Annual Courses


MCF Presents Fall 2017 Workshop Offerings:  October 30-31, 2017 & November 1-2, 2017

Announcing the MCF’s workshops in Mass Spectral Interpretation! This fall we are offering both an introductory workshop followed by an advanced workshop.  The purpose of these workshops is to provide training and insight into the use of mass spectral interpretation.  Workshops include classroom instruction along with homework problems to demonstrate and reinforce the content covered in the workshops.

Class size is limited!  Please register by October 1st, 2017!

Introduction to Mass Spectral Interpretation (The Calculations Course): Introduction to understanding low and high resolution mass spectral data and the application to identification of unknowns

The introductory workshop emphasizes the introduction of simple concepts followed by the application of those concepts in the solving of increasingly complex problems. There will be assigned homework problems between day 1 and day 2.  The information in this workshop is applicable to both EI/GC-MS and ESI/LC-MS analyses using either quadrupole or TOF mass analyzers.

This workshop builds in a logical progression from mono-isotopic elements (hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorous…), to carbon and nitrogen, and then to the higher complexity of chlorine, bromine, sulfur and silicon.  Learn how to use this isotopic information to calculate possible molecular formulae followed by the application of High Resolution Accurate Mass (HRAM) data to confirm or discredit the calculated formulae.  Finally, transition from formulas to possible structures through the use of fragmentation information and “logical losses” concept.


Session 1 – Introduction

  • Mass Spectrum Information Content
  • Ionization Processes
  • “A” Elements
  • Logical Losses – Introduction
  • Practice Problems

Session 2 “A+1” elements

  • “A+1” Elements
  • Nitrogen Rule
  • Calculating “A+1” Element Composition
  • Normalization
  • Spectrum Interpretation Process – Introduction
  • Logical Losses – Adding “A+1” Elements
  • Practice Problems

Session 3 “A+2” elements

  • Homework Review
  • “A+2” Elements
  • Single “A+2” Element Spectra
  • Logical Losses – Adding “A+2” Elements
  • Spectrum Interpretation Process – Adding “A+2” Elements
  • Multiple ‘A+2” Element Spectra
  • Practice Problems

Session 4 Acquiring good data

  • Tuning
  • Scan acquisition
  • SIM acquisition

Advanced Mass Spectral Interpretation (The Mechanisms Course): The next step in interpretation, application of fragmentation techniques to include or exclude molecular structure candidates  (NOTE:  This workshop begins with a brief review of the material covered in the introductory workshop which is required for the solution of interpretation problems in this workshop.)

The advanced workshop is designed as the next step in the interpretation of unknown spectra by introducing mechanistic approaches to fragmentation of molecular ions (EI/GC-MS) and protonated or deprotontated neutral molecules (ESI/LC-MS) with collisional activation.  Understanding these processes simplify the inclusion or exclusion of molecular structure candidates from unknown analyses.

The workshop builds relating ion stability to abundance and applies that concept to simple radical induced dissociation mechanisms (primarily EI-MS) and charge induced dissociation (both EI and ESI).  Fragmentation involving intramolecular transfer of atoms, “rearrangements” including both radical and charge induced mechanisms will be discussed and practice problems will be included.  


Session 1

Review of 

  • Isotope calculations
  • Logical Losses
  • Interpretation Process

Session 2

  • Simple Fragmentation – Stevenson’s Rule
  • Radical Induced Fragmentation – Alpha Cleavage
  • Practice Problems

Session 3

  • Charge Induced Fragmentation – Inductive Cleavage
  • Practice Problems

Session 4

  • Homework Review
  • Radical Induced Rearrangements
  • Practice Problems

Session 5

  • Charged Induced Rearrangements
  • Practice Problems

About the Instructor:

Dr. Robert J. Kobelski has had a long and varied career.  He successfully completed a BS (Fordham University) and MS (University of Vermont) before seeing the error of his ways and completing a PhD in Analytical Chemistry at SUNY at Buffalo.

His career as an analytical chemist began with Buffalo Color Corporation where his skills in GC, HPLC, GC-MS, and AA supported the entire 400 person corporation.  The best days at Buffalo Color began with his manager walking into his lab with a jar of orange “liquid” saying “The engineers just dug up a tank in area 23 which is full of this.  Can you tell us what it is?”

From Buffalo Color Dr. Kobelski moved the Johnson & Johnson Personal Products Company as supervisor of the chromatography laboratory.  His work centered on the application of headspace sampling in support of odor research.  The application of static headspace sampling lead to the development of novel odor control products and use of dynamic headspace GC-MS analysis solved a number of qualitative odor problems with manufactured products and raw materials.  

Dr. Kobelski then joined Hewlett-Packard’s Analytical Product Group where he was the senior technical staff member at the Analytical Education Center.  He developed and taught classes in GC and GC-MS including mass spectrum interpretation; an activity he has continued for more than 25 years.  He returned to the bench with HP’s Inkjet Supplies Business Unit where he supported a 7,500 person R&D and manufacturing site employing thermal desorption GC-MS and MALDI-TOFMS analysis to solve a wide variety of problems.

Skipping over a very bad experience with an alternative medicine clinical laboratory Dr. Kobelski joined the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health where he initially developed analysis methods for volatile compounds in clinical matrices and later became the responsible federal official for the chemical component of the Laboratory Response Network (LRN-C). With the LRN-C Dr. Kobelski was responsible for a 55 member emergency response chemical analysis network (including the MN state public health laboratory) with the CDC based component providing method development, training, and proficiency testing services.  He retired after 14 years to found Resolution Sciences, LLC providing training and consulting services in chemical analysis.

Location and class details:


Introduction to Mass Spectral Interpretation:

October 30th – 31st, 2017;  8:00am ~ 4:30pm

Advanced Mass Spectral Interpretation:
November 1st – 2nd, 2017;  8:00am ~ 4:30pm

Tuition: $700 per person (for each workshop)

 Lunch, as well as refreshments for morning and afternoon breaks, is provided each day. Please note any dietary restrictions when you register as we will make every effort to accommodate!


New Brighton Community Center – Room 220
400 10th St NW
New Brighton, MN 55112
Free Parking!!!


Registration questions –  Jenn Rosen at
Workshop content questions – Dr. Robert Kobelski at