Department of Biochemistry


Our Mission

The Mass Spectrometry Research Incubator (VT-MSI) is an open facility that supports Virginia Tech's research infrastructure as a mass spectrometry analysis and education center. The facility provides the tools and skills needed for answering key questions in chemical and life sciences research.


About the Facility

The VT-MSI is designed to serve both funded research and proposal development efforts. As a collaborative research "incubator" we seek to develop and expand mass spectrometry-based proteomic and metabolomic efforts on the VT campus. We provide training in the areas of sample preparation, instrument operation and data analysis, with strong emphasis on the metadata and analytical requirements for publication of metabolomic and proteomic results.  

Funding for the facility operations is provided in large part by the Department of Biochemistry and the Fralin Life Science Institute. Other key contributors include ICTAS and the Departments of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Human Nutrition Foods and Exercise, and Plant Pathology and Weed Science.

Those interested in proteomic or metabolomic work are strongly encouraged to contact the VT-MSI before embarking on proposal development, experimental design and/or sample collection. 

Recent Publications with the VT-MSI


Slade WO, Ray WK, Hildreth SB, Winkel BSJ, Helm RF. Exogenous Auxin Elicits Changes in the Arabidopsis thaliana Root Proteome in a Time-Dependent Manner. Proteomes. 5 [2017]. pii: E16. PubMed: 28698516; PMCID: PMC5620533.


Vu LT, Orbach SM, Ray WK, Cassin ME, Rajagopalan P, Helm RF. The hepatocyte proteome in organotypic rat liver models and the influence of the local microenvironment. Proteome Sci. 15 [2017] 12. PubMed: 28649179; PMCID: PMC5480101.


Miller DV, Ruhlin M, Ray WK, Xu H, White RH. N(5), N(10)-methylenetetrahydromethanopterin reductase from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii also serves as a methylglyoxal reductase. FEBS Lett. 591 [2017] 2269-2278. PubMed: 28644554.


Webb BA, Compton K, Castañeda Saldaña R, Arapov TD, Keith Ray W, Helm RF, Scharf BE. Sinorhizobium meliloti chemotaxis to quaternary ammonium compounds is mediated by the chemoreceptor McpX. Mol. Microbiol. 103 [2017] 333-346. PubMed: 27748981.


Velander P, Wu L, Ray WK, Helm RF, Xu B. Amylin amyloid inhibition by flavonoid baicalein: Key roles of its vicinal dihydroxyl groups of the catechol moiety. Biochemistry. 55 [2016] 4255-4258. PubMed: 27431615.


Berardi AE, Hildreth SB, Helm RF, Winkel BS, Smith SD. Evolutionary correlations in flavonoid production across flowers and leaves in the Iochrominae (Solanaceae). Phytochemistry. 130 [2016] 119-127. PubMed: 27291343.


Liu H, Ray WK, Helm RF, Popham DL, Melville SB. Analysis of the spore membrane proteome in Clostridium perfringens implicates cyanophycin in spore assembly. J. Bacteriol. 198 [2016] 1773-1782. PubMed: 27068591


Webb BA, Helm RF, Scharf BE. Contribution of individual chemoreceptors to Sinorhizobium meliloti chemotaxis towards amino acids of host and nonhost seed exudates. Mol. Plant Microbe Interact. 29 [2016] 231-239. PubMed: 26713349.


Wang A, Duncan SE, Knowlton KF, Ray WK, Dietrich AM. Milk protein composition and stability changes affected by iron in water sources. J. Dairy Sci. 99 [2016] 4206-4219. PubMed: 27060822.


Jervis J, Kastl C, Hildreth SB, Biyashev R, Grabau EA, Saghai-Maroof MA, Helm RF. Metabolite profiling of soybean seed extracts from near-isogenic low and normal phytate lines using orthogonal separation strategies. J. Agric. Food Chem. 63 [2015] 9879-9887. PubMed: 26487475.

Jervis J, Hildreth SB, Sheng X, Beers EP, Brunner AM, Helm RF. A metabolomic assessment of NAC154 transcription factor overexpression in field grown poplar stem wood. Phytochemistry. 115 [2015] 112-120. PubMed: 25771508.