Dr. Robert S Houk

Professor, Department of Chemistry
Robert HOUK photo

Our research involves the fundamental study and applications of new ionization techniques for mass spectrometry (MS). The general objective is to devise new methodology for important analytical problems based on the sensitivity and selectivity of MS when combined with an appropriate ionization source. We were the first to extract ions from an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) for analysis and detection by MS. The ICP-MS approach is a considerable improvement on existing techniques for elemental and isotopic analysis of solutions. It is now being widely used in numerous scientific disciplines including biomedicine, geochemistry, mining, materials science, and the nuclear industry. 

Recent work has focused on development and application of atmospheric pressure matrix free laser desorption ionization for metabolite imaging in plants.  This experiment is amenable to real-time imaging in live plants.   Details are given in the links below.  

CMB Projects

Mass Spectrometric Imaging of Plant Metabolites

Integrated and Dynamic Multi-Spectroscopic in situ Imaging of Plant Metabolism at the Level of Subcellular Compartments

Area of Expertise: 
Mass Spectrometry
B.S., Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D., Iowa State University
B27 Spedding