Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

Zheng Ouyang

Committee Member 1

R. Graham Cooks

Committee Member 2

Chengde Mao


Lipids are crucial components of our bodies, not only as the building component of the cell membrane, but also as signaling molecules and an energy storing unit. The study of lipids may bring great improvement for life science. Moreover, lipids may also be a key factor in many diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and neural diseases.1 Qualitative and quantitative lipid analysis of infected tissue is very important when uncovering the cause and mechanism of disease, and can therefore bring great success for the development of diagnosis and treatment of disease.

In this research, we used a photochemical reaction to help determine the double bond location in unsaturated lipids. And by tracking the changes of unsaturated lipid biomarkers in rat spinal cord, we were able to diagnose and monitor the trend of the disease. Mass spectrometry is one of the most powerful analytical instruments for lipid analysis, due to its great sensitivity and specificity. The development of ambient mass spectrometry provides a much more efficient way for chemistry analysis: by optimizing the preparation time and work in sample pre-separation. By coupling Paternò-Büchi reaction with ambient direct extraction spray mass spectrometry, a fast and effective method has been developed to identify and study the biomarkers for spinal cord injury. A couple of fatty acid and phospholipid biomarkers have been determined from the research by comparing the change of lipids between healthy and injured spinal cord rat samples, and the trend of the change of the injury has been monitored and studied. This study provides one possible method for the diagnosis of spinal cord disease, which may inspire future study in pathology.