The $10.9 million grant to establish a center in Lipidomics and Pathobiology supports MUSC investigators in their efforts to understand the role of a class of fatty molecules, known as sphingolipids in regulating cell growth, cell death and cell aging. The five-year Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Craig E. Crosson, Senior Associate Dean for Research, is principal investigator for the grant.

The center emphasizes the mentoring of junior faculty and the development of specific shared research facilities for use by the entire MUSC research community.

The Lipidomics Core Facility builds on unique expertise at MUSC in sphingolipid biology, chemistry and analysis and their role in signal transduction and cell regulation. This expertise supports the facility's pivotal role in MUSC's COBRE in Lipidomics and Pathobiology. Sphingolipid metabolism assumes a key role in the complex mechanisms regulating cellular stress responses to environmental changes. Several sphingolipid metabolites act as bioactive molecules, and their individual contribution to the regulatory pathways that govern cell growth are being established.This offers promises for new molecular insights into tumor growth and metastasis and emphasizes the needs to analyze sphingolipid components, examine sphingolipid chemistry and regulation of sphingolipid metabolic pathways. Monitoring changes in sphingolipid composition in normal and cancer environments will provide one of the missing links in the search for a novel and effective therapy. The Lipidomics Core Facility provides expertise, analysis and synthetic molecular tools to examine the role of sphingolipids in cancer research.


The Lipidomics Core Facility focuses on three key areas:

  • Assisting investigators in the experimental design and selection of lipids of interest, and interpretation of the analytical data.
  • Analyzing different tumor tissue and cancer cell lines for their contents of the key sphingolipids known to play a significant role in signal transduction, cell proliferation and induction of cell death.
  • Providing homogenic synthetic sphingolipids and their analogs for use in cellular, in vitro and in vivo studies in cancer research.

Analytical Subcore

The Lipidomics Analytical Subcore performs qualitative (compound identification) and quantitative analysis at the basal levels as well as in response to chemotherapeutic agents. Analytical approaches are based on the liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) methodology. LC/MS is a very sensitive and specific analytical methodology, which can be applicable to a broad spectrum of diversified chemical compositions of sphingolipids. more...

Synthetic Subcore

The Lipidomics Synthetic Subcore provides homogenic synthetic sphingolipids and their analogs for use in cellular, in vitro and in vivo studies in cancer research. Please click Services and Prices to view the lipids currently provided by this subcore.


  • ThermoFinnigan TSQ 7000™ triple-stage quadrupole mass spectrometer with outstanding sensitivity for improved detection limits.
  • ThermoFinnigan LCQDUO ion trap mass spectrometer with unsurpassed sensitivity.
  • SCIEX Q-Trap, triple quadrupole/ion trap combination instrument with outstanding sensitivity for improved detection limit. These instruments use dual ionization mode: electrospray ionization (ESI) and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI).