Virginia Tech® home

Richard Helm

Associate Professor
  • Director of VT-Mass Spectrometry Incubator
  • Research area(s): Using Mass-Spectrometry to Answer Questions
Richard Helm
211B Steger Hall


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

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


  • January 2019 - Faculty Fellow for Shared Life Science Resources
    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 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

Current Funded Collaborative Projects:

  • Neuraminc acid levels in beef
  • Hellbender salamander proteomics and metabolomics (NSF #1755055)
  • Specificity of chemotaxis-driven motility in Sinorhizobium meliloti host interaction (NSF #1817652)
  • Chemo-Proteomic Discovery of Lipases in Asexual and Sexual Erythrocytic Stages of Plasmodium faciparum (NIH 5R21AI133136-02)
  • Molecular basis for the Reciprocal Regulation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Virulence Factors by the Signaling Kinase RetS (NIH 5R21AI128255-02)
  • 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.

Dr. Helm's PubMed Site

Dr. Helm's Google Scholar Site

Liu L, Yi J, Ray WK, Vu LT, Helm RF, Siegel PB, Cline MA, Gilbert ER. Fasting differentially alters the hypothalamic proteome of chickens from lines with the propensity to be anorexic or obese. Nutr Diabetes. 2019 Apr 1;9(1):13. doi:10.1038/s41387-019-0081-1. PubMed PMID: 30931934; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC6443654.

Mancl JM, Ray WK, Helm RF, Schubot FD. Helix Cracking Regulates the Critical Interaction between RetS and GacS in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Structure. 2019 May 7;27(5):785-793.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2019.02.006. Epub 2019 Mar 14. PubMed PMID: 30879888.

Chen Y, Barat B, Ray WK, Helm RF, Melville SB, Popham DL. Membrane Proteomes and Ion Transporters in Bacillus anthracis and Bacillus subtilis Dormant and Germinating Spores. J Bacteriol. 2019 Feb 25;201(6). pii: e00662-18. doi: 10.1128/JB.00662-18. Print 2019 Mar 15. PubMed PMID: 30602489; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6398275.