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Director

Richard M. Caprioli

Director, Mass Spectrometry Research Core, Department of Biochemistry

Richard M. Caprioli is the Stanford Moore Chair in Biochemistry and Director of the Mass Spectrometry Research Center at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.  He is also currently Professor in the Departments of Chemistry, Medicine and Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University.  Dr. Caprioli received his B.S. in 1965 from Columbia University in New York, N.Y., his Ph.D. in 1969 in Biochemistry, also at Columbia University with Professor David Rittenberg.  He did a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at Purdue University with Professor John H. Beynon.  In 1970, he was appointed as Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at Purdue.  In 1975, Dr. Caprioli moved to the University of Texas Medical School in Houston where he was Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Director of the Analytical Chemistry Center until his move to Nashville in early 1998.

Professor Caprioli is interested in the use of mass spectrometry for the analysis of compounds in biological systems.  Current work includes the use of electrospray and laser desorption ionization methods with biological tissues and samples.  Applications have focused on the development of this instrumentation and associated methodologies to achieve ultra-high sensitivity detection of endogenous compounds (e.g., neuropeptides) in live animal systems. Recent work involves the development of Imaging Mass Spectrometry, a technique whereby molecular images of peptides, proteins, drugs and other compounds are localized in tissue sections with molecular weight specificity. This method involves molecular mapping of animal tissue through the production of ion images obtained from the analysis of mammalian tissue.  Applications to specific research areas involve questions about certain spatial distributions of molecules within specific tissues, e.g., mapping proteins in cancer tissue.  Specific applications include human glioblastomas, breast cancer, colorectal cancer and lung cancer.

Dr. Caprioli has been a member of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry since 1975; he served two years each as President of the Society and Vice-President for Programs.  He is a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the American Chemical Society.  Professor Caprioli has been the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Mass Spectrometry since 1990.  He is currently co-editing several volumes and is Series Editor of Encyclopedia of Mass Spectrometry. He has published over 300 scientific papers, including three books.   In 2003, Dr. Caprioli received the Thomson Medal Award from the International Mass Spectrometry Society for “for outstanding achievements in mass spectrometry and for distinguished service to international mass spectrometry.”  He received the Field and Franklin Award from the American Chemical Society in April, 2006 for Outstanding Achievement in Mass Spectrometry.


Administrative Staff

A. Diane Denson

Research Analyst II, Department of Biochemistry


Research Staff

N. Heath Patterson

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry


Jeffrey Spraggins

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry

Jeff is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and is a member of the Mass Spectrometry Research Center at Vanderbilt University. He received his B.A. in Chemistry from the College of Wooster and his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Delaware (2009), where he studied gas-phase fragmentation mechanisms of modified biomolecules in addition to developing new Problem-Based Learning activities for undergraduate and high school science students.  After completing his postdoctoral work with Prof. Richard Caprioli he stayed on as a research faculty member at Vanderbilt University. His research focuses on developing new mass spectrometric technologies to enhance biomolecular imaging experiments. Specifically, he is working on expanding the application of MALDI FTICR MS and High-Speed MALDI-TOF MS for the spatial analysis of metabolites, lipids, peptides and intact proteins in biological tissues.


Postdoctoral Fellows

Martin Dufresne

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Mass Spectrometry


Graduate Students

Marisa Jones

Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry


Josiah C. McMillen

Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry


William J. Perry

Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry


Daniel Ryan

Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry