Clinical Science Research Core

Clinical Studies Performance Sub-core

Director: Bettina Mittendorfer, PhD
Phone: 314-362-8450

Metabolic Kinetics Sub-core

Director: Bruce Patterson, PhD
Phone: 314-747-1575


The Clinical Science Research Core (CSRC) is located on the 2nd floor of the West Building within the main NORC and the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science main space and can be reached by most NORC members by a short 5 to 10 minute walk through adjoining hallways and a 2nd floor pedestrian link that connects major research buildings.

Visit the Clinical Science Research Core website »

The purpose of the CSRC is to stimulate and support leading-edge nutrition/obesity-related clinical and translational research at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) by providing:

  • A cohesive organizational structure that facilitates the performance of complex and diverse clinical research activities within a single Core;
  • A comprehensive, targeted mix of specialized services that support investigators in critical areas of clinical research, which makes it possible for even basic scientists to conduct translational research; and
  • Expertise, consultation services and training for young investigators and established investigators (and their staff) who are new to the field or would like to expand and advance their research efforts within the areas of nutrition and obesity.

The CSRC consists of two distinct but tightly integrated sub-cores, the Clinical Studies Performance sub-core and the Metabolic Kinetics sub-core.

Combining multidisciplinary services within one core provides an integrated and cohesive, “one-stop” clinical research support structure for investigators and facilitates the use of a range of services that would otherwise be difficult to obtain. This approach reduces the fragmentation often encountered in complex human research and markedly reduces, or even eliminates, the tedious negotiation, coordination and scheduling among multiple institutional facilities often required to obtain these services. This organizational structure also helps the CSRC ensure overall top quality service, beginning with study design and continuing through study execution, sample (e.g. tissue) collection, sample processing and analysis, limits inappropriate research efforts, and increases cost-effectiveness.

The Clinical Studies Performance Sub-core (Director: Bettina Mittendorfer, PhD) provides services and training to facilitate the initiation and performance of nutrition/obesity research in human subjects, including:

  1. Subject recruitment,
  2. Planning and performance of clinical studies (i.e. a diverse array of tracer and non-tracer protocols such as the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp procedure, a multi-tracer meal test, intravenous and oral glucose tolerance tests, and arterial-venous balance studies, to assess substrate kinetics, insulin sensitivity, and β-cell function),
  3. Body composition assessments by using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), BodPod, PeaPod, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS),
  4. Preparation of stable isotopically labeled tracer and hormone infusions,
  5. Acquisition of tissue (adipose, muscle, intestine) biopsy samples,
  6. Exercise (endurance and strength) and physical performance testing,
  7. Indirect calorimetry to assess energy expenditure,
  8. Lifestyle interventions (diet manipulation, behavioral therapy, exercise training, and weight loss/weight gain),
  9. Ingestive behavior testing (taste perception and preference), and
  10. Cardiovascular assessments (e.g. echocardiography, cardiovascular structure and function).

The Metabolic Kinetics sub-core (Director: Bruce Patterson, PhD) provides services and training to evaluate diverse areas of metabolic function, including:

  1. Optimal design of stable-isotopically labeled tracer and non-tracer protocols to assess metabolic kinetics (e.g. glucose and fatty acid flux, VLDL-triglyceride secretion rate, muscle protein synthesis and breakdown rates, insulin secretion and clearance rates) and function (e.g. insulin sensitivity and β-cell function),
  2. Sample processing and measurement of isotopic enrichment of metabolic substrates in blood, tissue, and primary human cell culture samples, and
  3. Mathematical modeling of tracer and non-tracer data to assess metabolic kinetics, insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion rate, and β-cell function.


The major equipment items available through the Clinical Studies Performance Sub-core Includes equipment that is housed in or maintained by the Clinical Research Unit (CRU):

  • 1 Lunar iDXA for body composition analysis in persons weighing up to 204 kg (450 pounds)
  • 1 BodPod for body composition analysis by air displacement (without radiation exposure) in pregnant women and other vulnerable populations
  • 1 PeaPod for body composition analysis by air displacement (without radiation exposure) in infants
  • 2 Parvo Medics True Max 2400 indirect calorimetry systems
  • 2 Lode cycle ergometers
  • 1 Woodway treadmill
  • 1 Biodex System 4 Pro dynamometer
  • 1 Hoist multi-station exercise gym
  • 2 Endoscopes with video processing equipment
  • 1 Sonosite ultrasound system to assist with vascular access line placement
  • 1 Sonosite ultrasound system to measure arterial blood flow

All rooms in the CRU are equipped with a YSI analyzer to measure glucose and lactate, and systems to assess vital signs; also available are body scales and stadiometers, ECG equipment, and a cardiac emergency cart. In addition, the CRU provides laboratory space for blood and tissue sample processing, including bench space and laminar flow hoods, analytical scales, centrifuges, refrigerators, and freezers that are connected to a remote monitoring and notification system.

Equipment that is housed in the Lifestyle Intervention Research Core exercise facility and Ingestive Behavior Unit includes:

  • 1 Woodway Desmo-M treadmill and 1 Quinton Q55 treadmill dedicated to exercise testing
  • 1 Lode Excalibur cycle ergometer
  • 1 Cateye recumbent cycle ergometer
  • 1 Parvo Medics TrueMax 2400 metabolic cart
  • 1 Fitco Max1 indirect calorimetry system
  • 4 Treadmills
  • 2 Elliptical exercise ergometers
  • 2 Cross-country ski ergometers
  • 6 Rowing ergometers
  • 4 Monark cycle ergometers
  • 4 Reebok spin cycles
  • 5 Schwinn Airdynes
  • 1 Schwinn exerciser cycle
  • 3 Stair ergometers
  • 3 Hoist multi-station weight machines
  • 3 Weight benches
  • 2 Pull-up/multi gym towers
  • 1 Powertech Hack squat machine
  • 1 Smith machine
  • 1 Eccentron
  • 2 Foam rollers
  • 43 Dumbbells, ranging from 1lb-70lb
  • 1 Aerobic step platform
  • 14 Risers for aerobic step
  • 3 Weight medicine balls
  • 5 Stability balls
  • 10 Sand ankle/wrist weights
  • 1 Bosu balance trainer
  • 4 Miniature cones for agility drills
  • 1 Training hurdle
  • 1 HP 43110A manual defibrillator
  • 1 Philips Heartstart automatic external defibrillator
  • 1 Cardiac emergency cart with defibrillator
  • 1 6-channel (Marquette Mac VU) ECG machine
  • 2 Slide scales
  • 2 Avery Berkel digital scales
  • 2 Digital Sonifier cell disruptors used exclusively to prepare taste testing emulsions
  • 2 Ice-baths to prepare taste testing emulsions
  • 2 Analytical scales
  • 1 Room outfitted with sinks, tables and special lighting for taste testing

The exercise facility is also outfitted with a 4-lane 90-meter indoor track.

Equipment in the pharmacy-grade Infusate Preparation Room includes:

  • 1 IsoTech MicroSphere – ISO Class 5 Compounding Aseptic Isolator for the preparation of IV admixtures
  • 1 BAXA volumetric automated repeater pump – for fluid transfers during compounding of sterile preparations
  • 1 Centrifuge – for preparation of peptides during compounding of sterile preparations
  • 1 Mettler Toledo MS303S Balance – for compounding sterile preparations
  • 1 Ohaus Adventurer Pro Balance – for compounding sterile preparations
  • 1 Portable heating water bath – for the preparation of CSP (compounded sterile preparations) at specific temperature
  • 1 Endosafe PTS – portable device used for bacterial endotoxin testing of CSPs
  • 1 Vortex Genie mixer –for the preparation of dilutions for endotoxin testing
  • 4 Refrigerators to store CSPs
  • 3 Incubators – for environmental monitoring and sterility testing procedures (all require incubation at different temperatures)
  • 5 Digital data logger thermometers – used for temperature monitoring
  • 1 Hot plate – used for the preparation of thioglycollate media with indicator used for sterility testing of final product
  • 1 IV inspection light box – used for end preparation assessment for visible particulate contamination against white and black background

Equipment available in the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Core Laboratory:

  • 1 12-lead ECG machine
  • 4 Vascular ultrasound systems (GE Vivid E9 and Vivid I, Acuson Sequoia, Acuson Cypress) with cardiac and vascular probes
  • 5 24-h blood pressure monitoring systems
  • 5 24-h ambulatory electrocardiography devices (Holter monitors)
  • 1 Cardiac emergency cart with a defibrillator
  • 1 SphygmoCor vascular tonometric system
  • 1 GE Case 8000 Treadmill ECG system
  • 1 ParvoMedics metabolic cart and accessories
  • 2 -80°C freezers

Equipment housed in the Metabolic Kinetics sub-core laboratory inlcudes:

  • 1 Hewlett Packard (Agilent) 5973 GC/MS MSD system (EI/PCI/NCI) with autosampler
  • 1 Hewlett Packard (Agilent) 5973N GC/MS MSD system (EI) with autosampler
  • 1 Hewlett Packard (Agilent) 5973inert GC/MS MSD system (EI) with autosampler, headspace injector, and flame ionization detector
  • 1 Hewlett Packard 5890 GC with flame ionization detector and autosampler
  • 1 Beckman/Coulter Optima LE-80K ultracentrifuge with 3 rotors
  • 1 Beckman GS-6KR refrigerated centrifuge
  • 2 Thermo Fisher SC250EXP0 SpeedVac centrifugal concentrators
  • 1 Beckman DU-520 spectrophotometer
  • 1 BioTek PowerWave XS plate reader with spectrophotometric detector
  • 2 -20°C freezers
  • 9 -80°C freezers that are connected to a remote monitoring and notification system

Assorted small equipment for sample processing (vortexers, heating blocks, water baths, analytical balances, stir plates, microfuge, pH meter, etc.)

Services available

Download service request form (pdf) »

  1. Metabolic study design and performance consultation
  2. Subject recruitment
  3. Infusate preparation
  4. Muscle and adipose tissue acquisition
  5. Intestinal tissue acquisition (equipment use only)
  6. Body composition analyses
    • DEXA
    • BodPod
    • PeaPod
    • MRI
    • MRS
  7. Aerobic fitness testing
  8. Strength testing and physical performance testing
  9. Indirect calorimetry
  10. Lifestyle intervention
  11. Cardiovascular assessments
    • Carotid artery intima-media thickness
    • Brachial artery reactivity testing for vascular endothelial function
    • Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
    • Echocardiography
    • Arterial stiffness function tests
  12. Arterial and venous catheterization and regional blood flow measurements
  13. Ingestive behavior testing
  14. Sample processing and GC/MS or GC analysis
  15. Kinetic analysis and mathematical modeling of metabolic kinetics
    • Plasma glycerol, glucose, palmitate, leucine and beta-hydroxybutyrate Ra and RD
    • VLDL-triglyceride turnover rate
    • VLDL-apolipoprotein B-100 turnover rate
    • Palmitate de novo lipogenesis from acetate
    • Muscle protein turnover
    • Intravenous glucose tolerance test
    • Oral glucose tolerance test
    • Mixed meal tolerance test
    • Graded glucose infusions
  16. Training in any of the above listed services

If you have any questions regarding the CSRC’s cost structure, please feel free to contact Bettina Mittendorfer:

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