Research Environment

Kerr Lab Research Environment  


The Kerr Lab is ideally located on the University of Prince Edward Island campus in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The bacterial and chemical divisions of the lab are centred in the Regis and Joan Duffy Research Centre.  The fungal division of the lab as well as our antibiosis/cell screening division are located in the North Annex of the Atlantic Veterinary College.

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Regis and Joan Duffy Research Centre
The Regis and Joan Duffy Resaerch Centre, is home to researchers from UPEI, the National Research Council Institute for Nutrisciences and Health (NRC-INH), and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).  Here they share knowledge, lab space, and specialized equipment and tools as they explore how natural compounds can be used to prevent and treat disease in animals and humans, contributing to the island's growing bioscience cluster.
The Regis and Joan Duffy Research Centre boasts an open concept lab environment, which facilitates both the sharing of equipment and knowledge among the researchers.  Both the Chemical and the Bacterial divisions of the Kerr Research lab are located on the fifth floor. 


Atlantic Veterinary College, North Annex

The North Annex expansion of the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) includes both office and laboratory space.  Both the Fungal and the Bioassay (antimicrobial and cell based assay) divisions of the Kerr Research lab are located in our Biosafety Level 2 laboratory at 3rd flour in the North Annex of the AVC.  Additional to our laboratory space, our group also has recourse to Multi User space and equipment that are made available from AVC.


KerrLab HRMS facility


The Kerr Marine Natural Products Lab has state-of-the-art equipment to conduct natural-product drug-discovery research.  Two complimentary LC-HRMS instruments provides our lab with strong capabilities for the analysis of natural product extracts, the quantification of targeted metabolites in complex samples and the study of microbial secondary metabolomes using LC-HRMS assisted with statistical analyses.

The Kerr Lab HRMS facility has recently developed an innovative methodology to dereplicate microbial strains by metabolomics approaches while providing the abilityto identify putative novel chemical entities as natural product discovery leads.

The HRMS facility is available for consultation with all researchers on the UPEI campus as well as other universities to develop collaborative projects and assist researchers with mass spectrometry expertise.  Mass spectrometry service is also available for academic institution and private companies on a fee-for-service basis (service rates).

For more information please contact us, we would be pleased to help you with your sample analysis.

System 1: LC-HRMS-PDA with an Orbitrap LTQ-Velos (Thermo Scientific) using either ESI or APCI ionization source is an ideal system for the quantification and the identification of natural products from pure samples or mixtures. This instrument can also perform tandem mass spectrometry MS(n) experiments and assist researchers with the structure elucidation of unknown molecules.


System 2: LC-HRMS-ELSD with an Exactive mass spectrometer (Thermo Scientific) coupled to a universal evaporative light scattering detector (ELSD) is a perfect combination for the rapid screening of natural product extracts.






Contact us

Contact information

Research Manager:


Doug Marchbank


Mass Spec:


Hebelin Correa



Duffy Research Center, room 513


Mailing Address:

Duffy Research Centre, rm 513
University of Prince Edward Island
550 University avenue
Charlottetown C1A 4P3, PE

Telephone: 902-566-8051

Main Lab & Equipment


Lab Space and Equipment
The lab located on the fifth floor of the Duffy Research Centre forms the base of operations for bacteriology and chemistry oriented research in the Kerr Lab.  The lab houses a wide selection of equipment need for microbiology, molecular biology and chemisty research. To support our natural products chemistry research the lab is equiped with eight fume hoods,  four  rotary evaporators, two vacuum evaporators (GeneVac), an automated flash chromatography system (Teledyne Combiflash Rf), a Thermo Scientific GCMS and four HPLC systems, one of which is connected to a mass spectrometer to enable  mass-guided fractionation. The crown jewels of the lab are two Thermo Scientific Orbitrap high-resolution mass spectrometers (Exactive and Velos models), which are both connected to ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) systems. For natural product structure elucidation a 600 MHz Bruker NMR (housed in the Duffy Research Centre) is made availabe via an agreement with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada. To support molecular biology research, the lab is equiped with two gradient-capable PCR thermocyclers, a UVP molecular imager, a Bio-Rad Duo-Flo FPLC system and a variety of electrophoresis supplies.  Microbiology-related equipment includes three New Brunswick Innova 44 shaking incubators, a large ambient temperature platform shaker, two laminar flow hoods, a type II biosafety cabinent, a variety of microscopes and a Steris autoclave. The lab is also equiped with common general use equipment including multiple balances, centrifuges and stationary incubators, two ultralow temperature freezers, two dishwashers and a Millipore MilliQ deionized water system.  A graphical represenation of the lab layout and pictures of various spaces and equipment are shown below. 
Our HRMS instruments are the crown jewel of the lab!  The instrument on the left is the Thermo Scientific Exactive HRMS. This instrument is coupeld to a UPLC chromatography system as well as a PDA detector and a universal evaporative light scattering detector (ELSD). This instrument provides an ideal platform for the rapid screening of natural product extracts. The instrument on the right is the Thermo Scientific Orbitrap LTQ-Velos. This instrument is also coupled with a UPLC and PDA detector. Using either ESI or APCI ionization sources, this instrument is ideal for the quantification and identification of natural products from pure samples or mixtures.  This instrument can also perform tandem mass spectrometry MS(n) experiments to assist researchers with the structure elucidation of unknown molecules. 
Our GCMS instrument is a Thermo Scientific Focus GC, which is coupled with a Polaris Q quadrupole ion trap mass analyzer equiped with electron ionization source. This system is ideal for characterizing non-polar metabolites not compatable with reversed-phase LC.


A recent addition to the lab is a Waters HPLC system coupled to a mass-guided fraction collector.  The system consistes of  two Waters HPLC pumps, a Waters 3100 single quadrupole mass spectrometer and a Waters 2767 fraction collector. This system is designed for both analytical and semi-preparative separations.


A second Waters HPLC system is also available for analytical and semi-preparative separations. This system features a manual injector, a Waters 1525 binary HPLC pump, a Waters 2489 dual channel UV/Visible detector, a Waters 2424 ELSD and a Waters 2767 fraction collector.


Our Thermo Scientific HPLC system features a Finnigan Surveyor Autosampler Plus, LC Pump Plus, and PDA Plus detector.  It is also conntected to a SEDEX 60 LT ELSD. The system is designed for both analytical and semi-preparative separations.
The latest model in medium-pressure chromatography from Teledyne Isco, the CombiFlash RF, is compact and user-friendly.  The system is equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to allow for automation of parameters for purification and fraction collection.


Evaporation is a common occurence in the purification of any natural product. To facilitate rapid evaporation of samples, the lab is equiped with four rotary evaporators (top photo) and two GenVac vacuum evaporators. The GeneVacs are ideal for drug discovery applications as the GeneVac EZ-2 Plus is capable of evaporating all commonly used solvents and most acids quickly and effectively.


To facilitate bacterial fermentation, the lab is equipped with four shakers. One is a large ambient temperature platform shaker (bottom photo). The other three (top photo) are temperature controlled Innova 44 shaker incubators. One of these is a refridgerated unit, which allows us to explore the effect of temperature on natural product production.


The molecular biology room (Rm 517) contains two gradient-capable thermal cyclers (Eppendorf and Bio-Rad), electrophoresis equipment, an incubator and a laminar flow hood.


To support molecular biology activities the lab is equiped with a Bio-Rad Duo-Flo FPLC (top photo) system, which is used to purify proteins and other biomoleculres. Molecular imaging needs are met by the UVP BioSpectrum imaging system (bottom photo).


A multitude of equipment is avialable for general use in the lab including (clockwise from top right) a compound microscope, a -80oC freezer, a Beckman Coulter Allegra 25R centrifuge, a freeze dryer and type II biosafety cabinet.
Room 509 is a common area that houses the autoclave, as well as the dish washers and the Millipore MilliQ deionized water system.


Fungal and Bioassay Divisions at the AVC

Lab Space and Equipment
This laboratory space is focused upon fungal isolation, fermentation and extraction in addition to the preparation and evaluation of antimicrobial assays.  Several mulit-user locations are also available on the 3rd floor of the North Annex, where we carry out media preparation, PCR amplification, and cell culture work (in a dedicated cell culture lab).
Various incubators allow for culturing pathogens for antimicrobial assays at various temperatures.
Biological Safety Cabinet used for working in a sterile environment
Temperature controlled shaking incubator where we can carry out shaken fermentations of various volumes ranging from 20 mL - 2 L.
Temeperature controlled standing incubator where we culture our fungi and carry out static fermentations.
Chemistry work station: fumehood and lab bench.
Various tools are available for the extraction and processing of fungal fermentations.
Microscopy work station: Disecting scope and compound microscope used for morphological identification.
Shaking Incubator used for culturing seed inoculum for fermenations and assays.

Vacuum concentrator (SpeedVac) used for extract evaporation when generating mother/daughter plates for antimicrobial assays.

Spectrophotometer/Fluorometer and stacking robot used for evaluating results from 96 well assay plates.

Various bench spaces are available to carry out routine lab activities such as DNA extraction and assay plate preparation.