John McLean, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry
Stevenson Professor of Chemistry
Co-Director, Automated Biosystems Core
Chair of Chemistry
7330 Stevenson Center
(615) 322-1195

Bioanalytical and Biophysical Chemistry

John McLean is the Stevenson Associate Professor of Chemistry at Vanderbilt University, co-Director of the Vanderbilt Automated Biosystems Core, and Deputy Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education. He received his B.S. Chemistry from the University of Michigan and his PhD from the George Washington University. Following postdoctoral training at at Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany and at Texas A&M University with Prof. David H. Russell in biological mass spectrometry he joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2006. Working with David Russell from 2001-2006, he constructed ion mobility-mass spectrometers capable of broad-scale analyses of extremely complex biological samples, termed ‘panomics,’ on the basis of both molecular structure and mass. Sophisticated ion mobility-mass spectrometry platforms were subsequently released by multiple leading global scientific instrument manufacturers At Vanderbilt, McLean and colleagues focus on the conceptualization, design, and construction of structural mass spectrometers, specifically targeting complex samples in systems, synthetic, and chemical biology as well as nanotechnology. His group applies these strategies to forefront translational research areas in drug discovery, personalized medicine, and ‘human-on-chip’ synthetic biology platforms. Prof. McLean and his group leverage these strengths with those across Vanderbilt, nationally, and Internationally in academe, industry, and government through cutting-edge interdisciplinary collaborations.

Research Information

Our research focuses on the design, construction, and application of advanced technologies for structural mass spectrometry, in particular, for studies in structural proteomics, systems biology, and biophysics. To identify and structurally characterize biomolecules from complex samples, we perform rapid (µs-ms) two-dimensional gas-phase separations using ion mobility-mass spectrometry (IM-MS) techniques. IM-MS provides separations on the basis of apparent surface area (ion-neutral collision cross section) and mass-to-charge (m/z), respectively. Biomolecular structural information is interpreted by comparing experimentally obtained collision cross-sections in the context of those obtained via molecular dynamics simulations.

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