American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
Donald Chace, PhD
2002 Sigi Ziering Award for Outstanding Contribution for a Publication in the Journal Clinical Chemistry

Donald Chace, PhD, MSFS, began his education in Massachusetts where he received a BS (cum laude) in chemistry from Boston College in 1981. He spent 8 years in Washington, D.C., at George Washington University where he received a MSFS (Master of Science in Forensic Science) in forensic toxicology in 1984 and a PhD in pharmacology in 1989. Dr. Chace served as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biomedicinal Chemistry of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Maryland (Baltimore campus) before becoming an assistant medical research professor at the Duke University Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, in 1990. In 1997, Dr. Chace joined Neo Gen Screening where he is presently section chief for the Division of BioAnalytical Chemistry and Mass Spectrometry.

Since graduate school, Dr. Chace has remained active in analytical chemistry as applied to the analysis of biological fluids. As part of his Master’s thesis research, he investigated improved gas chromatographic methods for measurement of carbon monoxide in blood and applied these methods to investigate the effects of long-term storage on blood collected at autopsy. In 1983, this work was recognized by a research award from the Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Science.

Dr. Chace was trained in mass spectrometry as part of his dissertation research, during which he developed a new mass spectrometry technique for selectively detecting stable-isotope-enriched drugs. This technique, known as CRIMS (chemical reaction interface mass spectrometry), is used to investigate metabolites produced after administration of a labeled drug in a manner that is similar to the way in which carbon-14 is used as a tracer in drug metabolism studies. In 1985, at George Washington University, Dr. Chace received the Goddard Prize for academic excellence from the Department of Pharmacology. He continued his mass spectrometry research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in 1990 by examining the improved measurement of nucleoside monophosphates with diamines, using thermospray mass spectrometry, a direct predecessor to electrospray mass spectrometry, the most commonly used technique today.

At Duke, Dr. Chace developed a tandem mass spectrometry method for the analysis of amino acids and acylcarnitines in dried-blood spots. On the basis of this work, he became the Newborn Screening director and also served as assistant director of the biochemical genetics laboratory. Dr. Chace began an important collaboration with the CDC to develop standards and quality assurance materials pertaining to amino acids and acylcarnitines in dried-blood-spot analysis. At Neo Gen Screening, he was able to pursue the application of tandem mass spectrometry to very high-throughput screening, at the same time further enhancing interpretation procedures and guidelines and quality assurance/quality control. Under his direction, the BioAnalytical Chemistry and Mass Spectrometry section of Neo Gen Screening has analyzed more than 1 million specimens; the detection of disorders in several hundred children led to positive outcomes for those children. In addition to newborn screening, Dr. Chace has also adapted the technology to screening infants and children who have died of unknown cause. Dr. Chace is actively involved in quality assurance/quality control and new concepts in multianalyte screening. His research goals include expanding the number of diseases screened by mass spectrometry and investigating novel ways of integrating mass spectrometry in the clinical laboratory.

Dr. Chace’s winning article is entitled:

“Electrospray Tandem Mass Spectrometry for Analysis of Acylcarnitines in Dried Postmortem Blood Specimens Collected at Autopsy from Infants with Unexplained Cause of Death,” co-authors J.C. DiPerna, B.L. Mitchell, B. Sgroi, L.F. Hofman, and E.W. Naylor.

2001 47:7: 1166-1182

Dr. Chace's award winning article can be read in its entirety at http://www.clinchem.org/cgi/content/full/47/7/1166