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Katrina L. Leaptrot

Postdoctoral Scholar, The McLean Group


Vanderbilt University (Tennessee) – Ph.D. in Chemistry
University of Charleston (West Virginia) – B.S. in Biology and Chemistry



Katie graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Charleston (West Virginia) and was named Senior of the Year in May 2011. Her undergraduate research under Dr. Xiaoping Sun focused on spectroscopic study of the uranyl ion in various aqueous media.

Katie completed her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Vanderbilt University in 2018 under the direction of Prof. John A. McLean. Her graduate projects included the design of a novel, spatially multiplexed ion mobility spectrometer and conformational analyses of lipids with ion mobility-mass spectrometry.

Katie began her postdoctoral work with Prof. John A. McLean in 2018, when her research focus shifted to analyses of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in non-aqueous phase liquid waste by liquid chromatography-ion mobility-mass spectrometry. She has also continued the lipid studies from her graduate work and extended them to include fatty acids.



Postdoc Honorable Mention Award (2020), Vanderbilt Postdoctoral Association and Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, Vanderbilt University

Best Poster Award (2019), Vanderbilt Postdoctoral Association Symposium, Vanderbilt University

1st Place Knovel Academic Challenge (2015), Elsevier

Award for Top Presentation (2013), 29th International Symposium on MicroScale Bioseparations, University of Virginia

Graduate Research Fellowship Program Honorable Mention (2013), National Science Foundation

Mitchum Warren Graduate Fellowship (2012-2013), Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology Fellowship (2011), Vanderbilt University



Harris R.A., Leaptrot K.L., May J.C., McLean J.A. New frontiers in lipidomics analyses using structurally selective ion mobility-mass spectrometry, Trends Anal. Chem., 2019, 116:316-323.

Morris C.B., May J.C., Leaptrot K.L., McLean J.A. Evaluating Separation Selectivity and Collision Cross Section Measurement Reproducibility in Helium, Nitrogen, Argon, and Carbon Dioxide Drift Gases for Drift Tube Ion Mobility-Mass Spectrometry, J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 2019, (6):1059-1068.

Leaptrot K.L., May J.C., Dodds J.N., McLean J.A. Ion mobility conformational lipid atlas for high confidence lipidomics, Nat. Commun. 2019, 10(1):985.

Picache J.A., Rose B.S., Balinski A., Leaptrot K.L., Sherrod S.D., May J.C., McLean J.A. Collision cross section compendium to annotate and predict multi-omic compound identities, Chem. Sci. 2018, 10(4):983-993.

May J.C., Goodwin C.R., Lareau N.M., Leaptrot K.L., Morris C.B., Kurulugama R.T., Mordehai A., Klein C., Barry W., Darland E., Overney G., Imatani K., Stafford G.C., Fjeldsted J.C., McLean J.A., Conformational Ordering of Biomolecules in the Gas-Phase: Nitrogen Collision Cross-Sections Measured on a Prototype High Resolution Drift Tube Ion Mobility-Mass Spectrometer, Anal. Chem.  2014, 86(4): 2107-2116.

Sun X., Leaptrot K.L., Effects of Various Ligands on Spectroscopic Properties of the Uranyl Ion, J. Undergrad. Chem. Res. 2011, 10: 162-165.

Sun X., Haas D., McWilliams S., Smith B., Leaptrot K.L., Investigations on the Lewis-acids-catalysed electrophilic aromatic substitution reactions of thionyl chloride and selenyl chloride, the substituent effects, and the reaction mechanisms, J. Chem. Res. 2013, 37(12):736-744.



02.28.2019 “New lipid shape atlas holds key to early disease detection” in Research News @ Vanderbilt, Phys OrgScienceDaily