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Richard M. Caprioli, Ph.D.

Director of the Mass Spectrometry Research Center, Department of Biochemistry

Stanley Cohen Professor of Biochemistry, Director of the Mass Spectrometry Research Center, Professor, Departments of Chemistry and Pharmacology


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.