Dr. Andrew Ross


Research of Dr. Andrew R.S. Ross


1998 Ph.D., University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

1999-2008 National Research Council, Plant Biotechnology Institute, Saskatoon, SK

Associate Research Officer

2001-2011 Adjunct Professor, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK

2008-present Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, BC

Manager, Laboratory of Expertise in Aquatic Chemical Analysis (LEACA)

Research Scientist and Section Head, Ecology and Biogeochemistry

2011-present Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Dr. Ross develops and uses analytical methods to study biological and environmental processes that control the distribution and bioavailability of trace elements and the responses of living organisms to stress and disease. His research focuses on characterizing metal-binding compounds (ligands) in the ocean, identifying modified and stress-related proteins, and developing mass spectrometry and affinity-based methods to achieve these goals.

Organic ligands control the bioavailability and distribution of essential trace elements (micronutrients) like iron (Fe) and copper (Cu) in the ocean, yet little is known about the structure and ecological function of these biomolecules. Identification and structural analysis of marine organic ligands would help to explain their involvement in the uptake and utilization of trace elements by the microscopic plants and bacteria (phytoplankton) on which the marine food web is based. This, in turn, would help us to better understand how phytoplankton growth and micronutrient cycling affect, and are influenced by, processes such as ocean fertilization and climate change.

Using appropriate analytical techniques like immobilized metal-ion affinity chromatography (IMAC) and electrospray ionization (ESI) mass spectrometry Dr. Ross has shown that organic compounds that bind Cu in coastal seawater include molecules that resemble small proteins (peptides) known to bind metals in plants and other organisms. He is currently adapting these techniques to recover and analyze organic ligands from the NE Pacific and Arctic oceans, and from phytoplankton cultures exposed to Cu stress and Fe limitation, in a project supported by the NSERC-funded Canadian Arctic GEOTRACES program.

Ross fig 1-2

In addition to metal-binding proteins and peptides Dr. Ross has worked extensively on the development and use of methods to identify proteins and protein post-translational modifications (PTMs) involved in stress and disease. Important discoveries include the phosphorylation of cruciferin and other plant proteins involved in germination, growth and stress responses, and glycation of insulin and related signaling proteins implicated in type-2 diabetes.

Ross fig 3-4

Dr. Ross is currently developing methods to detect and quantify marine biotoxins in water, sediment and biological samples. Results are being correlated with water properties like temperature, pH, chlorophyll and trace metal concentrations to identify environmental conditions associated with the production of these toxins by harmful algal blooms (HABs). Monitoring ocean conditions, biotoxins and other chemicals of concern will help to better understand and predict their impacts on marine fisheries and ecosystems in a changing climate.


Lab Personnel

Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Richard Nixon

Co-op/Summer Student

  • Mackenzie Mueller

Lab Alumni

Research Associate

  • Lianglu Wan, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Uma Aryal, PhD

Graduate Students

  • Cory Solheim (PhD)
  • Richard Nixon (PhD)

Undergraduate Co-op/Summer Students

  • Carmen Dereniwsky (2000-2001)
  • Sarah Luettgen (2002)
  • Wei Shao (2003)
  • Jeff Johnson (2004)
  • Heather Chivas (2005)
  • Angela Chiang (2006)
  • Kara Bloomfield (2007)
  • Jose Mendez (2014)
  • Crystal Sommer (2015)
  • Jacob Davis (2018)
  • Jasper George (2019)

Selected Publications

1. Ross, A.R.S., Ikonomou, M.G., Thompson, .J., and Orians, K.J. 1998. Determination of dissolved metal species by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Analytical Chemistry 70: 2225-2235.

2. Ross, A.R.S., Ikonomou, M.G., and Orians, K.J. 2000. Characterization of dissolved tannins and their metal-ion complexes by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Analytica Chimica Acta 411: 91-102.

3. Ross, A.R.S., Ikonomou, M.G., and Orians, K.J. 2000. Electrospray ionization of alkali and alkaline earth metal species. Electrochemical oxidation and pH effects. Journal of Mass Spectrometry 35: 981-989.

4. Ross, A.R.S., Lee, P.J., Smith, D.L., Langridge, J.I., Whetton, A.D., and Gaskell, S.J. 2002. Identification of proteins from two-dimensional polyacrylamide gels using a novel acid-labile surfactant. Proteomics 2: 928-936.

5. Wanasundara, P.K.J.P.D., Ross, A.R.S., Amarowicz, R., Ambrose, S.J., Pegg, R.B., and Shand, P.J. 2002. Peptides with angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory activity from hydrolysed-defibrinated bovine plasma. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 50: 6981-6988.

6. Ross, A.R.S., Ikonomou, M.G., and Orians, K.J. 2003. Characterization of copper-complexing ligands in seawater using immobilized copper(II)-ion affinity chromatography and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Marine Chemistry 83: 47-58.

7. Napper, S., Kindrachuk, J., Olson, D.J.H., Ambrose, S.J., Dereniwsky, C., and Ross, A.R.S. 2003. Selective extraction and characterization of a histidine-phosphorylated peptide using immobilized copper(II)-ion affinity chromatograph and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry. Analytical Chemistry 75: 1741-1747.

8. Ross, A.R.S., Ambrose, S.J., Cutler, A.J., Feurtado, J. A., Kermode, A.R., Nelson, K., Zhou, R., and Abrams, S.R. 2004. Determination of endogenous and supplied deuterated abscisic acid in plant tissues by high performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry with multiple reaction monitoring. Analytical Biochemistry 329: 324-333.

9. Ross, A.R.S., and Luettgen, S.L. 2005. Speciation of cyclo(Pro-Gly)3 and its divalent metal-ion complexes by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry 16: 1536-1544.

10. Jia, X., Olson, D.J.H., Ross, A.R.S., and Wu, L. 2006. Structural and functional changes in human insulin induced by methyglyoxal. FASEB Journal 20: 1555-1557.

11. Hoffmeyer, R.E., Singh, S.P., Doonan, C.J., Ross, A.R.S., Hughes, R.J., Pickering, I.J., and George, G.N.  2006. Molecular form and molecular mimicry in mercury toxicology. Chemical Research in Toxicology 19: 753-759.

12. Wan, L., Ross, A.R.S., Yang, J., Hegedus, D.D., and Kermode, A.R. 2007. Phosphorylation of 12S globulin cruciferin in wild type and abi1-1 mutant Arabidopsis thaliana seeds. Biochemical Journal 404: 247-256.

13. Pushie, M.J., Ross, A.R.S., and Vogel, H.J. 2007. Mass spectrometric determination of the coordination geometry of potential copper(II) surrogates for the mammalian prion protein octarepeat region. Analytical Chemistry 79: 5659-5667.

14. Ross, A.R.S. 2007. Identification of histidine phosphorylations in proteins using mass spectrometry and affinity-based Techniques. Methods in Enzymology: Two Component Signaling Systems, Simon, M., Crane, B., and Bilwes Crane, A. Eds. 423: 549-572.

15. Wiramanaden, C.I.E., Cullen, J.T., Ross, A.R.S., and Orians, K.J. 2008. Cyanobacterial copper-binding ligands isolated from a seawater matrix. Marine Chemistry 110: 28-41.

16. Aryal, U.K., Olson, D.J.H., and Ross, A.R.S. 2008. Optimization of immobilized gallium (III) ion affinity chromatography for selective binding and recovery of phosphopeptides from protein digests. Journal of Biomolecular Techniques 19: 296-310.

17. Sheoran, I.S., Ross, A.R.S., Olson, D.J.H., and Sawhney, V.K. 2009. Compatibility of plant protein extraction methods with mass spectrometry for proteome analysis. Plant Science 176: 99-104.

18. Davies, G.F., Ross, A.R.S., Arnason, T.G., Juurlink, B.H.J., and Harkness, T.A.A. 2009. Troglitazone inhibits histone deacetylase activity in breast cancer cells. Cancer Letters 288: 236-250.

19. Aryal, U.K., and Ross, A.R.S. 2010. Enrichment and analysis of phosphopeptides under different experimental conditions using titanium dioxide affinity chromatography and mass spectrometry. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 24: 219-231.

20. Chang, T., Wang, R., Olson, D.J.H., Mousseau, D.D., Ross, A.R.S., and Wu, L. 2011. Modification of Akt1 by methylglyoxal promotes the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells. FASEB Journal 25: 1746-1757.

21. Aryal, U.K., Krochko, J.E., and Ross, A.R.S. 2012. Phosphoproteomic analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana mature leaf using optimized polyethylene glycol fractionation, immobilized metal-ion affinity chromatography, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. Journal of Proteome Research 11: 425-437.

22. Aryal, U.K., Ross, A.R.S., Krochko, J.E. 2015. Enrichment and analysis of intact phosphoproteins in Arabidopsis seedlings. PLoS ONE 10(7): e0130763. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130763

23. Ross, A.R.S., Liao, X. 2015. A novel method for the rapid determination of polyethoxylated tallow amine surfactants in water and sediment using large volume injection with high performance liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. Analytica Chimica Acta 889: 147-155.

24. Nixon, R.L., Ross, A.R.S. 2016. Evaluation of immobilized metal-ion affinity chromatography and electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry for recovery and identification of copper(II)-binding ligands in seawater using the model ligand 8-hydroxyquinoline. Frontiers in Marine Science 3: 246. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00246

25. Nixon, R.L, Jackson, S.L, Cullen, J.T., Ross, A.R.S. 2019. Distribution of copper-complexing ligands in the Canadian Arctic as determined using immobilized copper(II)-ion affinity chromatography. Marine Chemistry 215:103673. doi: 10.1016/j.marchem.2019.103673

26. Nixon, R.L., Peña, M.A., Taves, R., Janssen, D.J., Cullen, J.T., Ross, A.R.S. 2021. Evidence for the production of copper-complexing ligands by marine phytoplankton in the subarctic northeast Pacific. Marine Chemistry 237: 104034. doi: 10.1016/j.marchem.2021.104034