Welcome to the Badu Lab!

The Badu Research Group is focused on the development of new mass spectrometry (MS) tools for use by MS non-experts. We welcome undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows who are interested in this field, and may want to be part of this effort to contact the PI. See recent news.

Research Summary:

Recent innovation in mass spectrometry (MS) is the ability to generate intact molecular ions, focus and use them as ordinary reagents for organic reactions at ambient surface, outside the mass spectrometer. Most projects in the Badu lab build on this innovation, but instead of simple organic compounds, we focus on drugs and biomolecules of specific biological importance.

For example, selected proteins and antibodies can be aerosolized, and the resulting molecular cations/anions are directed onto a surface (paper, glass, tissue sections, etc.) for specific molecular recognition. Such experiments are expected to allow rapid and sensitive detection of drugs, tumor markers and antigens of infectious diseases. We are designing novel molecular probes for ambient MS analysis and imaging of proteins, antibodies, antigens, nucleic acids, and other disease biomarkers. The probes are rationally designed to facilitate (1) point-of-care and direct-to-customer applications with handheld mass spectrometers, and (2) a novel on-demand disease diagnostic concept that permits onsite friendly sample collection followed by analysis at a later time without affecting diagnostic outcome. Major efforts in our lab are also dedicated to the introduction of charged aerosols for treating respiratory diseases. This research has potential to advance our current understanding in aerosol therapy, and may yield new focus for general drug synthesis in which molecular ions, instead of their neutral counterparts, are used in medicine.

Additional projects in the Badu lab include: (1) droplet chemistry and accelerated chemical synthesis – a new contained-electrospray apparatus is developed that allow ion generation and reaction in a single step. This new process of sample ionization enables removal of ion suppression effects in electrospray ionization, yielding ion intensities that reflect analyte concentration in solution; (2) fundamental ion chemistry at atmospheric pressure – a new picomole scale, real time photoreaction screening platform is developed that enable rapid photoreaction monitoring using mass spectrometry; and (3) development of new ambient ionization techniques – several novel  ionization methods have been developed with special emphasis on direct analysis of miniscule volumes of biological samples from ambient surfaces. Current applications include therapeutic drug monitoring, and pharmacokinetic analysis of  chemotherapeutic drugs (e.g., paclitaxel and lenalidomide). 

These three experiments form the backbone of the Badu lab and all students become equipped with modern MS techniques, including the newly emerging field of gas-phase ionic chemistry outside the mass spectrometer, and its application in immunoassay, bio-conjugation, peptide/protein cross-linking, etc. 

Selected Publications (click here for complete publication list):

Contained-ES_first paper

1. Reactive charged droplets for reduction of matrix effects in electrospray ionization mass spectrometry Dmytro S. Kulyk, Colbert F. Miller, and Abraham K. Badu-Tawiah* Anal. Chem. 2015, 87(21), 10988–10994

He Qing_use

2. He, Q.; Badu-Tawiah, AK*.; Chen, S.; Xiong, C.; Liu, H.; Zhou, Y.; Hou, J.; Zhang, N.; Li, Y.; Xie, X.; Wang, J.; Mao, L.; Nie, Z.* In-situ Bio-conjugation and Ambient Surface Modification using Reactive Charged Droplets Anal. Chem. 2015, accepted

Suming Chen-new-2

3. Chen, S.; Xiong, C.; Liu, H.; Wan, Q.; Hou, J.; Wang, J.; He, Q.; Badu-Tawiah, A.; Nie, Z.* Mass Spectrometry Imaging Reveals the Sub-organ Distribution of Carbon Nanomaterials Nature Nanotechnology, 2015, 10, 176-182


4. Badu-Tawiah,# K.; Lathwal,# S.; Kaastrup, K.; Al-Sayah, M.; Christodouleas, D.C.; Smith, B.S.; Whitesides, M.G.*; Sikes, D.H.* Polymerization-based signal amplification for paper-based immunoassays Lab Chip, 2015, 15, 655-659. #co-first authors


5. Jjunju, F.P.M.; Maher, S.; Li, A.; Badu-Tawiah, K.; Taylor*, S.; Cooks, R.G.* Analysis of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Using Desorption Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionization Coupled to a Portable Mass Spectrometer  J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 2015, 26, 271-280

6. AK Badu-Tawiah, LS Eberlin, Z Ouyang, RG Cooks Chemical aspects of the extractive methods of ambient ionization mass spectrometry Annu. Rev. Phys. Chem. 2013, 64, 481-505. 

7. AK Badu-Tawiah, A Li, FPM Jjjunju, RG Cooks Peptide Cross‐Linking at Ambient Surfaces by Reactions of Nanosprayed Molecular Cations Angew. Chem. 2012,124 (37), 9551-9555.


8. T Müller, AK Badu‐Tawiah, RG Cooks Accelerated Carbon-Carbon Bond‐Forming Reactions in Preparative Electrospray Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 201251(47), 11832-11835.

9. AK Badu-Tawiah, DI Campbell, RG Cooks Reactions of microsolvated organic compounds at ambient surfaces: Droplet velocity, charge state, and solvent effects  J. Am. Soc. Mass Spect201223(6), 1077-1084


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The Badu Research Group © 2014
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The Ohio State University
100 W. 18th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210