William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor Director, Center for Biomedical Mass Spectrometry
The objective of our research is to establish the detailed structures of biopolymers in order to understand their structure-activity relationships as they influence or reflect biological processes related to health, growth and development, and disease. Our particular focus for new method development is on the needs of glycobiology, since carbohydrates and their conjugates (glycoproteins, glycolipids, etc.) are involved in targeting and immune system recognition, nervous system growth and development, infection, parasite response, carcinogenesis, and other critical processes. The techniques for full structural characterization of these complex molecules are much less developed than are methods for linear biopolymers (proteins and oligonucleotides). Recent introduction of new mass spectral ionization methods and rapid progress in means for mass separation and detection now make it possible to perform structural studies on low picomole amounts of samples even when they are complex mixtures. In our research program we are refining and extending the tools of mass spectrometry and are applying them to studies of biopolymers undertaken with collaborators at BUSM and other institutions around and outside the US. Our laboratory is a Resource Center sponsored by the NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences.