Lab Services


left to right: Jennifer Ho, Fernanda Mujica, Benny Chan

left to right: Jennifer Ho, Fernanda Mujica, Benny Chan

With CFI and BCKDF infrastructure funds, we have established the UBC Nutritional Biomarker Laboratory, an internationally recognized analytical laboratory for nutritional biomarker assessment. Our lab is core member of the UBC Platform for Excellence in Metabolomics (PLEXMET) and an affiliated laboratory to the BCCHRI Analytical Core for Metabolomics and Nutrition (ACMaN).

In the UBC Nutritional Biomarker Laboratory, we primarily use liquid chromatography – tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) for quantification and isotope ratio analysis of vitamins and related metabolites.

Specimens we have been working with and validating our methods for include:

  • blood samples, including whole blood, red blood cells, plasma, and serum,
  • human milk,
  • animal tissues,
  • foods,
  • supplements.

Current portfolio of externally validated and highly precise methods include assays for the following parameters:

Folate status assessment
– Reduced folate forms and unmetabolized folic acid in serum, red blood cells, and human milk (using LC-MS/MS)
– Plasma/serum and whole blood/red blood cell total folate concentrations (microbiological assay)
– Total homocysteine (functional biomarker)

Our lab participated in two international interlaboratory comparison studies organized by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Laboratory Sciences, led Dr Christine Pfeiffer. Links to the publications of these two round-robin studies can be found here: LC-MS/MS method for folate forms; microbiological assay for total folate

Vitamin B12 status assessment
– Dried blood spot (DBS) methylmalonic acid (MMA) (functional biomarker and convenient specimen)
– Methylmalonic acid (MMA; functional biomarker) in plasma or serum
We quantify plasma/serum and DBS MMA using LC-MS/MS. For the external validation of our MMA method, we participate in the DEKS external quality assessment program by the Danish Institute for External Quality Assurance for Laboratories in Health Care.
– Total homocysteine (functional biomarker)

Vitamin B6 status assessment (LC-MS/MS platform)
– Pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (direct indicator)
– Cystathionine (functional biomarker)
– Total homocysteine (functional biomarker)
– Kynurenine metabolites (functional biomarkers)

UV-free sample processing

Sample preparation of light sensitive vitamins

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) status assessment (LC-MS/MS platform)
– Riboflavin
– Flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD)
– Flavin mononucleotide (FMN)

Vitamin D status assessment and circulating forms (LC-MS/MS platform)
– 25-hydroxy-vitamin D2
– 25-hydroxy-vitamin D3
– 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D2
– 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D3
– 3-epi-25-hydroxy-vitamin D3

Biomarkers of one-carbon metabolism and related metabolites (by LC-MS/MS or HPLC)
– Choline
– Dimethylglycine
– Betaine
– Methionine
– Homocysteine
– Cystathionine
– Cysteine
– Taurine
– Glycine
– Serine
– Cysteinylglycine
– Glutathione


For cost estimates or fee-for-service analyses, please contact us by email (