life-saving potential.

  • 2005

    2005: Imaging is everything

    Biomedical engineers combat diseases with procedures that are painless to patients.

ped police

Rule-Breakers Beware

New test for performance-enhancing drugs up to 1,000 times more sensitive than current methods 

Daniel Armstrong

Daniel W. Armstrong

Sports at their highest levels have been rocked in recent years by revelations of performance-enhancing drug use by top athletes. But catching potential rule-breakers may soon become easier, thanks to a new test developed by UT Arlington chemists.

Daniel W. Armstrong, the Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry, and Hongyue Guo, a graduate student in his lab, made headlines last year when they announced a test to detect evidence of performance-enhancing metabolites that is up to 1,000 times more sensitive than current methods.

The new strategy is a variation on a common testing technique called mass spectrometry, which the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency routinely use to ensure athletes are clean. Mass spectrometry separates compounds by mass, allowing scientists to determine the component parts of a mixture. However, since metabolites are small and have a negative charge, they may not produce a signal strong enough for the instrument to detect.

The method Dr. Armstrong’s lab has pioneered, paired ion electrospray ionization, helps boost that signal by gathering several of the performance-enhancing metabolites in the sample together, thus making them more obvious to the detector.

“How much of a drug someone took or how long ago they took it are beyond the analyst’s control,” Armstrong explains. “The only thing you can control is how sensitive your method is, and we may have developed one of the most sensitive in the world.”

More articles from this issue

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