Research/Areas of Interest:

Analytical Chemistry
Professor Robbat's area of expertise is in separation science and mass spectrometry. His group develops data analysis software that automatically identifies and quantifies target compounds by mathematically deconvolving mass spectra for up to 20 coeluting compounds. Once identified the spectra of target compounds are subtracted from the total ion current chromatogram resulting in mass spectra of unknowns. Once these compounds are identified, they are added to the retention time and mass spectrum library to analyze a wide variety of samples. They routinely track plant-climate interactions for tea, coffee, citrus fruit, and berries of between 500 and 1500 volatile metabolites. The objective is to learn how changes in climate will affect the sensory and nutritional compounds in foods we consume. Toward this end, they employ GC/MS, GC-GC/MS, and GCxGC/MS all with olfactory detection to learn first-hand how changes in metabolite distribution and concentration are affected.

Professor Robbat's research interests include the development of innovative analytical instruments, methods, and data analysis software used to solve a wide range of environmental problems, including: a subsurface sampling and analysis probe that detects pollutants without bringing soil or groundwater to the surface for analysis. This technology is used to rapidly characterize hazardous waste sites and to provide monitoring data during cleanup.


  • MBA Executive Management, Northeastern University, Boston, United States, 2003
  • PhD Analytical Chemistry, Pennsylvania State University, State College, United States, 1980
  • BA Chemistry, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, United States, 1976