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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

14th Annual Course
November 7 – 11, 2022 (Registration opens June 1st)
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: Homewood Suites by Hilton Nashville Vanderbilt, 2400 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203 - 615-340-8000

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 most recent in-person meeting format (2019). The 2021 course was held in a virtual environment. 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 information is now open! Visit for registration details including scholarship eligibility.
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 1, 2022
  • Registration closes: October 21, 2022
  • Notification of Enrollment: September 1, 2021
Registration opens: June 1, 2022
Registration closes: October 21, 2022

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)
Registration fees
(Includes breakfast, lunch, breaks, and 1 reception dinner)
  • Student/Postdoc: $400
  • Academic/Government Scientist: $800
  • International/Industry Scientist: $1,300
Location and Accommodations
The course will take place at Homewood Suites - Vanderbilt (2400 West End Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee 37203) where we have reserved a block of rooms for participants. Booking information will become available upon submission of registration.
Reservations must be made by Oct. 8th to receive the group rate.

Isotope Tracers in Metabolic Research

Isotope Tracers in Metabolic Research: 3-Part Webinar Series

September - November 2020 (Past Event – access the recordings using the links below)
Organized by the University of Missouri, Vanderbilt University and the NIDDK

See flyer for details 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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