Cell Metabolism Core Laboratory

Justin Cross (Core Facility Head)

Cell Metabolism Core Laboratory

Justin Cross (Core Facility Head)



The Cell Metabolism Laboratory helps investigators characterize biological systems through the measurement of their small molecule constituents. Our primary areas of focus are cancer cell metabolism and understanding the gut microbiome.

We use a range of complementary GC-MS and LC-MS analytical platforms and can help with experimental design, data acquisition, analysis and interpretation. We also provide access non MS-technologies for the measurement of nutrient and oxygen consumption. 


Nutrient Consumption

Our YSI 7000 enzymatic analyzer can measure glucose, glutamine, and lactate levels in cell culture media and is used to determine cellular nutrient consumption rates.

Oxygen Consumption

A Seahorse XF96 Extracellular Flux Analyzer is available for the measurement of oxygen consumption and extracellular acidification.

Cell Growth and Viability

The ACEA xCELLigence MP platform monitors cellular proliferation and viability in real-time and a hypoxia chamber is available for maintaining cells at low oxygen tension.

Sample Preparation

We provide access to a instrumentation and protocols for sample disruption and metabolite extraction from cells, cell culture media, tissue, serum/plasma, urine and fecal samples. A Gerstel multipurpose prep station is available for chemical derivatization.

Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry

Two Agilent GC-MS systems with 5975 mass selective detectors are used to measure derivatized organic acids, amino acids, fatty acid methyl esters and short chain fatty acids. Methods are available for both relative and absolute quantitation.

Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry - Targeted

Our Agilent 6230 time-of-flight (TOF) LC-MS instrument is used for the relative quantitation of polar metabolites from cells, plasma and tissue extracts. Dedicated chromatography methods are used for distinct classes of metabolites, based upon their chemical characteristics. Dual Agilent 1290 high-pressure HPLC pumps allow sequential analysis by both reverse phase (RP) and aqueous normal phase (ANP) or HILIC chromatographic methods. A Thermo Vantage triple quadrupole LC-MS system with MayLab column switcher is also available for the targeted quantitation including AcylCoA profiling and the measurement of modified DNA bases such as methylcytosine and hydroxymethylcytosine.

Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry – Untargeted

Our Agilent 6550 Q-TOF is used for profiling applications in the fields of lipidomics and profiling of microbiome samples and bile acids. Strategies for untargeted data mining include a recursive feature finding workflow within Agilent MassHunter software and statistical analysis within Mass Profiler Professional software. The integration of data from other technologies, such as gene expression data or 16 ribosomal sequencing data, is also possible.

Isotope Tracing and Flux measurements

Studies using 13C and 15N stable isotope pathway tracing and local flux analysis are available.

Analytical Pharmacology

Our AB SCIEX API 4000 and Shimadzu HPLC with fluorescence and UV detection are used for targeted quantitation small molecule pharmaceuticals and bioactive lipids. We support preclinical and phase I/II clinical trials, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetic (DMPK) studies, drug metabolite identification and bioavailability studies.