Biomolecular Analysis Core

Director: Daniel Ory, MD

Associate Director: John Turk, MD, PhD

Contact: David Scherrer
Phone: 314-362-8732

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The Biomolecular Analysis Core (BMAC) combines the mass spectrometer equipment inventories and expertise of the Washington University (WU) Metabolomics Facility, which is an institutional core, and the WU Mass Spectrometry (MS) Resource, which is an institutional core supported by the Mass Spectrometry Resource grant (P41 GM103422-38).

The integration of equipment and personnel of these two facilities within a single organizational structure provides NORC investigators access to state-of-the-art mass spectrometry (MS) analyses needed to quantify and/or identify the structure of nutrition/obesity – related biomolecules through a centralized, standardized, cost-effective, and efficient “one-stop-shop.”

The goals of the BMAC are to:

  • Perform Mass Spectrometry (MS) analytical services, such as quantifying target analytes, obtaining spectra for structural identification and assisting with mass spectra interpretation.
  • Develop new MS methods for structural identification or quantification of circulating or intracellular tissue biomolecules involved in the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of nutrition/obesity-related abnormalities and diseases.
  • Provide and maintain functional state-of-art MS systems needed for nutrition/obesity-related research, which can therefore provide services at a fraction of the cost of maintaining instruments in individual investigators’ laboratories and at much lower rates than those charged by commercial MS facilities.
  • Provide consultation services to help NORC investigators determine the most appropriate application of MS analyses for specific research projects and to advance their research programs.
  • Provide training in the principles of MS and in using different MS systems, including:
    • Gas chromatography/MS,
    • Isotope ratio/MS,
    • Electrospray ionization/tandem mass spectrometry, and
    • Matrix assisted laser desorption ionization time of flight MS.

In addition, in cases where sustained demand for analyses is anticipated, members of the investigators’ laboratories will be trained to perform the necessary MS procedures.


  • Agilent 6980 gas chromatograph/5975 quadrupole mass spectrometer
  • Thermo TSQ Quantum Ultra triple-stage quadrupole mass spectrometer
  • AB SCIEX API 4000 LC/MS/MS system: The API 4000 triple quadrupole mass spectrometer provides high-performance quantification facilitated by enhanced high flow-rate performance Turbo V™ Source, TurboIonSpray® probe, APCI probe, and Analyst® software that facilitates GLP compliance. It is interfaced with a Shimadzu 20A HPLC, an Agilent 1100 HPLC and a LEAP autosampler. The LC system provides column switching performance that reduces the matrix effect and brings robust and high throughput LC-MS/MS methods for the analysis of a wide array of metabolites in complex biological samples. Primary use: targeted comparative metabolomics-lipidomics analyses.
  • AB SCIEX 4000QTRAP LC-MS/MS system
  • Agilent 5975C quadrupole GC/MS system
  • Agilent 5973 quadrupole GC/MS system
  • Agilent 6550A iFunnel LC-QTOF-MS system with Agilent 1200 series UHPLC
  • Agilent 6460 LC-triple stage quadrupole LC/MS/MS with an Agilent 1200 series LC
  • Thermo ITQ-1100 GC/MS system with AI 3000 II autosampler
  • Thermo ISQ single quadrupole GC/MS system with AI 3000 II autosampler
  • ThermoTSQ Vantage ULTRA-EMR system with UHPLC and autosampler
  • Thermo LTQ Orbitrap VELOS LC/MS system with Eksigent HPLC
  • Thermo-Electron linear ion trap instrument (LTQ) with an ESI source
  • Finnigan MAT LCQ Deca ion trap instrument with an ESI source
  • Finnigan MAT Delta+ XL triple collector, dual inlet, fully automated gas isotope ratio mass spectrometer

Services available

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  1. Analyte Classes
    1. Structural identification or quantitation of complex lipids (e.g., phospholipids and sphingolipids)
    2. Fatty acids identification or quantitation
    3. Sterols, including cholesterol and its oxidation products
    4. Low molecular weight metabolic substrates (e.g., ketone bodies, glycolysis/TCA intermediates)
    5. Polyols, (e.g., sorbitol, myo-inositol, chiro-inositol, and galactitol)
    6. Amino acids and their oxidation products
    7. [13C] or [2H] or [15N] or [18O] enrichment in mixtures of biological substrates and their endproducts after heavy isotope-labeled precursor administration
    8. Peptide sequencing, post-translational modifications, and assistance with protein identification (MASCOT data base searches)
    9. Select plant products (e.g., phytosterols, D-chiro-inositol, and phytoestrogens, genistein)
    10. Assistance preparing biological samples for mass spectrometry analyses (extraction, purification, derivatization), and interpreting mass spectra
    11. Assistance in identifying unknown biomolecules
    12. Training in operating and maintaining mass spectrometry systems
    13. Other nutrition-related biomolecules

Please contact David Scherrer for pricing information:

Please acknowledge the Washington University NORC, Nutrition Obesity Research Center, in your publications by: “Supported by NIH grant P30 DK056341 (Nutrition Obesity Research Center).”