Welcome to Mass Spectrometry

The new UTHSC Mass Spectrometry Core Laboratory will: (a) provide to funded UTHSC investigators state-of-the-art analytical methodologies; (c) train UTHSC research personnel; and (d) promote biological mass spectrometry to the UTHSC research community and other institutions. The center of this new UTHSC Core is the Charles B. Stout Neuroscience Mass Spectrometry Laboratory. The laboratory, headed by Dr. Dominic Desiderio, is an established university, national, and international mass spectrometry center that has conducted independent and collaborative research, and has provided mass spectrometry service to scientists at UTHSC and neighboring institutions for 28 years. The Associate Directors are Dr. Giorgianni, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology, and Sarka Beranova-Giorgianni, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences. A Technologist with expertise in mass spectrometry will conduct protein identification/ characterization experiments that include mass spectrometry measurements, database searches, and data interpretation. This MS Core will provide identification of proteins from 2D gel spots or from bands from 1D gels via MS/MS and searches of protein sequence databases.


  • Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) linear trap mass spectrometer; MALDI-LTQ (Thermoelectron)
  • Liquid chromatography-nanoelectrospray linear trap mass spectrometer; LC-nanoESI-LTQ (Thermoelectron)
  • Liquid chromatography-nanoelectrospray ion trap mass spectrometer; LCQDeca (Thermoelectron)
  • Liquid chromatography-nanoelectrospray quadrupole time-of-fl ight (QTOF) mass spectrometer; Q-TOF2 (Waters)
  • Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI TOF) mass spectrometer (Applied Biosystems). This user-friendly instrument provides the molecular weight (MW) of individual tryptic peptides in an unseparated protein digest.

Liquid Chromatography

Three nanoLC systems are interfaced with the mass spectrometers for online LCMS/ MS analyses: Surveyor nanoLC (Thermoelectron); FAMOS/SWITCHOS/Ultimate nanoLC (Dionex); and CapLC nanoLC (Waters). The Dionex system has multidimensional liquid chromatography (MDLC) capabilities.


Each mass spectrometer includes a computer for instrument control and data acquisition. In addition, there are four computers dedicated to database searches. Search engines for in-house database searches include two copies of SEQUEST Browser, and two copies of Bioworks 3.2. The Core will use free online bioinformatics resources such as MASCOT (free version), Expasy, and Scansite. The Core will provide support for currently funded UTHSC investigators through access to advanced MS instrumentation and expert assistance. The Core will help to initiate new research projects that will be enabled by state-of-the-art MS technologies and expertise. The Core will train students, postdoctoral fellows, and residents in mass spectrometry. Drs. Desiderio and Beranova-Giorgianni teach a course on the Basic Principles of Mass Spectrometry in the Department of Molecular Sciences, organize discussion groups, and present seminars to promote mass spectrometry and to attract new users.