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Isotope Tracers in Metabolic Research: Principles and Practice of Kinetic Analysis

Isotope Tracers in Metabolic Research: Principles and Practice of Kinetic Analysis

13th Annual Course
November 8 – 12, 2021 (FULL – No openings for 2021)
Due to health and travel concerns related to COVID-19, the 13th Annual Isotope Tracers in Metabolic Research Course has transitioned to a virtual format. The course will still occur with limited capacity to preserve one-on-one mentor sessions with faculty speakers.
Once you complete and submit your registration, the course directors and administrators will review your application. You will be notified by Sept. 1st if you are enrolled.
Please do not reserve a hotel room or send registration fee payment until you are notified.
Contact to be added to course announcements.
Sponsored by NIDDK and organized on behalf of the NIH-sponsored Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Centers (MMPC)

Course Co-Directors: Owen P. McGuinness, PhD, Elizabeth J. Parks, PhD

Location: Virtual meetingHomewood Suites by Hilton Nashville Vanderbilt
2400 West End Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203

Overview: A week-long course (with one-on-one mentoring sessions) in the theory and practice of stable and radioactive isotopic tracers for the study of metabolism in human and animal models.

FOR COURSE DETAILS OR SUGGESTIONS: Eann Malabanan at or 615-343-1065

Course Information
NOTE: The information below is representative of the in-person meeting format. The 2021 virtual course content will be shared with registered attendees. The course overview below represents a tentative 2022 program for the in-person meeting
This course provides basic introductory and comprehensive information on performing metabolic studies using tracers labeled with radioactive or stable isotopes in humans, animals and cells. The course is designed for beginners as well as for those with experience who wish to expand their capabilities to more sophisticated problems. The faculty has expertise in a wide variety of applications and methodologies.

Techniques are taught for the investigation of whole body metabolism, for metabolite balance across organs, intracellular flux rates and pathway regulation in humans, animals and cells. Basic aspects of modeling will be considered, as well as specific applications to the study of carbohydrate, fat, protein metabolism and energy balance. Theoretical and practical matters related to sample analysis by mass spectrometry and NMR are discussed, including examples of calculations involved in determining isotopic enrichment and basic kinetic parameters. Attendees will have opportunities to discuss their research projects in one-on-one mentoring sessions with faculty.

Course Syllabus Example: Download 2019 Course Syllabus

Course Overview (tentative)


Basic tracer theory
Basic characteristics of radioactive isotopes
General principles of mass spectrometry
Specific activity and isotopic enrichment (GC-MS)
Methods of mass spectrometry analysis MS, LC-MS
Problem solving sessions


Tracer kinetics (single pool models)
Oxidation and synthesis rates
Glucose metabolism (clamp studies)
Lipid metabolism (basic kinetics)
Introduction to the NIH grant process
Practical application of the insulin clamp (breakout session)
  • Human
  • Animals


Using positional isotopomer analysis to assess pathway fluxes using NMR
Protein metabolism


Energy expenditure with doubly labeled water
Synthesis rates with deuterated water: proteins, fatty acids sterols, glucose, nucleic acids
Mass isotopomer distribution analysis: polymer synthesis, multiple flux pathways, TCA cycle, anaplerosis
Metabolic flux analysis workshop using MFA software suite


Small Group sessions
  • Working with Mass Spec data
  • Lipid flux
  • Carbohydrate flux
  • Protein flux
Pathway discovery via association of isotopomer analysis and metabolomics.
Discussion of inherently difficult problems

Registration & Accommodations
Registration is now closed. Contact to be added to course announcements.
Please do not reserve a hotel room or send registration fee payment until you are notified. Details for registration payment and hotel reservations will be provided upon approved enrollment to the course.
  • Registration form:
    • Refer to registration link for registration fees and payment instructions. Registration fee includes lunch, snacks, and one welcome dinner.
  • Registration opens: June 18, 2021
  • Registration deadline: Rolling waitlist after August 13, 2021
  • Notification of Enrollment: September 1, 2021
Scholarships for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to cover registration fees are available.
If you would like to be considered, follow the instructions on the registration link. Send no more than a one-page explanation of how the course would benefit your training in metabolic research as well as a letter from your mentor indicating your eligibility to by TBD. Scholarship recipients will be notified by TBD. Please do not pay for the registration until you hear from us as to whether you have been awarded the scholarship. We have limited ability to refund credit card transactions.
  • Bring a Wi-Fi enabled device to download and view all course material
  • The following book is useful but not required: Isotope Tracers in Metabolic Research: Principles and Practice of Kinetic Analysis by Robert R. Wolfe and David L. Chinkes, 2nd Edition (2005 Wiley-Liss)
  • Hotel Reservations: A block of rooms has been reserved at the course location (Homewood Suites, Nashville-Vanderbilt) at a rate of $179 per night. Please do not make your reservation until you receive confirmation of your enrollment in the course. Once enrolled, the direct booking link and group code will be sent to you. Please book by TBA to secure this rate.
  • You can reserve by calling 1-615-340-8000 and referencing Group Code "VUT" or by following the direct booking link: TBA
Check-in/out: TBA
Hotel Address (location of the course):
2400 West End Avenue
Nashville, Tennessee 37203

Director & Faculty Information
Julio AYALA, PhDCleveland, OH
Stephanie CHUNG, MBBSBethesda, MD
Timothy GARRETT, PhDGainesville, FL
Melanie CREE GREEN, MD PhDDenver, CO
Brian A. IRVING, PhDBaton Rouge, LA
Joanne KELLEHER, PhDBoston, MA
Maren LAUGHLIN, PhDBethesda, MD
Owen P. McGUINNESS, PhDNashville, TN -- Course Co-Director
Matthew MERRITT, PhDDallas, TX
Elizabeth J. PARKS, PhDColumbia, MO -- Course Co-Director
Stephen PREVIS, PhDRahway, NJ
Michelle PUCHOWICZ, PhDMemphis, TN
David H. WASSERMAN, PhDNashville, TN
Robert R. WOLFE, PhDLittle Rock, AR
Jamey YOUNG, PhDNashville, TN

Sponsored by:
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Centers

Isotope Tracers in Metabolic Research

Isotope Tracers in Metabolic Research: A 3-Part Webinar Series.

Organized by the University of Missouri, Vanderbilt University, and the NIDDK
September 15th, October 20th and November 17th, 2020.
3 Part Webinar Click here for more information
Please note each part requires a separate registration (see flyer for details).

Part 1: TUES, SEPT. 15 | 2 - 3 PM CST

Use of lipid tracers to track fatty acid flux in humans and animal models of NAFLD
Elizabeth Parks, PhD (University of Missouri School of Medicine)
Link to seminar video:

Part 2: TUES, OCT. 20 | 2 - 3 PM CST

Tracing hepatic glucose and glycogen metabolism in metabolic disease
Owen McGuinness, PhD (Vanderbilt University School of Medicine)
Link to seminar video:

Part 3: TUES, NOV. 17 | 2 - 3 PM CST

Central metabolism is a target of Pioglitazone action
Matt Merritt, PhD (University of Florida College of Medicine)
Link to seminar video:


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