Mass Spectrometry Group
Tertiary Structures of Proteins
The underlying theme of the Mass Spectrometry Group´s research efforts has been the structural characterization of biomolecules involved in the body´s immunological and inflammatory responses to environmental exposures. As the immune system is challenged, a number of different innate and adaptive immunological responses can occur. These responses include complement activation, production of antibodies, regulation of protein levels and activities, changes in levels of pro- or anti-inflammatory small molecules, and complement activation. Each of these responses is regulated by additional levels of complexity where multiple events occur, including the recruitment of protein partners, synthesis of second messengers, posttranslational modifications (PTMs) of proteins, and repair of biological damage. To address these questions, the group developed and applied new techniques. Examples of techniques in which the Group was instrumental in development and application include nanoscale capillary liquid chromatography, direct analysis of affinity-bound analytes by MALDI/MS, on-line microdialysis/MS/MS and on-line capillary electrophoresis/MS. Broadly categorized, our major applications have included: the characterization of the primary sequence, PTMs, and tertiary structures of proteins, the determination of the recognition surfaces involved in protein:protein interactions (e.g., epitope mapping), and small molecule quantitation. Dr. Tomer retired at the end of 2011, but remains actively engaged in the transition of the Mass Spectrometry Group to its new organization as the Mass Spectrometry Collaborative Facility, as well as involved in continued mentoring of Fellows as they transition to the next stage in their careers.
Kenneth B. Tomer, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator - Retired
Kenneth B. Tomer, Ph.D., is the head of the Mass Spectrometry Group. He has authored more than 290 peer-reviewed research papers and more than 30 reviews and book chapters. He earned a B.S. in chemistry from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Colorado in 1970. Prior to joining NIEHS in 1986, he was Associate Director of the Midwest Center for Mass Spectrometry/Assoc. Research Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Nebraska. He retired on Dec. 31, 2011.