Core Facilities Spotlight: Mass Spectrometry

Mass spectrometers are ultra-sensitive analytical instruments that identity chemicals (charged molecules) based on an extremely accurate measurement of their mass. Modern state-of-the-art mass spectrometers are versatile “wonder instruments” capable of identifying everything from a mixture of small molecules in relatively pure form to the total identity of every single protein and small molecule found in blood or living cells.  Advances in design, sensitivity, speed and accuracy have made mass spectrometers indispensable instruments for modern biology, biochemistry and experimental medicine.   UMKC is fortunate to have two mass spectrometry facilities, one housed in the School of Biological Sciences and one in the School of Pharmacy.

Both mass spectrometer facilities serve users across many academic areas within UMKC. The mass spectrometry and proteomics facility located in the School of Biological Sciences also serves our partners at Children’s Mercy Hospital and is a cost-recovery core available to users outside of the university as well.

Professor Andrew Keightley, Director of the SBS Mass Spectrometry Facility maintains and operates all of the SBS-housed equipment, prepares samples, and provides users with guidance and database access to analyze their data. Users may submit samples for turn-key service or work more intimately in any of the stages of their study.  The facility houses a number of spectrometers but the gem of the SBS facility is a newly acquired Thermo Fisher Q Exactive hybrid quadrupole orbitrap mass spectrometer.  This state-of-the-art instrument functions across a full range of applications including everything from protein identification and sequence analysis to total cell protein analysis as well as highly sensitive analytic and semi quantitative applications.

Professor William Gutheil oversees the School of Pharmacy facility, which houses an AB Sciex 3200 QTrap instrument. This instrument has triple quadruple capability for quantitative analysis applications as well as linear ion trap capability for high sensitivity qualitative analysis applications.  The instrument is superbly designed for application on smaller biomolecules and serves as a nice compliment to the instruments housed in SBS.


UMKC operates a number of core facilities that support the research efforts of our faculty including, a state of the art mass spectrometry and proteomics facility, a microscopic and confocal imaging facility and the Laboratory Animal Research Center, to name a few.