Arash Zarrine-Afsar with Chair Justin Nodwell (left) and Benjamin Schachter's daughter Bonnie Druxerman and husband Peter Druxerman.

Arash Zarrine-Afsar with Chair Justin Nodwell (left) and Benjamin Schachter’s daughter Bonnie Druxerman and husband Peter Druxerman.

From 1934-1939 Dr. Benjamin (Benny) Schachter worked in the Department of Biochemistry conducting research on female sex hormones, isolating and identifying conjugated oestrone sulphate (Premarin). To honour Benny Schachter’s memory, a donation was made to the Department by his family. The funds are being used to support an annual lectureship in his memory. The BGSU and graduate students select and host the speaker who is a graduate from our Department.

This year, the Biochemistry Grad Students Union invited Dr. Arash Zarrine-Afsar to present the Benjamin Schachter Memorial Lecture.

Arash received his PhD degree in Alan Davidson’s lab where he focused on factors influencing protein folding. He then did postdoctoral work with Dwayne Miller in Hamburg studying ultrafast protein dynamics and the development of a quantitative mass spectrometry technique based on Desorption by Impulsive Vibrational Excitation. He is currently at the Techna Institute which is an institute of the University Health Network, in collaboration with the University of Toronto, that focuses on the accelerated development and exploitation of technology for improved health.

 “[Dr. Arash Zarrine-Afsar’s] research is aimed at developing new tools and techniques to study the dynamics of biological systems, in particular, the transition to the disease state. A multitude of biophysical imaging and spectroscopy techniques are used to reveal changes in cellular chemistry that correlate with the disease state. In particular, Dr. Zarrine-Afsar is interested in the utility of Mass Spectrometry Imaging in tissue imaging and tumour boundary assessment.”
– Techna website

Arash is also co-founder, and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of VertoNova Analytical, a federally registered Canadian venture dedicated to the commercialization of the new ion source for biodiagnostic applications, and image guided surgery. He was awarded the prestigious Polanyi Prize in 2011.

Arash gave a fascinating account of his development of ultra fast laser tools which are dramatically more precise and less damaging to tissues in surgical applications and how this can be coupled to mass spectrometry in near real time to analyze small molecules in tissue samples.