Position: Scientific Officer, Department Molecular and Cell Biology, UCT
Ms Pei-yin Liebrich was employed at UCT at the beginning of 2018. A part of her responsibilities is to manage the available GC-MS QQQ and HPLC units. In order to broaden her experience in the field, she was provided the opportunity to spend two months (October and November 2019) in Professor Alisdair Fernie’s laboratory at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Golm, Germany. There she was trained by Dr Saleh Alseekh and improved her expertise not only on GC-MS (used mostly for primary metabolites), but also on LC-MS (plant secondary metabolites). With the support from Dr Suhail Rafudeen, an experiment was designed to test tomato seedlings under salt stress with or without treatment with a bio-stimulant developed in South Africa. The leaf and root tissues were extracted and analysed by both GC-MS and LC-MS. In the process, Ms Liebrich was taught to set peak lists to identify different compounds in chromatograms as well as to do statistical analysis to find out significantly changed compound levels. Based on the initial findings of the work that was carried out, a new research project will be proposed. Ms Liebrich believes that the training and work experience obtained at MPG will help her assist UCT researchers in the future to do plant extraction and use GC-MS for their primary metabolites research projects.