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Orsburn, Ben

Ben Orsburn

Primary Appointment

Biomolecular Analysis Facility

Contact Information


Research Interests

Biochemistry Bioinformatics and Genomics Computational Biology Structural Biology

Research Description

I'm a researcher specializing in the relatively new field of computational mass spectrometry (MS), which is sometimes referred to as Mass Informatics. This is the application of the basic science of MS, where charged ions are manipulated in vacuum chambers by electromagnetic fields in order to determine their mass and structure to big data problems. The primary use of MS in biology is the global analysis of all the proteins (proteomics) or the metabolites (metabolomics) produced by an organism or a cell. In 2014 researchers at Johns Hopkins University completed the first draft of the Human Proteome. Since then my field has expanded rapidly in both popularity and in applications, leading to further increases in the MS hardware engineering. Today, multiple groups have reported the complete sequencing of all the proteins in a human tissue in less than 2 days of instrument run time, a feat unthinkable even 3 years ago. However, the biggest weakness of proteomics and metabolomics is the informatics side that translates these ion masses or even solved small molecules or proteins to tell the story of the biology behind them. That is where my research comes in. My field is decades behind genomic informatics thanks to a late start and a shortage of practitioners. It's a great time to jump in, apply a few lines of helpful code -- or even just some neuroplasticity - to a Mass Informatics problem and make a real difference in a new and growing science.

Selected Publications

No publications were found for this faculty member.