UNC Metabolomics Laboratory

The Metabolomics laboratory is located in the Center for Drug Safety Sciences at the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, 13 miles away from UNC in Research Triangle Park, and houses a 600MHz NMR system. This instrument has four probes that allow different types of analyses.  The inverse detection probe is used for standard biofluid samples.  The broadband probe is used for higher sensitivity detection of nuclei such as 13C and 31P for isotope tracer studies and analyses of energy balance.  A 10 mm broadband probe is used for the real-time analysis of intact tissues and perfused cells in a NMR-compatible bioreactor, generating real-time kinetics of ATP or 13C-labeled nutrients using 31P and 13C NMR.  The micro-coil probe allows for the analysis of samples with volumes down to 10 microliters to be studied.  This is a flow probe in that the samples are not placed in separate tubes, but are injected directly into the probe via an automated micro-capillary fluidics system.  This probe is ideal for very low volume samples such as cell extracts or extracts from very small amounts of tissues.  It is also ideal for highly dilute samples that can be concentrated such as exhaled breath condensate.

High throughput capabilities are available using the 100 sample automation robot for tube based samples or the high throughput fluidics system for the micro-coil probe.  The latter can take samples from either vials or well-plate formats and inject them directly into the probe and then recover the samples after analysis.  The lab has acquired state of the art software for data acquisition and processing along with suites of both commercial and home written software for data reduction and pattern recognition analysis, as well as quantitative measurement of metabolite concentration and 13C isotopomer (i.e., isotope isomers) fractional enrichment. Some specific 13C analyses complementing NORC/UNC Core facilities is a new metabolic assay using 2-13C-glycine as a substrate to quantify cellular compartmentation of one-carbon metabolism and mitochondrial redox state (Johnson et al., 2012)

Johnson, C.B., Tikunov, A. P., Lee, H., Wolak, J.E., Pediaditakis, P., Romney, D., Holmuhamedov, E., Gamcsik, M.P., J.M. Macdonald (2012). 13C MRS Detection of changes in serine isotopomers reflects changes in mitochondrial redox status. Magn. Reson. Med. 68:671-679.


For more information, please visit the UNC Metabolomics Laboratory website or contact: 

Jeffrey M. Macdonald, PhD
Faculty Director UNC Metabolomics Laboratory
Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
UNC School of Medicine
T: (919) 943-5154
E: jeffrey_macdonald@med.unc.edu

* Please inform Dr. Macdonald that you are a member of the NORC research base.

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Service Request Form

To request services from the UNC Metabolomics Laboratory, please complete the online service request form.