Barry Karger

Barry KargerDegrees/Education

1963 PhD, Cornell University
1960 BS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Area(s) of Expertise

Analytical Chemistry, Bioanalysis, Proteomics

Research Interests

Prof. Karger’s research focuses on the development and application of microscale separations and MS analysis to problems of biological relevance. Current research involves (1) comprehensive characterization of complex proteins at the low fmole level using LC coupled to a hybrid linear ion trap – FT mass spectrometer; (2) ultra-narrow (5-20 µm i.d.) monolithic and porous layer open tubular columns for low attomole LC/MS proteomic analysis; (3) proteomic tissue analysis for disease biomarker discovery using 10,000 cells or less; and (4) multiplex LC coupled to MALDI-MS using a 2 kHz repetition rate laser.

Professor Karger’s research group collaborates with clinicians, microbiologists and fundamental cell biologists to apply the developed technologies. As an example, the group is interacting with an industrial group on the discovery and validation of biomarkers for low and high grade stained cells from Pap smears (cervical scrapings). In another example, they are collaborating with a microbiologist on the study of growth of anaerobic bacteria (Archaea). The discovery of overexpressed enzymes has led to an understanding of important pathways for energy conservation. In a third example, the group is studying the kinetics of phosphorylation of tyrosine kinase receptors (EGFR) upon signal stimulation in order to elucidate important signaling pathways in tumor cancer cells. In these and other examples, the technology in ultratrace LC/MS allows generation of information not readily obtained by current methodologies.

Barnett Institute Website



140 The Fenway, Room 415

After more than 50 years, Dr. Karger is retiring, but he isn’t

Dr. Barry Karger has taught at Northeastern University for 53 years, and has spent 43 years as director of the Barnett Institute. But if you ask him about his retirement, he’ll tell you, “I’m not going to just go fishing.”

Inaugural Barry L. Karger Medal in Bioanalysis awarded

Professor Matthias Mann, Director in the Department of Proteomics and Signal Transduction at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Munich, Germany, was the recipient the Inaugural Barry L. Karger Medal in Bioanalysis.

A New Era in Academic-Industrial Interaction

The prevailing view of research science is that professors and laboratory staff work on obscure challenges for which a lifetime might not be enough time to solve. Or that their projects might have limited application in the ‘real’ world. If that’s how you think, you haven’t met Dr. Barry Karger.

Capturing and profiling rare cells

Northeastern University researchers have extensively profiled the proteins of rare cells in blood, a feat that was previously impossible. By successfully isolating and characterizing rare cells that make up just 0.001 percent or less of the total cells present in blood, faculty members have built a foundation for proteomics-based personalized medicine.