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Find Faculty / Jeffrey Macdonald

Contact Information:

Jeffrey Macdonald

9018B Mary Ellen Jones
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
(919) 843-5154

Research Areas:
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • 1995, Ph.D. Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California at San Francisco
  • 1988, M.S. Environmental Toxicology, University of California at Davis
  • 1984, B.A. Aquatic Biology, University of California at Santa Barbara


Dr. Macdonald’s research focuses on the use of tracers in metabolism and the development of technology for real-time monitoring of metabolism. The use of stable isotope-labeled (13C, 15N, 2H) nutrients has proven to be a powerful method to trace flux through metabolic networks, also known as fluxomics. Dr. Macdonald came to North Carolina from the University of California at San Francisco as a post-doctoral fellow at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to study with a pioneer of fluxomics, Dr. Robert London. NIH has funded the development of novel fluxomic applications using multiple 13C-labeled nutrients in hepatocytes and other collaborative projects ranging from cell lines to whole animals. Current collaboration traces one-carbon metabolism through the liver-blood-brain axis in mutant mouse models of medulloblastoma. Real-time dynamic measurements of metabolism required the design of two NMR-compatible bioreactors: (1) a patented multi-coaxial membrane bioartificial liver for human adult liver stem cells, and (2) a fluidized-bed bioreactor for alginate-encapsulated hepatoma cells and primary hepatocytes.  In 2002, Dr. Macdonald was funded to establish the first Metabolomic Facility at UNC that facilitated numerous collaborations and publications on metabolomic studies using diatoms, bacteria, fungi, yeast, rodents, and humans. Dr. Macdonald has an interest in applying environmental metabolomics to study wild populations typically not found in the laboratory setting, including mollusks, sea turtles and, most recently, bats. Currently, multi-omic methods (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, lipidomics, and metabolomics) are being developed to compare system biology among various mammalian species. Future multi-omic collaboration will focus on aging in bats to identify mechanisms of longevity for comparison with other mammals.

Research Interests

Bioreactor design for regenerative medicine
NMR-compatible bioreactor design

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