Proteomics & Lipidomics Core


August 29, 2018

Proteomics & Lipidomics Core
Better understanding biochemical changes in specific diseases.

Dr. Calvin Vary, Director of the Proteomics & Lipidomics Core

The mass spectrometry facility houses state-of-the-art mass spectrometry equipment at Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI) and is at the center of the Proteomics and Lipidomics Core Facility.  In early 2000, MMCRI received its first mass analyzer (often referred to as “mass spec”).  Mass analyzers identify and characterize molecules based on their size, charge, and biochemical properties.

While the mass spectrometers are the lead work instruments in this core facility, they are not the only pieces of equipment —  they work in tandem with a liquid chromatography system or a sample infusion robotic workstation.  This analytical chemistry technique combines the physical separation capabilities of liquid chromatography with the mass analysis capabilities of mass spectrometry.  “Put simply, this equipment is crucial to protein and lipid discovery and measurement,” said Dr. Calvin Vary, Principal Investigator of the Vary Lab, and Director of the Proteomics & Lipidomics Core Facility.  As a result, this core facility plays a key role in better understanding biochemical changes in specific diseases.

The Proteomics and Lipidomics Core is unique to Northern New England because of its ability to provide the instrumentation as well as focused biomolecular analysis and quantitation using the latest software applications. This core facility is utilized by MMCRI scientists to help identify how proteins function, determine what target proteins are in vascular disease, analyze changes in the lipid composition of heart tissue, and protein changes associated with atherosclerosis.

The core facility is also open to external users as well.   For example, Tufts Medical Center, University of Vermont, Jackson Laboratory, and clinicians at Maine Medical Center have used the core facility to aid in their research.

Fortunately, Dr. Vary has assistance in the core facility, two Research Associates, Barbara Conley and Eric Tweedie, help prepare the samples before they go to the mass spec.  Kieran Wynne has recently joined the group, bringing his broad experience with mass spectrometric instrumentation.   This core facility is busy year round with the preparation, instrumentation and the software analysis.  Specific services include:

• Nano-liquid chromatography

• Protein identification and quantitation using SWATH

• Protein post translational modification identification

• Lipid profiling and identification (MS/MSALL)

• Targeted multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) for lipids

“This is like a molecular code breaker really – it takes a string of information and tells you what it means.”  Dr. Vary went on to say he continues to be excited about the work and the future as the, “Proteomics and Lipidomics core provides new insight into biochemistry of disease processes.”

For more information about the Proteomics & Lipidomics Core at MMCRI, services, and pricing, please contact Dr. Vary at or visit