VA grant to expand U of L proteomics research capabilities
$375,000 award, plus university's matching support, will fund new mass spectrometer
A $375,000 VA grant will help U of L researchers purchase a new mass spectrometer to expand proteomics research.
The Proteomics Biomarkers Discovery Core laboratory at the University of Louisville has been awarded $375,000 by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help purchase a highly sophisticated piece of equipment to expand the lab's research and diagnostic capabilities.
According to Jon Klein, M.D., Ph.D., director of the lab and principal investigator on the grant, the Shared Equipment Evaluation Program (ShEEP) grant from the VA enables the lab to purchase a new mass spectrometer for qualitative and quantitative protein assessment, protein sequencing, glycomic and lipidomic analysis and mass spectral tissue imaging.
"The new mass spectrometer purchased with funds from this grant will give us both a high level of sophistication in analysis as well as a high degree of productivity," Klein said. "In short, it gives us both quality and quantity in mass spectrometry, something we need to take our research and diagnostic capabilities to the next level."
The remaining $125,000 needed to purchase the spectrometer has been provided by the university's School of Medicine.
Currently, the lab – part of U of L's Center for Environmental Genomics and Integrative Biology – has three mass spectrometers, each with varying degrees of qualitative or quantitative capabilities.
"The uses of this instrument are varied, but all are focused on the care of veteran patients and the unique medical needs they have," Klein said. "The VA Office of Research and Development has a long and remarkable history, and whenever universities are closely affiliated with VA research, everyone benefits. We are appreciative of both the VA ShEEP program and the University of Louisville in making it possible to acquire this new equipment."
The ShEEP grant was obtained with the endorsement of Louisville's Robley Rex Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
"The long standing partnership between the Louisville VA and U of L has grown substantially over the last two decades with annual combined support of over $4.5 million in federal funding for U of L faculty with VA appointments," said William Cheadle, M.D., associate chief of staff for research and development at the Louisville VA. "Dr. Klein and his colleagues have been leading clinician investigators with appointments at both institutions, and this marks the sixth such award, which requires a combined commitment from both VA and U of L"
The ShEEP program is managed by the VA’s Veterans Health Administration Office of Research and Development. It is specifically designed to provide common resources or shared equipment to support biomedical research that benefits veterans.
"This award provides exciting opportunities for U of L and VA scientists to greatly expand our research capabilities," Dr. William Pierce Jr., interim executive vice president for research at U of L, said. “This research will allow a greater understanding of fundamental biochemical mechanisms as well as changes that occur in disease states. Importantly, the diagnostic capabilities this equipment provides will allow for earlier detection and treatment of disease before irreversible damage has occurred."
Approximately 12 U of L faculty members who also provide care to VA patients will initially utilize the new mass spectrometer, which is scheduled to be installed in September.
Six of these faculty members currently have VA-funded grants supporting their research and also are among the U of L faculty who provide clinical care to VA patients. They include:
Klein, whose research centers on diabetic kidney disease.
Craig J. McClain, M.D., director of the U of L Clinical Translational Research Institute, who researches physiological factors involved in alcoholic and other liver diseases.
Eleanor D. Lederer, M.D., FASN, Chief of the U of L Division of Nephrology, whose research centers on renal disease and kidney stones.
Michael Brier, Ph.D., professor of medicine, a researcher in drug dosing requirements.
Kenneth R. McLeish, M.D., director of the Division of Nephrology Research Laboratories who studies acute kidney injury.
Klein added that the mass spectrometer also will enable U of L to "accomplish our goal of providing proteomic services to other (VA-funded) investigators located in Lexington and Cincinnati. These VA research facilities are within 110 miles of our laboratory and have active research programs that can utilize mass spectrometry."