biomarkers diagramArtwork by Joren Eulalee.

Biomarkers are indicators of a biological state that provide a standardized, valid, and precise way of evaluating environmental exposure, effect, or susceptibility, diagnosis, or progression of disease and infection. Biomarkers can be biological, physical, or chemical, and they are measurable parameters in an organism indicative of a specific biological state. Biomarkers are biomolecules that can be categorized into carbohydrates, proteins, hormones, enzymes, lipids, nutrients, genetic material (DNA and RNA), and more.

A key challenge in public health studies is to identify health disparities and to evaluate associated lifestyle behaviors and environmental exposure to a high level of validity and reliability. The measurement of validated biomarkers can improve the quality and reliability of observational studies and those using self-reported data on the role of lifestyle factors for impacting chronic disease and human health.

The Translational Biomarkers Core (TBC) provides state-of-the-art services to assess a wide range of biomarkers related to public health research that include Health Sciences Buildinginflammation, oxidative stress, hormones, psychological stress, metabolic disease, growth factors, kidney toxicity, alcohol use, and nutrition analytes.

Operated by the Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity and located in MSU's Health Sciences Building (top left), the TBC Lab (bottom right) offers multidisciplinary cutting-edge biomedical research services by providing facilities, advanced instrumentation,Translational Biomarkers Core Lab analysis, consultation, and training on validated biomarker assessments for investigators at Montana State University and throughout the Mountain West region.

Additional services are provided in collaboration with the Montana INBRE Bioinformatics and Biostatistics Core, which can assist investigators with statistical analysis and experimental design.

To summarize, the TBC's goals are:

  • To provide facilities, equipment, and resources that enable researchers to investigate diet, lifestyle, and chronic disease biomarkers that include assessments of inflammation, oxidative stress, hormones, metabolic disease, growth factors, kidney toxicity, and drug and alcohol use.
  • To provide training and consultation for researchers on services available in the TBC.
  • To provide facilities and training for biospecimen processing.
  • To expand research tools, standardize key methodologies, and introduce the newest techniques available to investigators.

Biomarker Evaluation

  • Consulting services:  Consulting with investigators to determine suitable methods for evaluating diet, lifestyle, and chronic disease biomarkers including assessments of inflammation, oxidative stress, hormones, metabolic disease, growth factors, kidney toxicity, and alcohol use.
  • Analytical services: Quantification of biomarkers from human samples using a range of analytical methods including ELISA procedures, enzymatic assays, fluorescence, immunoassays, and chromatography.

Supporting Services

  • Sample management: Development of standard operating procedures for sample collection, processing, and temporary storage.
  • Analytical development and design: Assay validation and development of standard operating procedures for research protocols.
  • Interpretation of biomarker results: Support with interpretation of results.

The Core Lab houses state-of-the art instrumentation to enhance the research of investigators carrying out a diverse range of public health studies. Some examples of Lab instrumentation include:

Equipment Function
Bio-Plex 200 System with HTF. 100-240 V Automated Immunoassay Multiplex Array System with High-Throughput Fluidics For biomarker assessments including human cytokine, chemokine, and growth factor assays; human inflammation assays; human disease panels; human metabolic and hormone assays; and human kidney toxicity panels. 
Beckman Coulter CytoFLEX System B4-R2-V0 For multiple assessments including cell proliferation analysis, T cell subset analysis, identification of low expressed antigens, and micro-particle detection.
Waters ACQUITY Arc System (Dual HPLC and UPLC) with Detector For quantification of nutrients and metabolites including Vitamins A, B, C, D, E; carbohydrates (glucose, fructose, sucrose); dietary fiber; lignans; fatty acids; polyphenols; alkaloids; and terpenoids.
BioTek Dual Spectrophotometer and Fluorometer Microplate Reader For carrying out a range of reagent and cell-based bioassays including enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA).
BioTek Precision Microplate For expediting high-throughput assays.

Information coming soon!

Information coming soon!

Information coming soon!
Selena Ahmed

Selena Ahmed, Ph.D.

Core Director;
Associate Professor in Sustainable Food Systems