Basic and translation research in behavioral neuroscience are addressing a number of questions that represent a large portion of the of today's largest public health burden imposed by such conditions as addiction, obesity, aging, and mental health disorders. The study of these topics in humans and animal models is crucial for advancing our understanding with the goal of developing new treatment paradigms and medicines. Measurement of small molecules and peptides as regulators of these states is crucial for obtaining this goal. However, valid quantitative strategies are often limited or non-existent for the most relevant models and cross- species comparison of these measures is challenging because measurements are often based on systems that are susceptible to biological matrix interferences. The use of triple quadrupole mass spectrometers is the gold standard for quantitation and provides sensitive and specific molecular measures that are species independent. The Biomarkers Core Laboratory requests funds for the acquisition of a triple quadrupole LC-MS system for the analysis of small molecules such as neurotransmitters, steroids, and peptides. The requested mass spectrometer will support a group of 11 major users at Emory University and analyze an estimated 15,000 biological samples per year. It will be housed in the Biomarkers Core Laboratory which, as an existing core facility, provides research support to a large group of researchers both at Emory and on a national level. The goal for this instrumentation is to provide the ability to access biologically relevant results for Core investigators that would be otherwise unattainable due to sample volume limitations and restrictions inherent to traditional molecular measures. Successful establishment of this instrumentation will enhance multiple research programs at Emory University and nationally, providing the ability to have a direct impact on human health and opening new avenues of biomedical research.
The Biomarkers Core Laboratory at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center functions as a national resource for research support and requests a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer to enhance their support capabilities. The instrumentation will be used for advanced quantitative monitoring of naturally occurring molecules for a broad spectrum of public health challenges including autism, post-traumatic stress, drug addiction, obesity, and genetic diseases.