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The Jackson Group
Department of Forensic and Investigative Science
Our long-term goal is to catalyze the progress of biomedical, analytical and forensic research through the development of mass spectrometric instruments and techniques . We currently have several major projects under way:  
  1. New ways of fragmenting gas-phase bio-ions in tandem mass spectrometers using kiloelectronvolt helium ions. We use the term charge transfer dissociation (CTD-MS) to describe the mechanism of activation. (example publication)
  2. New forensic applications of isotope ratio mass spectrometry, including hair, nails and blow flies. We use an LC-IRMS system to analyze the 13C abundances of the different amino acids  (example publication)
  3. Understanding the mass spectrometric fragmentation behavior of novel psychoactive substances (NPSs). (example publication)
  4. Development of new algorithms for mass spectral comparisons.
  5. Developing experimental and theoretical approaches to understand the evaporation of ignitable liquids at elevated temperatures (e.g. 200 °C). (example publication)
  6. Developing a new type of mass filter (Loeb-Eiber) for operation at relatively high pressures (~1 Torr). (example publication)

Click on the publications tab in the menu bar to see all our recent publications.

Latest News


GROUP HOSTS RESEARCHERS FROM PROF. MECHREF'S GROUP (JUL 2019)

Yifan and Wenjing visit to Jackson lab, July 2019
We welcomed Yifan Huang and Wenjing Peng from Dr. Mechref's group at Texas Tech. U. to conduct some on-line CTD experiments of different glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). The exchange of information between the two groups was very fruitful, and we look forward to conducting some follow-up experiments to demonstrate the value of CTD for the analysis of N-linked glycans. 

DR. JACKSON GIVES PLENARY LECTURE AT NIST'S RI2I WORKSHOP (JUN 2019)

Jackson NIST RI2I 2019 Dr. Jackson gave the opening address at NIST's Research Innovation to Implementation workshop. The workshop was held on June 19-20 to address the questions: What can the forensic science community do differently so that new technologies come online faster? and How can we reduce the obstacles to successful innovation? A webcast of the first day's presentations can be found on YouTube.

SAM MEHNERT WINS EASTERN ANALYTICAL SYMPOSIUM (EAS) STUDENT RESEARCH AWARD (MAY 2019)

Sam Mehnert Congratulations to Sam for her recept of the 2019 EAS Student Research Award. Sam will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the EAS conference in Princeton, NJ to present her research this fall. 

MAYARA MATOS GRADUATES WITH PHD (MAY 2019)

Congratulations to Dr. Matos for the receipt of her PhD. We wish you all the best for your postdoctoral position at the FDA. 
Mayara's graduation photo with group May 2019

SAM MEHNERT WINS ACS ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY AWARD (APR 2019)

Sam Mehnert Congratulations to Sam for her recept of the 2019 ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Award for an outstanding junior.  Sam will be recognized at the Annual Banquet of the Northern West Virginia Section of the American Chemical Society on Wednesday, May 1 at the Bridgeport Conference Center, where she will present an invited poster presentation, receive a certificate from the Section and a gift certificate to ThinkGeek.com.  Sam will be gaining some practical lab experience in the Drug Chemistry Section of the New Jersey State Police this summer during her required internship.


SAM MEHNERT WINS ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIP FROM CBD-IAI. (MAR 2019)

Sam Mehnert Congratulations to Sam for her recept of the 2019 George H. Robinson Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship recognizes undergraduate students in forensic science and criminal justice. Sam will receive an academic scholarship in the amount of $1000 and a certificate of recognition. Her award will be presented at the Spring Educational Conferences of the Chesapeake Bay Division of the International Association for Identification (CDB-IAI), which will be held in Morgantown on April 4-5, 2019. Sam recently presented her research on a new algorithm for drug identification using mass spectrometry at the at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) in Baltimore, MD in February. This story is also covered by WVU Today.

NEW REVIEW ARTICLE PUBLISHED (MAR 2019)

Congratulations to Mayara for her recent publication in Forensic Chemistry . Her review is titled "Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry in Forensic Science Applications" and contains exactly 300 citations. The article is available online and will appear in the next volume of Forensic Chemistry .
IRMS Review TOC Graphic

NEW LC-IRMS MANUSCRIPT PUBLISHED (OCT 2018)

Congratulations to Mayara for her recent publication ( PDF) in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry ( ABC). Her work, titled "Analysis of the 13C isotope ratios of amino acids in the larvae, pupae and adult stages of Calliphora vicina blow flies and their carrion food sources" is a collaboration with Dr. Rachel Mohr, a board certified entomologist and faculty member in Forensic and Investigative Science at WVU.

SPECTROSCOPY IN THE HOT SEAT (OCT 2018)

SciX 2018 t-shirt
This Analytical Scientist column offered readers an insider's view of what to look out for at SciX 2018 Conference in Atlanta, GA, Oct 21-26, 2018. As the co-chair for the mass spectrometry section, Dr. Jackson offered highlights of the five Mass Spectrometry sessions on offer at SciX. Dr. Jackson also serves as the Secretary of the FACSS Governing Board, which is responsible for organizing SciX conference each year. For the third year in a row, Dr. Jackson has also served as the FACSS photographer for SciX Conference. Video montages of the 2018 meeting can be found on the SciX 2018 GPJackson Youtube Channel. Videos of the separate days are here: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (Incl. Gala event), Thursday.

JACKSON GROUP RECEIVES TWO NEW NIJ GRANTS (SEPT 2018)

The Office of Justice programs just announced their 2018 grant recipients. In addition to several other successful grants by Profs. Trejos, Arroyo and Spier, the Jackson group will receive two new grants. One grant is titled "Structural Characterization of Emerging Synthetic Drugs", is in the amount of $368K, and is a collaboration with researchers at Auburn University. The second grant is titled "Investigating the Kinetic and Thermodynamic Approaches to Predict Evaporation of Gasoline at Elevated Temperatures for Fire Debris Applications" and is in the amount of amount of $467K. On the second grant, Jackson is a co-PI with Profs. Ruth Smith and Victoria McGuffin at Michigan State University . MDPV ESI-MS/MS spectrum

Dr. JACKSON RECEIVES BEST ORAL PRESENTATION AWARD AT ANZFSS MEETING (SEPT 2018)

At the 2018 meeting of the Australia New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) meeting in Perth, Western Australia, Dr. Jackson received a "Best Oral Presentation" award in the topic area of illicit drugs and clandestine laboratories. The presentation covered the group's recent work on the mass spectral identification of cathinones. The work has now been funded by NIJ (see above).

Forensic Chemistry Cover for Tyler Davidson's article TYLER'S MANUSCRIPT FEATURED ON THE FRONT COVER OF FORENSIC CHEMISTRY (AUG 2018)

Tyler's article titled "Comparison of Measured and Recommended Acceptance Criteria for the Analysis of Seized Drugs using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)" was featured on the cover of Volume 10 of Forensic Chemistry (Aug 2018).

DR. JACKSON INTERVIEWED IN THE ANALYTICAL SCIENTIST (JULY 2018)

As part of the "Sitting down with..." series, Dr. Jackson was interviewed about his early career interests in analytical and forensic chemistry and his role as Co Editor-in-Chief of Forensic Chemistry. Full story.

JACKSON GROUP RESEARCHERS COMPLETE THREE-WEEK COLLABORATION IN FRANCE (JULY 2018)

As part a NSF-funded grant, Mario, Zach and Dr. Jackson spent three weeks learning all about complex carbohydrate analysis from our collaborators, Dr. Helen Rogniaux and Dr. David Ropartz, at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in Nantes, France. We also successfully completed the installation of Charge Transfer Dissociation Mass Spectrometry (CTD-MS) on one of their instruments.
Glen, Helene, Zach, Mario and David at INRA, France, July 2018

THIRD PATENT ISSUED FOR JACKSON GROUP (JUN 2018)

Our patent for Charge Transfer Dissociation was granted on June 12, 2018. This project is now funded by NSF, and we have several collaborations underway to help implement CTD-MS in laboratories outside the Jackson group. If your laboratory is interested in implementing CTD-MS in your own laboratory, feel free to contact Dr. Jackson for a shopping list of parts (totalling <$20K USD) and schematics. If your company is interesting in licensing the patent, please contact Dr. Jackson.

JACKSON GROUP ATTENDS ASMS CONFERENCE IN SAN DIEGO, CA. (JUN 2018)

Congratulations to all the students who gave presentations at ASMS conference this year. Mayara Matos gave an excellent oral presentation on the analysis of 13C isotope ratios of amino acids in blow flies and their diets. Tyler Davidson, Halle Edwards, Mario Mendis and Zach Sasiene all gave poster presentations of their work. Dr. Jackson hosted the Ion Trap Workshop on Monday evening, and he spoke in the Forensics and Homeland Security Workshop on Tuesday evening. The whole group, including former members Dr. Feng Jin and Dr. Shannon Cook, was privileged to spend time and eat dinner with Emeritus Professor John F. J. Todd, who presented a memorable presentation titled "50 Years in Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry: A Personal Adventure" in the Ion Trap Workshop.
Group with John Todd at ASMS 2018

GROUP'S RESEARCH REPORT FEATURED ON NIJ'S WEBSITE (APRIL 2018)

NIJ kindly provided this summary description of our NIJ-funded project on "Biometrics from the Isotopic Analysis of Amino Acids in Human Hair" The grant (2013-DN-BX-K007) ran for three years, from 2014-2016. The complete final report is also provided on the NIJ website.

ISAAC WILLIS RECEIVES ACS ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY AWARD (APR 2018)


Congratulations to undergraduate researcher Isaac Willis for winning the American Chemical Society Analytical Chemistry Award. The award is presented to an outstanding junior chemistry major. The award consists of an award certificate and monthly updates from the journal Analytical Chemistry highlighting recent published research results/developments in analytical chemistry.

MAYARA MATOS PLACES SECOND IN THREE-MINUTE THESIS (3MT) COMPETITION. (APR 2018)

Congratulations Mayara for presenting your excellent research in a crowd-pleasing 3-minute presentation titled "Hair doesn't lie". In addition to placing second with the judges, Mayara won the crowd favorite prize. More details.
Hair doesn't lie slide

DR. JACKSON PROMOTED TO FELLOW OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF FORENSIC SCIENCES (FEB 2018)

The rank is one of the highest recognitions for researchers in the forensic sciences. It was announced at the 2018 AAFS Annual Scientific Meeting in Seattle in February. More details.

KORINA GRADUATES WITH MS DEGREE (Dec 2017)

Congratulations to Korina Menking-Hoggatt for successfully defending her MS thesis. Korina graduates in December and will be starting her PhD in FIS with Dr. Trejos in January 2018.

GROUP RECEIVES NSF GRANT FOR $450K (AUG 2017)

The Jackson group received an NSF grant in the amount of $450K to modify two mass spectrometers to enable them to analyze gas-phase ions using a novel technique called charge transfer dissociation-mass spectrometry (CTD-MS). The project includes a collaboration and student exchanges with a research team at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in Nantes, France. The tools being developed will help answer important questions about the structure and function of biological ions, especially oligosaccharides, such as the nature of enzymatic digestion of polysaccharides, the gelling properties of food-grade pectins and cell recognition pathways in living systems. The project is also providing a mechanism to educate elementary school students through organization of activity stations at local science fairs.

GROUP MEMBERS GRADUATING (MAY 2017)

Congratulations to J. Tyler Davidson and Ashley Cochran for passing their MS thesis defenses. They both excelled in the last few months and deserve a lot of credit for all the hours they’ve invested in their education. We wish you all the best in the “real world” (Ashley), and for another 3 years in the PhD program in FIS (Tyler). Thanks, also, to undergraduate researcher, Gabriel Walkup, who will be graduating with his BS in Chemistry this May. 
Ashley and Tyler Graduation May 2017
Congratulations, too, to Pengfei, who successfully defended his PhD in March and will graduate this May. Group Photo for Pengfei. March 2017

DR. JACKSON PROMOTED TO FELLOW OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF CHEMISTRY (MARCH 2017)

Dr. Jackson joined the RSC as an undergraduate student back in ~1995 and is honored to receive this most recent promotion.

Jackson Group News Archive