Metabolomics Core

This Core provides rigorous mass spectrometry analyses to Diabetes Research Center (DRC) investigators that include quantification as well as structural characterization of diabetes-related biomolecules. The Core increases efficiency and cost effectiveness by providing centralized, standardized analyses to study molecular mechanisms of the pathogenesis of diabetes, its risk factors, and its complications. A major goal of the Core is to promote use of mass spectrometry methods in diabetes research by efforts in training, collaboration, development, service, and dissemination.

Specific objectives of the Core are

  1. To provide and maintain functional mass spectrometry systems for diabetes-related studies;
  2. To consult with DRC investigators on application of mass spectrometry to advance their research programs;
  3. To perform service-related mass spectrometry analyses for diabetes investigators, such as quantifying target analytes, obtaining spectra for structural identification, and assisting with mass spectra interpretation;
  4. To develop new mass spectrometry methods; and
  5. To provide training to students and fellows in principles and use of mass spectrometry systems.

Leadership

John Turk, MD, PhD
John Turk, MD, PhD, Associate Director
Professor of Medicine
Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipid Research
660 S. Euclid Ave., Campus Box 8127
St Louis, MO 63110
Phone 314-362-8190
Email jturk@wustl.edu

Contacts

Xuntian Jiang, PhD, Associate Director of Metabolomics
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Cardiology Division
660 S. Euclid Ave., Campus Box 8086
St Louis, MO 63110
Phone 314-362-8937
Email jiangxuntian@wustl.edu

Fong Fu Hsu, PhD, Associate Director of Mass Spectrometry Core
Research Professor of Medicine
660 S. Euclid Ave
Campus Box 8127
St. Louis, MO 63110
Phone 314-362-0056
Email fong@wustl.edu

David Scherrer, MS, Facility Manager
Department of Medicine
660 S. Euclid Ave., Campus Box 8086
St Louis, MO 63110
Phone 314-362-8937
Email dscherrer@wustl.edu

Jan Crowley, BS, Head Technical Specialist
Department of Medicine
660 S. Euclid Ave., Campus Box 8127
St Louis MO 63110
Phone 314-362-7878
Email jcrowley@wustl.edu

Services

Targeted metabolomic analysis (GC/MS and LC-MS/MS)

We quantify low molecular weight organic biomolecules including fatty acids and related molecules; small organics; amino acids; carbohydrates; sterols, isoprenoids and polyols; glycerolipids; cardiolipins; sphingolipids; nucleosides and nucleotides; oxidative stress metabolites; and drug and natural product metabolites. In all, the core has expertise in routine characterization and quantification of >1400 small molecule metabolites (Table 1).

Targeted Metabolites Routinely Analyzed by DRC Metabolomics Core
Class Metabolites Approx # Species
Fatty acids & related molecules FFA, eicosanoids, prostanoids, acyl-CoAs
70
Small organics Glycolysis and TCA cycle intermediates, glycerol, ketones
65
Amino acids Native and modified forms
24
Carbohydrates Mono- and disaccharides
10
Sterols, isoprenoids & polyols Cholesterol, cholesterol intermediates, cholesteryl esters, phytosterols, oxysterols, polyols
60
Glycerolipids Phospholipids (simple and complex), lysophospholipids,
mono-, di- and triglycerides
500
Cardiolipins Acyl chains C14 to C26
250
Sphingolipids Sphingoid bases, ceramides, sphingomyelin, mono-, di- and trihexosylceramides, sulfatides, gangliosides
350
Nucleosides & nucleotides Unmodified and modified
25
Oxidative stress metabolites GSH, GSSG, 4-HNE, HEL and PRL, 4-nitrotyrosine
6
Drug and natural metabolites Metformin, glyburide, NAD metabolites, etc.
50
Total
1410

Structural analysis and identification

The Core assists investigators in identifying unknown molecules from biological extracts by MS methods (ESI/MS/MSn) and interpreting mass spectra.

Validated assay development

The Core provides access to validated assays required for quantitative analysis of large sample sets from diabetes-related clinical studies and trials. We also develop FDA-compliant validated assays needed for measurement of analytes for clinical trials.

Qualitative flux analysis

Flux analysis is performed in vitro or in vivo using stable isotope-labeled tracers and LC-MS/MS to monitor isoptologue composition of targeted metabolites and enable tracking of metabolic flux through pathways.

Training of DRC investigators

The Core instructs DRC members and their laboratory personnel in the principles of various modes of MS and their applicability to analyses of biological samples and in the preparation of samples for MS analyses. Because MS analyses require specialized skills, it is more economical and practical for MSCL/Metabolomics staff to perform most analyses, but members of users’ laboratories are trained to perform some procedures, particularly if requirements are large and sustained.

Sample Submissions

Please complete the Request for Services Form and email to dscherrer@wustl.edu You will be contacted by the Facility Manager to arrange an intake meeting for discussion of goals of the project, analyses, anticipated completion schedule, and estimated cost.

Chargebacks

The Washington University Mass Spectrometry Core Laboratory and the Metabolomics Facility operate as recharge centers with a current (FY17) rate of $95/hour rate for metabolomics and mass spectrometry services for Washington University investigators. For DRC investigators performing analyses through the Mass Spectrometry Core, the DRC budget covers part of the cost of analyses related to diabetes and metabolic disorders. This enables the Core to offer service to DRC members at a rate of $45/hour.

Helpful Links

NIGMS Biomedical Mass Spectrometry Resource

Washington University Metabolomics Facility

Midwest Mass Spectrometry Discussion Group