Abstract by Isabella James

Personal Infomation

Presenter's Name

Isabella James



Degree Level



Mercede Erickson

Abstract Infomation


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Faculty Advisor

John Price, Paul Farnsworth


Development of Ambient Mass Spectrometry Imaging Techniques to Map Spatially Resolved Lipid Metabolism in Mouse Brains


The greatest risk factors for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) are associated with lipid metabolism, in fact the disease can be viewed as the result of abnormal lipid metabolism in the brain. Imaging the metabolism of different lipids in and around areas of the brain affected by neurodegeneration would shed light on the role of lipid metabolism in AD. Using metabolic labeling with deuterated water, we can image spatially resolved lipid concentrations and turnover rates on brain tissue sliecs with DESI (desorption electrospray ionization) mass spectrometry. However, cholesterol levels are one of the most important risk factors for AD, and DESI cannot ionize cholesterol due to its low proton affinity. We are developing a DBD (dielectric barrier discharge) ionization source that has successfully detected cholesterol from standards and from brain tissue slices. Using these two methods of mass spectrometry imaging, we will be prepared to compare lipid metabolism in AD and healthy brains, which will improve our understanding of the metabolic changes associated with AD.