Metabolomics at Georgetown University

Metabolomics

Metabolomics is the study of metabolites, the chemical products of metabolic pathways, which are deposited in the body’s biofluids and tissues. The composition and concentration of these metabolites vary in the body in response to injury, stress, and environmental stimuli. In our laboratories, we employ state of the art mass spectrometry to detect even the slightest changes in the concentration of metabolites in biological samples. The sensitivity and accuracy of modern mass spectrometers combined with our powerful and interactive statistical software have provided us with a unique ability to perform high-throughput, yet detailed, analysis of the metabolome. 

Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry Sytems (GC-MS)

The Metabolomics Shared Resource (MSR) here at GUMC has pioneered the development and use of metabolomics for many biomedical applications, and now has added state-of-the-art gas chromatography (GC) mass spectrometry (MS) by the recent award of an instrumentation grant by NIAID (NIH) to Prof. Al Fornace.  Drs. Cheema and Fornace co-direct the MSR (in PMSR) and they have primarily relied on liquid chromatography (LC) MS until now. While the current capability provides broad coverage of the metabolome, i.e. small molecules in a biologic sample, it has limitations in being able to efficiently assess many metabolites important in energy metabolism as well as various fatty acids and lipids that are important in many biologic processes. Additionally, the use of electron impact (EI) ionization vs. “soft” LC electrospray ionization reduces cost/analysis time by directly identifying compounds using a well-established NIST fragmentation library. The recently acquired Leco Pegasus HT GCxGC-TOF(time-of-flight)MS now expands the scope of metabolites that can be measured and will provide more comprehensive analyses of diverse biological samples.

This GC-MS is interfaced with the Gerstel autosampler that prevents sample-to-sample carryover. Additionally, the versatile system enables  efficient injection, head-space analysis, solid-phase micro-extraction and thermal desorption that contribute to high quality analyses of diverse biological samples.

Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry systems (LC-MS)

Dr. Albert J. Fornace Jr was recognized by Waters Corporation as a leader in metabolomics research and Georgetown University became part of the Waters Center of Innovation.

All the mass spectrometry instruments are coupled to an Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC). The Premier, Xevo G2, and SYNAPT G2-Si are utilized for profiling and tandem mass spectrometry, while the Xevo TQ-S is utilized for sensitive and absolute quantification.

 

Xevo G2

This cutting edge instrument allows for rapid identification and quantification of a broad range of compounds in complex biological samples.  MSE is a simple but powerful approach that delivers accurate mass precursor and fragment ion data for every detectable component.

Xevo G2-S QTOF

This newer generation Xevo G2 QToF offers greater sensitivity for the rapid identification and quantification of a broad range of compounds in complex biological samples.  MSE is a simple but powerful approach that delivers accurate mass precursor and fragment ion data for every detectable component.

Xevo TQ-S (2 instruments)

The ultimate in tandem quadrupole performance allows you to achieve quantitative data. The sensitivity, robustness, and ease of use make this instrument the perfect platform for MRM experiments and identification of structures of analytes, even at low concentrations. 

GCMS

GCMS Leco Pegasus HT

GCMS is useful analytical technique that combines mass spectrometry and gas chromatography for accurate measurement of volatile organic and inorganic compounds. Manufacturer supplied software with built-in spectral libraries makes GCMS makes for easy identification of compounds. Our Metabolics Shared Resources core has recently acquired a new Leco Pegasus HT GC-TOFMS, which will expand the range of metabolites that we will be able assess.