MALDI Investigation into Doping Virtual Lab

Collaborate with an anti-doping agent at a bicycle race. Test athletes’ urine for a doping substance using mass spectrometry. Can you find out which athlete has been cheating?

  • High School
  • University / College
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About This Simulation

This shorter, targeted simulation is adapted from the full-length “Protein Synthesis” simulation.

Investigate doping in bicycle athletes using MALDI. In this simulation, you will collaborate with the doping agent who collects urine samples in a large bicycle race. You will learn how to test urine samples using the mass spectrometry technique MALDI. After preparing and submitting your samples, you will interpret the mass spectrometry histograms. Can you determine if an athlete has been cheating?

Introduction to the doping substance

Start your mission with a 3D animation explaining the purpose of kidneys and the effects of chronic kidney disease on the body. Learn how erythropoietin (EPO) affects the production of red blood cells. Meet the anti-doping agent to find out how athletes have been using recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) to increase their production of red blood cells and enhance their performance.

Investigate doping in bike athletes

You will use mass spectrometry and investigate if there are any athletes who are using rhEPO as a doping substance. First you will prepare the athletes urine samples by adding the matrix solution. Carefully place the prepared samples on the MALDI plate before taking the sample plate into the mass spectrometer. Learn about mass spectrometry and the technique MALDI (Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization) with the help of quiz questions and a short video.

Interpret the mass spectrometry histograms

At the end of the lab, you will look at the mass spectrometry histograms. Compare the peaks in the positive rhEPO sample to each of the athletes’ samples. Will you be able to determine if any of the athletes are using the doping substance?

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