Core B - Analytical Core

chart showing the relationships between the research projects and the support cores

Extraction, Detection, and Interpretation of PCB Congeners in Complex Matrices


The purpose of the Analytical Core is to support the analytical needs of the isrp investigators.


  • Develop and maintain analytical and quality control/assurance standards and protocols, including quantification of PCB metabolites and breakdown products in environmental and laboratory matrices.
  • Perform high-throughput analysis of environmental and laboratory samples for a complete suite of PCB congeners in air, human blood serum, laboratory animals, building materials, and other complex matrices.
  • Develop innovative methods for interpreting complex signals from environmental samples
  • Extract, identify, and quantify PCB decay products and metabolites.
  • Maintain the infrastructure for investigator support.


The Analytical Core has published two papers related to the fate and transport of PCBs and related compounds in the environment.

Our highly selective and sensitive methods for isolating and quantifying PCB
congeners in complex matrices has resulted in important discoveries about their availability in
the environment and how they got there.

The Analytical Core has provided the instrument support and method development for a
publication concerning PCB degradation and remediation.

The Analytical Core has assisted in the measurement and interpretation of PCB congeners in
air, humans, and laboratory animals reported in at least eight papers concerning PCB inhalation and exposure.

It presented to over 450 participants on the NIEHS CLU-IN webinar series on how to reduce the cost and improve the quality of the PCB congener measurement.

The Analytical Core actively supports and facilitates sharing of methods across
research groups and even institutions.

The Analytical Core has developed standard operating procedures for the extraction and cleanup of PCBs and OH-PCBs in human serum, PUFs, sediments, and water samples. These are available for anyone to use and share.


  • Core Leader: Keri C. Hornbuckle, PhD

    Dr. Hornbuckle is an environmental scientist and engineer with experience in the analysis of PCBs in environmental samples and laboratory animal tissues. She is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She will be responsible for all aspects of the Analytical Core activities, including handling and extraction of samples and analysis by capillary gas chromatography (GC), liquid chromatography (HPLC), mass spectrometry, and various other analytical methods. Dr. Hornbuckle will oversee the development of automated air sample analysis Standard Operating Methods and methods for more specialized applications. She will consult directly with Project Leaders to refine analysis to maximize sensitivity and selectivity for PCBs and metabolites in various matrices.

  • Hans-Joachim Lehmler, PhD

    Dr. Lehmler is a chemist with experience in the synthesis and analysis of PCBs in animal tissues with a special emphasis on the analysis of chiral PCB congeners. He is currently appointed as Associate Scientist in the UI Department for Occupational and Environmental Health. In addition to being a member of the Analytical Core of the isrp, he will also serve as the Leader of the Synthesis Core. This will facilitate the interaction between the Analytical and Synthesis Core.

  • Ananya Sen Gupta

    Dr. Sen Gupta will lead studies concerning complex instrumental signals produced through the analysis of hundreds of air samples collected by the ISRP Projects. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa who has collected and analyzed for PCBs and related compounds since 2006.

  • Kai Wang, PhD

    Dr. Wang is a Professor in Biostatistics at the University of Iowa. His research interests include the application and development of statistical technologies related to biomedical studies including bioinformatics, statistical genetics, and nonparametric estimation under biased sampling.

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Program and Research Support Cores

The Program and Research Support Cores communicate with all projects, thus fostering regular communication and interaction among all components (projects and cores) of the isrp.

Program Support Cores

Research Support Cores