About Us

Mission Statement and Goals 

The goal of the UF Center for Spatial Biomolecule Research (CASBR) is to leverage spatial metabolomics expertise and transdisciplinary approaches to help UF researchers uncover molecular, metabolic, and cellular underpinnings of biology, physiology, and disease pathology. The UF CASBR provides high-throughput, well-validated spatial biomolecular services while maintaining the highest level of integrity, project rigor and reproducibility. CASBR also serves as the nucleating center for multidisciplinary collaboration from diverse research across campus in all research areas that involve spatial biology. Importantly, this workflow is disease agnostic and will be accessible to groups throughout campus.

CASBR provides state-of-the-art:

  • MALDI mass spectrometry imaging of steady state metabolomics services
  • hydrogen deuterium exchange mass spectrometry for spatial mapping of protein-protein/ligand interactions
  • high-plex rapid digital pathology whole slide scanning service for CASBR members

The development and implementation of single-cell spatial technologies is shifting the paradigm regarding our understanding of tissue heterogeneity. The Sun/Gentry/Vander Kooi laboratories are leading the nation in developing spatial biomolecular methodologies and applying them to answer complex biological questions. Metabolism sits at the crossroads of phenotype and physiology. Metabolism within any given tissue is highly heterogeneous, cell type-dependent, and spatially unique. The ability to assess the spatio-cellular metabolism from a single tissue section is a major technological leap that will change our view and understandings of cellular metabolic interactome.

To date, we have leveraged spatial metabolomics to systematically dissect the spatial and cellular metabolome underlying normal tissue physiology and defined the etiological role of perturbed spatial metabolism in disease progression. We established a roadmap to develop testable paradigm-shifting hypotheses from spatio-cellular metabolic phenotypes in human clinical specimens, then we implemented rigorous transdisciplinary approaches and experimental designs to test these hypotheses. These data translate into knowledge gained about foundational biology and reveal actionable targets for future therapeutic interventions (Fig. 1). 

Research philosophy illustration
Figure 1: Research philosophy and general approach of UF-CASBR. We develop next-generation spatial based metabolomics technologies that are applied to patient-based specimens, revealing new phenotypes and hypotheses that will benefit the collective research effort of the investigators at UF-COM. 
A general summary of Triple-omics workflow. Starting with tissue on a slide, it's then sprayed with NEDC and shot with laser by MALDI timsTOF to search for various metabolomes and lipidomes. After, the NEDC is removed and enzyme (isoamylase and PNGase) and CHCA is sprayed, it's to then be shot with laser once again in search for glycans and glycogens.
A general summary of Tripleomics workflow.
A general summary of the Sami framework. The images that are acquired from the Triple-omics workflow are then gathered and overlaid on top of each other to show comparisons of tissue regions using spatial imaging.
A general summary of the Sami framework.