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WUSTL Translational Diagnostics Core


From the inception of the Diabetes Research Center in 1977, this Core has provided testing support to clinical and translational diabetes investigators. The original Core name reflected the primary assay used at the time for quantification of hormones. Over the years, the Core has evolved to incorporate a much broader range of assays for hormones and metabolites for the study of diabetes and related metabolic disorders, many of which grew out of the expertise and interests of WU faculty. In anticipation of competitive renewal of the Diabetes Research Center in late 2017, this Core will transition to a new name, the Translational Diagnostics Core, that better fits the current range of assays offered for human and animal hormones, peptides, and metabolites related to metabolic research that extend beyond the Core’s initial radioimmunoassays for insulin.

The Core is fully integrated into the high-volume Washington University Core Laboratory for Clinical Studies (CLCS). Training of personnel and laboratory activity meets the exacting College of American Pathologists standards. Common, standardized assays of relevance to diabetes and its complications are available with outstanding quality control. The Core also assists investigators with specialized analytical testing that may be more specific to their particular diabetes-related research and contributes to method development for diabetes-related research.


Core Diabetes Hormones and Metabolites

Human C-peptide and insulin: The principal platform for human insulin and C-peptide is the automated Roche Cobas e601. This is a chemiluminescent-based analytical system that is reliable and relatively inexpensive. Human insulin is also measured by radioimmunoassay and ELISA for investigators with special requirements.

Human pancreatic polypeptide and glucagon are quantified by radioimmunoassays.

Mouse/rat insulin are usually determined by ELISA using the Singulex Erenna (digital single molecule counting) Platform (minimum volume 5 µl). Legacy radioimmunoassay and ELISA assays for insulin and C-peptide are also performed for rat and mouse samples.

Glucose and glycated hemoglobin [HbA1c] are quantified using the automated Roche platform with colorimetric- or chemiluminescent-based enzyme and antibody-based chemistry procedures.


Leptin, adiponectin, IL-6, MCP-1, and TNFα assays most typically involve either RIA or ELISA methodology for quantitation. Kits are available for human as well as mouse analytes.


Lipids and apoproteins are analyzed on the Roche Diagnostics c501 automated chemistry analyzer. Apo A1, apo B, and Lp(a) are immunoturbidometric assays. Cholesterol and triglycerides are enzymatic assays.

Direct LDL and HDL assays supplement traditional dextran sulfate precipitation methods. Fractionation of HDL into HDL2 and HDL3 is available.

FFA are quantified using an automated colorimetric assay on the Roche Diagnostics 501 analyzer.

Blood Chemistry

Basic metabolic panel (BMP) and complete metabolic panel (CMP), lactate and β-hydroxybutyrate are run on a Roche Diagnostics c501 chemistry analyzer.

CBCs are run on the Beckman DxH600 hematology analyzer.

Urine Chemistry

BUN, creatinine, and microalbumin performed on the Roche Diagnostics c501 chemistry analyzer.

Custom service

Upon request, the Core will set up and run any specialty assay commercially available as a kit compatible with its instruments. These instruments include a Bio-Tek ELx 800 ELISA plate reader, a Bio-Tek Powerwave 200 plate reader, and an Aushon BioSystems Cirascan which allows a multiplex formatting with low sample volumes. The investigator pays for the kit and a small per-sample chargeback.

Send-Out Pricing

The Core contracts for provision of outside testing for a number of special assays. Contracts with Quest Diagnostics and relationships with Mayo Medical Laboratories and Barnes-Jewish Hospital Clinical Laboratories enable the Core to provide research testing at reduced rates.

Core People

Core Director
Jennifer Powers Carson PhD WUSTL Translational Diagnostics Core Email