Thursday, 14 June 2007

Fifth IRMS System Commissioned

In order to keep up with the demand for analyses our IRMS system count rose to 5 last month. The new system was obtained from SerCon Limited and complements the other 4 systems.

Back in 2000 our first instrument had to be used to analyse all of the stable isotopes in lots of different sample types. Over time we have developed the analytical facility so that instruments are dedicated to particular isotopes and types of sample. This has enabled us to cope with 15,000+ samples we receive each year so that they are turned around in good time. Our facility is now made up of:

System 1 : Deuterium and oxygen-18 in water (equilibration) and solids (high temperature conversion)

System 2: Carbon-13 and nitrogen-15 in solids (EA-IRMS)

System 3: Carbon-13 in gases, carbonate isotopes and overflow for system 2

System 4: Sulphur-34 in solids (EA-IRMS)

System 5: Overflow for systems 2 and 4.

Meet the Support Staff

Margaret Anderson (left) - Technician

Anne Bruce (middle) - Technician

Tina Ringrose (right) - Administration

Tina, Anne and Margaret are three of the key elements in getting your samples analysed. Many will know Tina through e-mail and phone contact as one of her roles is to log in your samples when they arrive at the lab.

Anne and Margaret are the ones that supply the care and attention that is required to prepare your samples for analysis on the instruments.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Profile of Ian Begley

Ian Begley BSc (Hon) PhD – R&D Manager

Born: 1968
Nationality: British

He has been active in the development of methods for isotope analysis by mass spectrometry since 1991. Prior to co-founding Iso-Analytical Limited he held the position of Research Scientist with isotope ratio mass spectrometer manufacturer, PDZ Europa Ltd, with responsibility for application, method and instrument development. He is well known to the isotope community having made presentations at many scientific conferences and had seven scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals.

He trained as an Analytical Chemist, being awarded a BSc with first class honours in Chemistry with Information Technology and Instrumentation from Glasgow Caledonian University in 1991. After that he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from Loughborough University in 1996, for a thesis on "The application of inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to isotope ratio measurement."

He was employed as Research Chemist in the Stable Isotope and Mass Spectrometry group at the Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI), 1994-1998. Contributing to making SCRI a centre of excellence for use of stable isotopes in agriculture by development of automated methods for isotope analysis of hydrogen and oxygen. Previously he worked as a Chemist with Smithkline-Beecham, and the Ministry of Defence, and as a consultant to British Gas, and mass spectrometer manufacturers, VG Elemental.

Main responsibilities in Iso-Analytical: Analysis, technical development.

Profile of Charles Belanger

Charles Belanger BSc – Director and Laboratory Manager

Born: 1968
Nationality: American

Prior to co-founding Iso-Analytical Limited he was manager of the Analytical Service laboratory of PDZ Europa Ltd (previously Europa Scientific) since 1998. He was first employed by Europa Scientific in 1993 as Development Engineer within their environmental science unit, being promoted to the position of Applications Scientist in 1996. He was awarded a BSc in Engineering from Michigan State University in 1993.

Charles not only manages the day to day analysis of circa 15,000 samples that pass through the laboratory each year but keeps the instruments fully maintained. This is a key reason why we can supply our good turnaround to ensure that researchers get their data in good time. IRMS systems are notoriously prone to minor breakdowns and therefore it is necessary that we can maintain and service them ourselves to avoid the delays that would result from waiting for Manufacturer's service engineers to attend to a breakdown.

Main responsibilities in Iso-Analytical: Analysis, laboratory regulation and quality control, instrument maintenance, information technology and supervision of support staff.

Profile of Steve Brookes

Steve Brookes, BSc (Hon), PhD – Managing Director

Born: 1962
Nationality: British

Commenced employment with the scientific instrument manufacturer Europa Scientific in 1988, direct from PhD studies, at Manchester Polytechnic.

Initially appointed as Applications Biochemist, with the brief to develop the human metabolic market for isotope analysis. This involved experimental work, instrument demonstrations, installations at customer sites and the preparation and presentation of scientific material. His major achievement came with identification of the need for a carbon-13 breath test system, followed by involvement in its development and commercial introduction.

He went on to establish and manage a metabolic research unit, when the company decided to service the market by creating applications based sectors. This involved management of sales, marketing, R&D, production, budget control and service for this sector. He was later promoted to Sales and Marketing director for the companies research products in 1997 (£2.6M turnover). Duties involved managing the sales team, marketing activities, customer service and applications development. At its height, this involved management of 11 people. Europa Scientific was forced into receivership in late 1998. After being bought out of receivership, and becoming PDZ Europa Ltd, he was retained as Sales & Marketing manager to achieve sales of £1.5M, despite tbeir loss in market credibility and budgetary constraints.

During his time at Europa Scientific he made a large number of contacts with key people in the stable isotope community and contributed to that community by setting up many industry-academia collaborations.

When the time was right to move away from the scientific instrument supply industry in the year 2000, he co-founded Iso-Analytical Limited with Charles Belanger and Ian Begley. Their aim was to apply their 'Expertise In Stable Isotope Analysis' by setting up a contract analysis laboratory that could be used by Academia and Industry alike.

Main responsibilities in Iso-Analytical: Sales, business planning and administration, advertising and sample analysis.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Simsug 2007

Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometry User Group (SIMSUG) 2007

The annual meeting of the Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometry User Group
20-22 June 2007

Hosted by the Institute for Research on Environment and Sustainability & the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University

SIMSUG Website link

We at Iso-Analytical are particularly pleased that after a short break, the annual SIMSUG meeting is back on the agenda and is being hosted by Newcastle University next week. It is an ideal opportunity for some of us to get out of the laboratory for a couple of days and meet our customers.

In attendance next week will be Iso-Analytical co-founder Charles Belanger, analyst Tanith Allwood and soon to be our newest analyst Gillian Taylor.

As always, we are very pleased to be a sponsor of this event which provides both a formal program of presentations about research with stable isotopes and an informal forum for the exchange of ideas.

Please come and say hello to us.

Welcome to the Iso-Analytical Blog

We have set up the Iso-Analytical blog to keep users of stable isotopes up to date with what is going on in our laboratory. Whether you are an existing client of Iso-Analytical or are would like to enquire about using our services, you will be able to find information here about:

  • New services and analytical methods
  • The people at Iso-Analytical
  • The instrumentation we have at our disposal
  • What our customers are using stable isotopes for
  • Help and advise on preparing and sending your samples
  • Special offers and research awards
  • News of isotope analysis related events e.g. conferences

While these pages will initially only provide a point of information, we hope in time to make the blog interactive so that you can post questions to us.

In the mean time, I hope you enjoy the new medium and find it useful and I welcome any feedback you can give me by e-mailing at the address shown in the blog header.

For and on behalf of Iso-Analytical Ltd

Steve Brookes