L. J Sparvero

  • Senior research scientist
  • Staff in Environmental and Occupational Health

My research interests are in the use of Mass Spectrometry and Mass Spectrometry Imaging to identify signaling molecules with a focus on lipids and lipid-modified peptides.

Mass Spectrometry (MS) is the identification of compounds based on their mass-to-charge ratio. If the charge is known, then the exact mass provides the chemical composition by number of carbons, hydrogens, nitrogen, etc. Selective fragmentation with tandem MS (MS2 or MS/MS) gives information on molecular structure to distinguish isomers and unresolved isobaric species. This is an untargeted, label-free analytical method suitable for discovery approaches. 

Two of the common MS ionization methods are Electrospray Ionization (ESI) and Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization (MALDI). ESI in conjunction with Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (LCMS) is excellent for identification and quantification. MALDI is able to perform Mass Spectrometry Imaging (MSI). These experiments generate a composition map of substrates such as thin tissue sections. I have developed methods for both ESI-LCMS and MALDI-MSI of various analytes and substrates.

Modern mass spectrometers produce incredible amounts of data (from 100 MB to 2 GB or more per hour, depending on the instrument and experiment). Making sense of this data for untargeted analysis and hypothesis testing can be challenging without a good understanding of the techniques involved. I have written code for lipid identification for various platforms and uses, most recently for oxidatively-truncated lipids and their lipid-peptide conjugates.

Teaching and Mentoring

I have taught introductory mass spectrometry lectures to all experience levels, from high school students up to post-doctoral fellows. I have mentored several undergraduates who have gone on to either medical school or PhD programs. My hands-on training includes Lipidomics, Proteomics, MALDI-MS, MALDI imaging MS, LCMS, programming and data processing.


Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, Ph.D. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, M.S. in Polymer Chemistry

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, B.S. in Chemistry

Selected Publications

Formation of protein adducts with Hydroperoxy-PE electrophilic cleavage products during ferroptosis. Amoscato AA, Anthonymuthu T, Kapralov O, Sparvero LJ, Shrivastava IH, Mikulska-Ruminska K, Tyurin VA, Shvedova AA, Tyurina YY, Bahar I, Wenzel S, Bayir H, Kagan VE. Redox Biol. 2023 Jul;63:102758. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2023.102758. Epub 2023 May 22. PMID: 37245287

Successive High-Resolution (H2O)n-GCIB and C60-SIMS Imaging Integrates Multi-Omics in Different Cell Types in Breast Cancer Tissue. Tian H, Sparvero LJ, Anthonymuthu TS, Sun WY, Amoscato AA, He RR, Bayır H, Kagan VE, Winograd N. Anal Chem. 2021 Jun 15;93(23):8143-8151. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.0c05311. Epub 2021 Jun 2. PMID: 34075742

Direct Mapping of Phospholipid Ferroptotic Death Signals in Cells and Tissues by Gas Cluster Ion Beam Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (GCIB-SIMS). Sparvero LJ, Tian H, Amoscato AA, Sun WY, Anthonymuthu TS, Tyurina YY, Kapralov O, Javadov S, He RR, Watkins SC, Winograd N, Kagan VE, Bayır H. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2021 May 17;60(21):11784-11788. doi: 10.1002/anie.202102001. Epub 2021 Apr 12. PMID: 33684237

Redox lipidomics technology: Looking for a needle in a haystack. Tyurina YY, Tyurin VA, Anthonymuthu T, Amoscato AA, Sparvero LJ, Nesterova AM, Baynard ML, Sun W, He R, Khaitovich P, Vladimirov YA, Gabrilovich DI, Bayır H, Kagan VE. Chem Phys Lipids. 2019 Jul;221:93-107. doi: 10.1016/j.chemphyslip.2019.03.012. Epub 2019 Mar 27. PMID: 30928338 Review.

Secondary-Ion Mass Spectrometry Images Cardiolipins and Phosphatidylethanolamines at the Subcellular Level. Tian H, Sparvero LJ, Blenkinsopp P, Amoscato AA, Watkins SC, Bayır H, Kagan VE, Winograd N. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2019 Mar 4;58(10):3156-3161. doi: 10.1002/anie.201814256. Epub 2019 Feb 14. PMID: 30680861

PEBP1 Wardens Ferroptosis by Enabling Lipoxygenase Generation of Lipid Death Signals. Wenzel SE, Tyurina YY, Zhao J, St Croix CM, Dar HH, Mao G, Tyurin VA, Anthonymuthu TS, Kapralov AA, Amoscato AA, Mikulska-Ruminska K, Shrivastava IH, Kenny EM, Yang Q, Rosenbaum JC, Sparvero LJ, Emlet DR, Wen X, Minami Y, Qu F, Watkins SC, Holman TR, VanDemark AP, Kellum JA, Bahar I, Bayır H, Kagan VE. Cell. 2017 Oct 19;171(3):628-641.e26. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.09.044. PMID: 29053969

Gas Cluster Ion Beam Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry High-Resolution Imaging of Cardiolipin Speciation in the Brain: Identification of Molecular Losses after Traumatic Injury. Tian H, Sparvero LJ, Amoscato AA, Bloom A, Bayır H, Kagan VE, Winograd N. Anal Chem. 2017 Apr 18;89(8):4611-4619. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b00164. Epub 2017 Mar 29. PMID: 28306235

Imaging mass spectrometry reveals loss of polyunsaturated cardiolipins in the cortical contusion, hippocampus, and thalamus after traumatic brain injury. Sparvero LJ, Amoscato AA, Fink AB, Anthonymuthu T, New LA, Kochanek PM, Watkins S, Kagan VE, Bayır H. J Neurochem. 2016 Nov;139(4):659-675. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13840. Epub 2016 Sep 26. PMID: 27591733

Mapping of phospholipids by MALDI imaging (MALDI-MSI): realities and expectations. Sparvero LJ, Amoscato AA, Dixon CE, Long JB, Kochanek PM, Pitt BR, Bayir H, Kagan VE. Chem Phys Lipids. 2012 Jul;165(5):545-62. doi: 10.1016/j.chemphyslip.2012.06.001. Epub 2012 Jun 9. PMID: 22692104 Review.