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Biochemistry undergraduate develops new method for porphyria diagnosis

Author: Rachel Fellman

ferguson

A senior biochemistry major, Ethan Ferguson, has led a team to develop a new, much more precise mass spectrometry method for the diagnosis of porphyrias.

Porphyrias are a collection of diseases in which a hemoglobin component called heme is improperly produced and causes a buildup of component material in the body. They can be either genetic or acquired through exposure to lead, hexachlorobenzene, or a variety of other widespread toxic agents; research and treatment require an exact diagnosis and awareness of cause, and therefore an exact identification and quantification of hemes and their metabolites.

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