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Richard Helm

Assoc Professor
Richard Helm
  • Lab: (540) 231-3799
  • VT-MSI: (540) 231-6420


Ph.D., Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1987

B.S., Paper Science Engineering, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 1982

Experience  (use format below)

  • January 2008 – present: Director, Virginia Tech Mass Spectrometry Incubator
  • January 2004 – present: Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
  • July 1997 – December 200: Associate Professor, Department of Wood Science and Forest Products, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
  • October 1992 – June 1997: Assistant Professor, Department of Wood Science and Forest Products, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

Courses Taught

  • BCHM 3114 – Biochem for Biotech
  • BCHM 4115 – General Biochemistry

Other Teaching and Advising 

  • Undergraduate Research
  • Pre-Med Advising

Program Focus

The laboratory works collaboratively with numerous groups on campus using mass spectrometry to help answer biological questions in all kingdoms of life.  Key areas of expertise are in the proteomics and metabolomics, or the analysis, identification and quantification of proteins and metabolites.  Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry is the main tool that we use to analyze samples for detecting and measuring levels of proteins and small molecules.

Current Projects

Plant-based Research: Modeling biological networks in Arabidopsis; metabolite profiling of transgenic poplar and soybeans.

Animal-based Research: Inter-cellular signaling in liver mimics; Development of a revised amino acid requirement system for bovine lactation; Lipid analysis of serum and animal tissues.

Microbial Research:  Analysis of the extracellular space of filamentous Cyanobacteria; Phenotypic predictions in Cyanobacteria, Proteomic analysis of Clostridium difficile and Bacillus subtilis.

  • Helm, R.F. and M. Potts. 2012. Extracellular Matrix (ECM). Chapter 18, 461-489. In: Ecology of Cyanobacteria II, Their Diversity in Space and Time. B.A. Whitton, ed., Springer Science. Link to Publication
  • Slade, W.O., W.K. Ray, P.M. Williams, B.S. Winkel, R.F. Helm. 2012. Effects of exogenous auxin  and ethylene on the Arabidopsis root proteome. Phytochemistry. 84:18-23. Link to Publication.
  • Bowerman, P.A., M.V. Ramirez, M.B. Price, R.F. Helm, B.S. Winkel. 2012. Analysis of T-DNA alleles of flavonoid biosynthesis genes in Arabidopsis ecotype Columbia. BMC Res. Notes. 5:485. Link to Publication.
  • Dogra, G., F.G. Purschke, V. Wagner, M. Haslbeck, T. Kriehuber, J.G. Hughes, M.L. Van Tassell, C. Gilbert, M. Niemeyer, W.K. Ray, R.F. Helm, B.E. Scharf. 2012. Sinorhizobium meliloti CheA complexed with CheS exhibits enhanced binding to CheY1, resulting in accelerated CheY1 dephosphorylation. J. Bacteriol. 194(5):1075-1087. Link to Publication.
  • Vallabhaneni P., W.K. Ray, B.S. Winkel, R.F. Helm. 2012. Characterization of flavonol glycosides in individual Arabidopsis root tips by flow injection electrospray mass spectrometry. Phytochemistry. 73(1):114-118. Link to Publication.
  • Lewis D.R., M.V. Ramirez, N.D. Miller, P. Vallabhaneni , W.K. Ray, R.F. Helm, B.S. Winkel, G.K. Muday. 2011. Auxin and ethylene induce flavonol accumulation through distinct transcriptional networks. Plant Physiol. 156(1):144-164. Link to Publication.
  • Helm R.F., J. Jervis, W.K. Ray, N. Willoughby, B. Irvin, J. Hastie, D.J. Schell, N. Nagle. 2010.  Mass spectral analyses of corn stover prehydrolysates to assess conditioning processes. J. Agric. Food Chem. 58(24):12642-12649. Link to Publication.
  • Oppenheimer M., M.B. Poulin, T.L. Lowary, R.F. Helm, P. Sobrado. 2010. Characterization of recombinant UDP-galactopyranose mutase from Aspergillus fumigatus. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 502(1):31-38. Link to Publication.
  • Ramakrishnan N., S. Tadepalli, L.T. Watson, R.F. Helm, M. Antoniotti, B. Mishra. 2010. Reverse engineering dynamic temporal models of biological processes and their relationships. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 107(28):12511-12516. Link to Publication.
  • Petrovick M.S., F.E. Nargi, T. Towle, K. Hogan, M. Bohane, D.J. Wright, T.H. MacRae, M. Potts, R.F. Helm. 2010. Improving the long-term storage of a mammalian biosensor cell line via genetic engineering. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 106(3):474-481. Link to Publication.
  • Oppenheimer M., B.S. Pierce, J.A. Crawford, W.K. Ray, R.F. Helm, P. Sobrado. 2010. Recombinant expression, purification, and characterization of ThmD, the oxidoreductase component of tetrahydrofuran monooxygenase. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 496(2):123-131. Link to Publication.
  • Barnoy S., K.I. Jeong, R.F. Helm, A.E. Suvarnapunya, R.T. Ranallo, S. Tzipori, M.M. Venkatesan. 2010. Characterization of WRSs2 and WRSs3, new second-generation virG(icsA)-based Shigella sonnei vaccine candidates with the potential for reduced reactogenicity.  Vaccine 28(6):1642-1654. Link to Publication.