2016 Innovator Award Faculty Winner: Guido Verbeck

Expanding uses for mass spec tools

Associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry Guido Verbeck is working on numerous market-centric technologies. A key development is his work to condense the size of mass spectrometry equipment and customize it to numerous industry applications.

Together with  his team, they have reduced the weight of the equipment to about 15 pounds, allowing it to be adapted for environmental researchers, law enforcement and other fields.

Verbeck attributes this adaptability to a “top-down, rather than bottom-up” approach to innovation. By taking the larger equipment and finding ways to make it smaller, it’s easier to retain all the functionality. By simply trying to create a smaller device, some of the features can be lost.

“Innovation isn’t always inventing something new,” he says. “It comes from recognizing that one group may have a problem that another group has already solved and then bringing those groups together.”

In his spare time, Verbeck enjoys sewing and repairing old sewing machines. He’s also taken on multiple automotive mechanical projects.