Core B - Analytical Core

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The overall goal of the Analytical Core is to facilitate high-quality, high-impact research products in support of the University of Iowa Superfund Research Program (ISRP) such as data, methods, and peer-reviewed publications. The Analytical Core (AC) provides both routine and non-routine analytical services including expert staff, analytical methods, equipment, and instrumentation to enable research discoveries and fulfill the mission of the ISRP. Its Aims are:

Aim 1. Maintain analytical quality assurance standards and protocols.

Aim 2. Facilitate high-throughput analysis in complex biotic and abiotic matrices.

Aim 3. Provide prioritized training and access to AC facilities.

Aim 4. Support method development for complex matrices.

Aim 5. Maintain analytical infrastructure.


2020 Progress

In 2020, the Analytical Core provided support for fourteen studies using the Priority Analysis Plan approach.  These fourteen studies have completed a Priority Analysis Plan that describes the instruments, personnel, and other research support needed (Table 1).  The plans identify the trainees who are conducting the research, the instruments they are using, the type of sample they are handling, the analytes the study is addressing, and the specific support role the Analytical Core is providing the study.  The priority plans require investigators to provide preliminary titles for the manuscript expected as well.  In 2020, the Analytical Core supported studies from Project 1, Project 3, Project 4, Project 5 and several studies from Projects that were completed in 2020 (old Project 3 led by Mike Duffel, old Project 7 led by Peter Thorne).

Table 1. Active Priority Analysis Plans that the Analytical Core is supporting as of November 10, 2020.

The Analytical Core collaborates closely with the Synthesis Core (SC) and the Data Management and Analysis Core (DMAC).  This is enabled through weekly meetings organized by Dr Rachel Marek, co-Investigator of the Analytical Core.  Dr. Marek held 39 such meetings in 2020 (as of November 10, 20202).  Approximately half were held by zoom.  Typical attendance is 20-25 people.  In 2020, DMAC investigators attended every meeting and frequently led the discussion for the hourly meeting.  The agendas are released prior to every meeting and updated as minutes.  The agendas are archived in a shared directory accessible to every researcher named on a Priority Analysis Plan, as well as the PIs.

Common agenda items for the weekly joint meeting included: updates on instruments and laboratory functions; presentation of statistical methods and strategies; presentation of preliminary results; practice talks for upcoming meetings, and proposals for a DMAC Priority Analysis Plan.  For example, the Synthesis Core led a meeting to describe a new analytical resource provided for the ISRP: a calibration standard for a new set of hydroxylated PCBs.  This new calibration solution was subsequently adopted by several project for subsequent studies of these compounds.  Another example: In the spring semester of 2020, DMAC investigators offered a new course in Data Management and Sharing.  The curriculum for the 1 semester hour course was workshopped in the weekly meetings in 2019 and in 2020, DMAC provided updates on the course.

In 2020, we purchased new instrumentation, including five new solvent evaporators for semi-automated concentration of sample extracts, a new freezer, new computers, and a new remote freezer alarm.


Recent Publications:

Christian M. Bako, Timothy E. Mattes, Rachel F. Marek, Keri C. Hornbuckle, Jerald L. Schnoor, Biodegradation of PCB Congeners by Paraburkholderia xenovorans LB400 in Presence and Absence of Sediment During Lab Bioreactor Experiments,(link is external) Environmental Pollution, Volume 271, 15 February 2021, 116364 [Analytical Core, Project 5]

Boesen, A.C., Martinez, A., Hornbuckle, K.C., Air-water PCB fluxes from southwestern Lake Michigan revisited.(link is external) Environmental Science and Pollution Research International, 2020 March; 27(9), 8826-8834, PMC6834886, DOI: 10.1007/s11356-019-05159-1. [Project 4, Analytical Core]

Riann Jenay Egusquiza, Maria Elena Ambrosio, Shuyi Gin Wang, Kaelen Marie Kay,Chunyun Zhang, Hans-Joachim Lehmler, and Bruce Blumberg, >Evaluating the Role of the Steroid and Xenobiotic Receptor (SXR/PXR) in PCB-153 Metabolism and Protection against Associated Adverse Effects during Perinatal and Chronic Exposure in Mice(link is external),  Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol 128 (4), April 2020, 047011-1 to 047011-16, PMC7228131 [Synthesis Core, Analytical Core]

McCarthy RA, Gupta AS, Kubicek B, Awad AM, Martinez A, Marek RF, Hornbuckle KC. 2020. >Signal processing methods to interpret polychlorinated biphenyls in airborne samples(link is external). IEEE Access: Practical Innovations, Open Solutions. Eight: 147738-147755, PMC7742762 [Project 4, Analytical Core]

Jiajie Qian, Andres Martinez, Rachel F Marek, Matthew R Nagorzanski, Hui Zhi , Edward T Furlong, Dana W Kolpin, Gregory H LeFevre, David M Cwiertny; Polymeric Nanofiber-Carbon Nanotube Composite Mats as Fast-Equilibrium Passive Samplers for Polar Organic Contaminants, (link is external)Environ Sci Technol. 2020 Jun 2;54(11):6703-6712, PMC7665838 [Project 4, Analytical Core]

Saktrakulkla P, Dhakal RC, Lehmler H, Hornbuckle KC. 2019. A semi-target analytical method for quantification of OH-PCBs in environmental samples(link is external), Environmental Science and Pollution Research International, 2020 March, 27(9); 8859-887, PMC6986979, doi:10.1007/s11356-019-05775-x [Analytical Core, Synthesis Core]

Panithi Saktrakulkla, Tuo Lan, Jason Hua, Rachel F. Marek, Peter S. Thorne,*and Keri C. Hornbuckle*, Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Food, (link is external)Environ. Sci. Technol. 2020, 54, 18, 11443–11452. PMC7759298 [Analytical Core, Project 3]



Bako, C.M.; Mattes, T.E.; Marek, R.F; Hornbuckle K.C.; Schnoor J.L. “Biodegradation of PCB Congeners in Wastewater Lagoon Sediment(link is external)” (Dataset),  [Analytical Core, Project 5]

Li, X., Zhang, C., Wang, K., & Lehmler, H. (2020). Dataset: Fatty Liver and Impaired Hepatic Metabolism Alter the Congener-specific Distribution of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in Mice with A Liver-specific Deletion of Cytochrome P450 Reductase. University of Iowa. is external) [Analytical Core, Synthesis Core]


Core Leader: Keri C. Hornbuckle, PhD

Dr. Hornbuckle is the ISRP Director and Donald Bentley Professor of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is responsible for all aspects of the Analytical Core activities, including handling and extraction of samples and analysis by capillary gas chromatography (GC), liquid chromatography (HPLC), mass spectrometry, and various other analytical methods. Dr. Hornbuckle oversaw the development of automated air sample analysis Standard Operating Methods and methods for more specialized applications. She will consult directly with Project Leaders to refine analysis to maximize sensitivity and selectivity for PCBs and metabolites in various matrices.

Co-Investigator: Rachel Marek, PhD

Dr. Marek is an Assistant Research Scientist and has has over ten years experience in the analytical chemistry of PCBs.  She has published journal articles concerning PCBs and hydroxylated PCBs in human blood serum, contaminated sediments, and air. Rachel will work with project leaders and coordinate work associated with method development and application regarding PCB breakdown products. Together with Hornbuckle, she oversees all the analytical work and training for environmental samples including extraction, cleanup, and analysis by capillary gas chromatography (GC), liquid chromatography (HPLC),mass spectrometry, and various other analytical methods and the quality control and assurance metrics that go with them.

Co-Investigator: Hans-Joachim Lehmler, PhD

Dr. Lehmler is a chemist with experience in the synthesis and analysis of PCBs in animal tissues with a special emphasis on the analysis of chiral PCB congeners. He is a professor in the UI Department for Occupational and Environmental Health. In addition to being a member of the Analytical Core of the ISRP, he will also serve as the Leader of the Synthesis Core. This will facilitate the interaction between the Analytical and Synthesis Cores.