Dr. Krzysztof Goryński, an explorer of Orbitrap technology in clinical research analysis, is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacodynamics in Nicolaus Copernicus University, Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz. His research is focused on targeted analysis as well as metabolomics studies using Mass Spectrometer. Today we’re going to discuss about his experience with Orbitrap technology and the beginning of his scientific work.
Krzysztof, how did you get involved in science?
When I was a student I was fascinated with “world of science,” therefore I spent my free time in the Student Scientific Society at Collegium Medicum Nicolaus Copernicus University (Bydgoszcz, Poland) where I expanded my knowledge and improved skills through participation in special scientific circles located at different clinics and departments. I was involved in several research projects mainly related to the analytical chemistry field. Department of Biopharmacy, where I was working on some projects, was one of the few places which allowed me to understand mass spectrometry. Hence my attention was focused on the knowledge of how this instrument works and how to use it properly. My supervisor observed my enthusiasm in this area and a few months later he offered me a student trainee scholarship. After one year I was employed as a technical specialist and afterwards as a research assistant. My scientific achievements were noticed by one of the most recognized professors in the field of pharmacy in Poland. Professor Roman Kaliszan advised me to find a fellowship in an international top-level group where I could learn more about good practice in the laboratory as well as develop my interests. I then found myself at the University of Waterloo in Canada, in the group of Professor Janusz Pawliszyn.
What type of work are you involved in?
When I was working in the department of biopharmacy I was interested in the biotransformation pathways of drugs in human body. Therefore I was involved in pharmacokinetic studies. At Waterloo, I started discovering the SPME (Solid Phase Microextraction) technique. I then decided to deepen my knowledge in this area and looked at various applications of this method. I decided to combine my interests associated with the pharmacokinetics of drugs and newly discovered SPME method. Additionally, I participated in many projects including clinical studies in collaboration with Toronto General Hospital, as well as in the project sponsored by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Presently, I focus on various pre-clinical and clinical projects including therapeutic drug monitoring, pharmacokinetic studies and the evaluation of global metabolome profile changes as a response to medical procedures and pharmacotherapy. Most of the samples in our lab are analyzed using Thermo ScientificTM Q ExactiveTM Focus OrbitrapTM technology.
Why did you decide to evaluate LC-Orbitrap Technology?
From 2011 to 2012, I received training as a visiting scientist in Prof. Janusz Pawliszyn’s laboratory at the University of Waterloo (UW). This visit gave me the opportunity to work on the application of the solid-phase microextraction (SPME) method to clinical analysis in collaboration with Toronto General Hospital. I also had a chance to actively participate in the project entitled “Evaluation of Solid Phase Microextraction for improved Multi-Residue Extraction and Analysis of Prohibited Substances by LC-MS/MS,” which was supported by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA). As you know, metabolomics and doping control studies are very often performed on HRMS instruments. Due to the access to LC-Orbitrap technology in the group I was visiting that time, metabolomics, clinical and doping projects were performed mainly on the Thermo ScientificTM ExactiveTM mass spectometer. It was my first contact with Thermo Fisher Scientific products and I loved working in the lab because of the pleasant environment. Also, accessibility to the top-notch instruments and consequently the potential the instruments offered. After my return from the second visit at UW to my University in Bydgoszcz, I started working with Dr. Barbara Bojko, the head of the Department of Pharmacodynamics and Molecular Pharmacology, who also spent several years as Research Associate in Prof. Pawliszyn’s group. Here in Poland we have started clinical projects in collaboration with hospitals in Bydgoszcz. Once again, Orbitrap technology turned out to be invaluable in metabolomics as well as targeted analysis due to its high resolution and accurate mass, and the flexibility of so many different types of experiments we can perform — like SIM, PRM, confirmation, and multiplexing, just to mention a few.
Like what you are learning?
I have to ask, is the Orbitrap is living up to your expectation?
The Thermo ScientificTM Q ExactiveTM Focus continuously reveals its great features and surprises us positively every day. Sensitive detection and identiﬁcation of components of complex matrices is crucial for the characterization and understanding of metabolome dynamics. The technological advancements of the Q Exactive Focus MS, including quite fast acquisition, improved precursor ion isolation and sensitivity. Those attributes have resulted in substantial improvements in practical performance for the identiﬁcation with quantitative information looking for metabolites when compared to existing state-of-the-art technologies. Additionally, from an analytical performance perspective, high resolution with perfect accuracy is available for every user of Q Exactive Focus by a simple calibration of the instrument, which substantially facilitates daily work. In addition, highly intuitive software makes it easy to operate the mass spectrometer, even by the young scientists who have just started working in our laboratory. Based on the experiments performed so far, that Q Exactive Focus definitely meets and exceeds our expectations.
What do you think the future holds?
I think that Orbitrap technology will continue its popularity all over the world because of its quantitative and qualitative analytical capabilities on a single platform and even in a single run. Every day I am finding more and more reports from recognized or accredited laboratories with confirmation about new potentials of Orbitrap mass spectrometers. This confirms that the popularity of the technology is not overrated and many institutions, including accredited laboratories, Universities, certified doping control labs, have trusted Orbitrap technology. From my work experience with the Q Exactive Focus, I cannot imagine a laboratory without access to Orbitrap technology.
You seem to be having fun with the Orbitrap, how do you relax away from work?
I wouldn’t like to say that I am workaholic, I simply love my work, especially in the laboratory. I am a busy bee. Nevertheless, I am trying to keep a work-life balance. I spend my free time on do-it-yourself activities. I really like to discover the secrets of my car and repairing different parts without the help from car shop. It gives me great satisfaction. Similar to my work where I can troubleshoot an instrument without any assistance! Also, exercise is really important to me. When I’m feeling tense or stressed, I go to the nearby forest to bike with my wife.
But my greatest hobby is hiking. I know almost all trails in the Polish and Slovakian Tatra Mountains. Hiking allows me to explore nature and it takes me away from everyday stress.
Krzysztof, thank you for such insightful interview and I hope that your new Q Exactive Focus mass spectrometer continues to positively surprise you in your future scientific endeavors. And I wish you many successful bike rides with your wife.