New VA grant enables UofL proteomics core to expand research, diagnostic capabilities


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Proteomics Biomarkers Discovery Core laboratory at the University of Louisville has been awarded $375,000 by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help purchase a highly sophisticated piece of equipment to expand the lab’s research and diagnostic capabilities.

    The Shared Equipment Evaluation Program (ShEEP) grant from the VA enables the lab to purchase a new mass spectrometer for qualitative and quantitative protein assessment, protein sequencing, glycomic and lipidomic analysis and mass spectral tissue imaging, said Jon Klein, M.D., Ph.D., director of the lab and principal investigator on the grant. The remaining $125,000 needed to purchase the spectrometer has been provided by the university’s School of Medicine.

    Currently, the lab – part of UofL’s Center for Environmental Genomics and Integrative Biology – has three mass spectrometers, each with varying degrees of qualitative or quantitative capabilities. “The new mass spectrometer purchased with funds from this grant will give us both a high level of sophistication in analysis as well as a high degree of productivity. In short, it gives us both quality and quantity in mass spectrometry, something we need to take our research and diagnostic capabilities to the next level,” said Klein, who holds the James Graham Brown Foundation Endowed Chair in Proteomics.

    The ShEEP grant was obtained with the endorsement of the Louisville VA hospital, Robley Rex VA Medical Center. “The long standing partnership between the Louisville VA and UofL has grown substantially over the last two decades with annual combined support of over $4.5 million in federal funding for UofL faculty with VA appointments. Dr. Klein and his colleagues have been leading clinician investigators with appointments at both institutions, and this marks the sixth such award, which requires a combined commitment from both VA and UofL,” said William Cheadle, M.D., associate chief of staff for research and development at the Louisville VA.

    The ShEEP program is managed by the VA’s Veterans Health Administration Office of Research and Development. It is specifically designed to provide common resources or shared equipment to support biomedical research that benefits veterans.

    “This award provides exciting opportunities for UofL and VA scientists to greatly expand our research capabilities,” Dr. William Pierce, interim executive vice president for research at UofL, said. “This research will allow a greater understanding of fundamental biochemical mechanisms as well as changes that occur in disease states. Importantly, the diagnostic capabilities this equipment provides will allow for earlier detection and treatment of disease before irreversible damage has occurred.”

    About a dozen UofL faculty who also provide care to VA patients will initially utilize the new mass spectrometer, which is scheduled to be installed in September. Six of these faculty members currently have VA-funded grants supporting their research and also are among the UofL faculty who provide clinical care to VA patients. They include:

    Jill Scoggins is Director of Communications at UofL's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. She has been at UofL since 2010.