Wayne State University

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Lumigen Instrument Center
Mass Spectrometry Profile
Johnna Birbeck, Ph.D.
Title Senior Research Scientist
Location Mass Spectrometry Core
Lumigen Instrumentation Center
A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Building
Education B.S. Chemistry, Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste. Marie, MI, 2008
B.S. Forensic Chemistry, Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 2008
Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, 2013
Office Chem 037
Phone (313) 577-0183

As a senior scientist of the Mass Spectrometry Core in the Lumigen Instrumentation Center, Dr. Birbeck has developed in-house analytical methods for quantification of multiple environmental and biological studies using HPLC-PDA, HPLC-qTOF, and UPLC-MS/MS. As the project manager for the Mass Spectrometry Core, she runs large projects for internal and external customers using various standard methods, including EPA methods using ICP-MS or LC-MS/MS instrumentation. Projects include testing fingernails for arsenic levels, testing water samples for lead and copper, various cyanotoxins, and other emerging contaminates such as endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Dr. Birbeck also trains and provides guidance to students, faculty, staff, and outside customers on how to use

LC-MS/MS, nano-LC FTMS, and ICP-MS instrumentation in the LIC. Since her undergraduate career, Dr. Birbeck has been working in the environmental field. A few projects include working on a US EPA grant investigating the health of the St. Mary's river is Sault Sainte Marie, MI, working at the University of Michigan's biological station analyzing a variety of environmental water samples for nutrients such as ammonium, nitrates, phosphates, chloride, silica, and total organic phosphates using continuous flow Auto Analyzers. In 2013, Dr. Birbeck earned her Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from WSU, developing an HPLC method to simultaneously detect dopamine and adenosine and their metabolites with electrochemical detection. Other graduate projects include work on the characterization of the dopamine system in brain derived neurotrophic factor deficient mice (BDNF+/-) using microdialysis and HPLC with electrochemical detection.


Thees, A., Atari, E., Birbeck, J., Westrick, J.A., Huntley, J., Isolation and characterization of Lake Erie bacteria that degrade the cyanobacterial microcystin toxin MC-LR. Great Lakes Research 2018. (Accepted).

Birbeck, J. A.; Khalid, M.; Mathews, T. A., Potentiated striatal dopamine release leads to hyperdopaminergia in female brain-derived neurotrophic factor heterozygous mice. ACS Chem Neurosci 2014, 5 (4), 275-81.

Birbeck, J. A.; Mathews, T. A., Simultaneous detection of monoamine and purine molecules using high-performance liquid chromatography with a boron-doped diamond electrode. Anal Chem 2013, 85 (15), 7398-404.

Bosse, K. E.; Maina, F. K.; Birbeck, J. A.; France, M. M.; Roberts, J. J.; Colombo, M. L.; Mathews, T. A., Aberrant striatal dopamine transmitter dynamics in brain-derived neurotrophic factor-deficient mice. J Neurochem 2012, 120 (3), 385-95.

Keller, B. J.; Back, R. C.; Westrick, J.; Werner, M.; Evans, B.; Moerke, A.; Zimmerman, G.; Wright, D. D.; Grenfell, E.; Courneya, J., Sediment quality at select sites in the St. Marys River Area of Concern. J Great Lakes Res 2011, 37, 12-20.

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