DNA and RNA structural analysis provides useful information for drug discovery, disease diagnosis, and clinical research. Currently, used detection techniques include liquid chromatography‑mass spectrometry (LC/MS), antibody-based tests such as ELISA and Ames tests. However, these tests are time-consuming, expensive, less accurate, less sensitive, and require multiple runs to obtain all the information. Also, in MS analysis the molecular fragmentation leads to noise in the data. Our researchers aim to resolve these issues with the novel satellite‑MALDI technique.


Technology Overview

The innovation involves the detection of small modifications (at the nucleotide level) in the nucleic acid by directly subjecting the isolated samples to MALDI‑MS in time‑of‑flight (TOF) mode. The pulsed UV laser to cleave the DNA adducts from the mismatched DNA segment or modified bases from the RNA loop region, the separated nucleotides are detected in high‑resolution MS. These modified bases give peaks in the low mass range, referred to as “satellite peaks”. This technique provides a method for rapid and accurate detection of polar and nonpolar adducts.



  • Quick sample preparation as enzyme digestion and LC separation are not required
  • Low sample requirement (less than 1 µg)
  • Diverse detection capabilities, polar and nonpolar modifications can be detected in a single run
  • Nucleotide modifications are accurately detected 
  • High throughput (20 samples in 30 minutes)
  • Cost-effective method


  • Drug screening
  • Clinical diagnostic test for cancer prevention
  • Test for animal sentinel monitoring
  • Repairome test
  • Testing at an analytical testing lab 


  • License
  • Partnering
  • Research Collaboration
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Vaibhav Saini
Senior Manager Commercialization
Northeastern University
Poguang Wang
Roger Giese