Jeff McDonald earned a B.S. in chemistry in 1996 from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.  After completing undergraduate work, he took a position as a Graduate Research Assistant at Los Alamos National Labs in Los Alamos, New Mexico from 1996 to 1997 studying remediation of uranium and other heavy metals in contaminated soil. In August 1997 he began his graduate studies at Indiana University, joining the lab of Ron Hites, studying atmospheric transport and fate of legacy pesticides.  Jeff earned his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry in 2002 with a minor in Environmental Science.  From 2002 to 2004 Jeff was a postdoctoral fellow and then a staff scientist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in their forensic research labs at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA studying the detection of explosives in pre and post-blast samples.  In 2004, he joined the faculty at UTSW as an Assistant Professor as part of the LIPID MAPS Sterol Core with David Russel’s lab where he devolved novel chromatography and mass spectrometry methods for the measurement of sterols, oxysterols, and secoseteroids.

In the Center for Human Nutrition, Jeff’s lab uses mass spectrometry and other analytical techniques to measure lipids in a wide array of biological samples to understand basic mechanisms of lipid biology, lipids role in disease and disease progression, and how lipids can be used to diagnose disease.  The lab also has a major effort in the research and development of novel and advanced mass spectrometry-based methods to continually improve and expand their capabilities.  Jeff’s lab is well known for their work in sterol and oxysterol measurements which they have done now for approaching 15 years.  The lab serves as a local, national, and international resource for these measurements.  More recently the lab has focused on novel, high throughput methods where a broad suite of lipids can be rapidly measured to characterize phenotypes in various samples.  They are now devoting considerable efforts towards broad lipidomic profiling by leveraging recent advances in chromatography coupled with modern tandem mass spectrometers which can acquire data at a very fast rate.  Software development is a recent focus in the lab as the large and complex datasets generated by these advanced techniques are often difficult to interpret.  Translating lipid mass spectrometry data to our colleagues and collaborators in way that is useful to them is a key focus of the lab.     



Fort Lewis College (1996), Chemistry
Graduate School
Indiana Uni-Bloomington (2002), Chemistry

Research Interest

  • Lipids, Mass Spectrometry, Chromatography, Automation, Lipidomics


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Target identification reveals lanosterol synthase as a vulnerability in glioma.
Phillips RE, Yang Y, Smith RC, Thompson BM, Yamasaki T, Soto-Feliciano YM, Funato K, Liang Y, Garcia-Bermudez J, Wang X, Garcia BA, Yamasaki K, McDonald JG, Birsoy K, Tabar V, Allis CD, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2019 Apr 116 16 7957-7962
Targeted Determination of Tissue Energy Status by LC-MS/MS.
Fu X, Deja S, Kucejova B, Duarte JAG, McDonald JG, Burgess SC, Anal. Chem. 2019 Apr
Functional Assessment of Lipoyltransferase-1 Deficiency in Cells, Mice, and Humans.
Ni M, Solmonson A, Pan C, Yang C, Li D, Notzon A, Cai L, Guevara G, Zacharias LG, Faubert B, Vu HS, Jiang L, Ko B, Morales NM, Pei J, Vale G, Rakheja D, Grishin NV, McDonald JG, Gotway GK, McNutt MC, Pascual JM, DeBerardinis RJ, Cell Rep 2019 Apr 27 5 1376-1386.e6

Honors & Awards

  • SCIEX Academic Partnership Program
    Young Investigator Grant (2012)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2004)
  • American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) (2004)
  • American Chemical Society (ACS) (1998)