Metabolomics is the study of the low-molecular weight metabolites found in cells, tissues, and biological fluids. Chromatography coupled mass spectrometry and NMR are the most widely used methods in both broad-spectrum and targeted metabolomics. RTI scientists have been using GC/MS profiling methods since he 1980s. The Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) and Inorganics Core (Core) will support the RCMRC as needed to support individual Center projects using standardized approaches. Part of the Core reponsibilities will be to refine aspects of the methods and test them as needed to create the nationwide standards. If requested, we will provide assistance to plan optimal conditions for the collection, shipping, and storage of samples for both ongoing and planned feasibility projects. Samples will be received, processed, and stored, drawing on the resources of the RTI Biorepository for documentation and client transparency of chain of custody. We will conduct broad-spectrum and targeted analysis of endogenous metabolites in various biological matrices (cellular media, botanical samples, whole blood, plasma, serum, urine, feces, kidney, liver, glandular, and other tissues and fluids) using GC/MS, GC/TOF/MS, and 2D GC/TOF/MS. We also bring inorganic analysis capabilities to support metabolomics studies with an array of state-of-the-art atomic spectrometric instrumentation, including ICP/MS and LC/ICP/MS to provide broadspectrum and targeted trace element (Zn, Cu, Fe, Se, Cr, Mn, Mo, Co, V, etc.) profiles in biological matrices. Acquired data will be compiled and processed as defined jointly with the Center Management Team and the Data Repository and Coordinating Center. We will conduct statistical data analysis and metabolite identification. Finally, the Core will work to ensure adequate capacity and incorporate new capabilities as they are developed to meet ongoing client and collaborators needs. This will include working with the other cores to advance scientist training, to create a pipeline for Center sustainability, and to test and integrate into Core capabilities new instrumentation such as ion mobility, multidimensional GC with high resolution MS, and alternative data structures to enable cross-platform data integration.

Public Health Relevance

The GC/MS and Inorganics Core provides a key element of the overall metabolomics support provided by the RTI RCMRC using standardized methods. Through targeted and broad-spectrum analysis of volatile and semivolatile organic and inorganic metabolites, this core provides information that complements that generated by the NMR and LC/MS cores to enable a full spectrum of capabilities for metabolomics investigations.

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