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Ryan Kelly

Principal Investigator

Ryan Kelly is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Brigham Young University and he holds a joint appointment at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). He received his Ph.D. in 2005 from BYU and then spent 13 years at PNNL, first as a postdoctoral researcher and most recently as a Technical Group Manager and the Chief Technologist for the William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) located at PNNL. 

A central theme of Dr. Kelly’s research has been the development of new technological solutions for improved biochemical analyses, including mass spectrometry (MS)-based omics. To this end, his team has developed ultrasensitive electrospray ionization sources based on chemical etching techniques that enable improved stability in the nano and picoflow regime, multiplexed electrospray sources to extend nanoelectrospray performance to higher flow separations, ion optics for increased ion transmission to the mass analyzer, and ultrasensitive biochemical separations based on liquid chromatography (LC) and capillary electrophoresis. He is a named inventor on 11 issued and pending patents, several of which have been licensed and commercialized. Dr. Kelly’s work has been recognized with two R&D 100 Awards, a Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer and the 2019 Georges Guiochon Faculty Fellowship Award from the HPLC conference.

Most recently, Dr. Kelly’s efforts have focused on overcoming the losses and inefficiencies associated with sample isolation and processing of biological samples for MS-based proteomic analyses. To this end, his team recently developed nanoPOTS (Nanodroplet Processing in One pot for Trace Samples), a microfluidic platform based on robotic nanopipetting and microfabricated well plates, which has reduced total processing volumes from ~tens of microliters to ~200 nL, greatly reducing sample losses to surfaces and enhancing reaction kinetics. When combined with ultrasensitive LC/MS, nanoPOTS has enabled identification of >1000 proteins from single mammalian cells. Current efforts include broadly disseminating the nanoPOTS technology, adapting the platform to additional sample types and workflows, increasing the sensitivity and throughput of single cell proteomics measurements, and applying the technology to a wide range of biological applications.