The mission of the National Research Resource for Imaging Mass Spectrometry (IMS) at Vanderbilt University is to advance IMS technology, to facilitate its application to significant biological and clinical problems, and to promote the adoption of these technologies by a larger community of scientists and clinicians. An important part of this mission is the development of new imaging instrumentation and capabilities that advance the technology significantly beyond its current capabilities and that simplify the imaging process, thereby increasing accessibility of the technology and facilitating the acquisition of excellent images by the non-expert user. As these advanced mass spectrometry technologies are applied to selected biological projects, the needs of these projects in turn push the need for further technology development. Through teaching and dissemination of the research done in carrying out this mission, resource scientists share their knowledge and experience with those new to the technology so that the latter may benefit. Overall, the activities performed in the Resource enable new insights into biology, leading to a better understanding of health and disease at the molecular level.
This National Research Resource for IMS was founded at the Vanderbilt University Mass Spectrometry Research Center (MSRC) in 2011 with funds provided by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The Resource resides on the 9th floor of Medical Research Building III and is one of the most comprehensive mass spectrometry facilities in the nation. The Resource has dedicated space of over 2000 sq. ft. and has access to 10 mass spectrometers. Twenty personnel work in the Resource labs on technology research and development (TRD) projects as well as driving biology projects (DBPs). Many significant developments in IMS have occurred over the last decade from work performed in the Resource.
The environment of the Resource is rich in the culture of mass spectrometry. The adjacent MSRC is currently staffed with 41 scientists (mass spectrometrists, biochemists, chemists, engineers, physicists, and clinicians) whose main activities reside in the Center and many of whom are involved in the Resource and the IMS program. This multidisciplinary team of experts is necessary to advance the technology development research and to interact effectively with scientists involved in the DBPs and other collaborations. There are many faculty level scientists on the staff of the MSRC, greatly facilitating the necessary training and dissemination activities ongoing in a National Resource.