Johnna Birbeck

Johnna Birbeck

Senior Research Scientist

(313) 577-0183

071 Chemistry

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Johnna Birbeck

In 2013, Dr. Birbeck earned a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from WSU. In her graduate work, she developed a method to simultaneously detect dopamine and adenosine and their metabolites using HPLC with electrochemical detection. Dr. Birbeck also worked on 2 projects relating to characterizing the dopamine system in brain derived neurotrophic factor deficient mice (BDNF+/-). One study was an age study, characterizing the dopamine system in 18 month old BDNF+/- mice and their wild type counterparts. The second study was characterization of the dopamine system in female BDNF+/- mice and comparing it to a previous study done on male BDNF+/- mice.

As a senior scientist in the Lumigen Instrumentation Center (LIC), she has developed in-house analytical methods for quantification of cyanotoxins for treatment and occurrence studies using instrumentation such as HPLC-PDA, HPLC-qTOF, and UPLC-MS/MS. She has also managed two cyanotoxin occurrence studies for a NIH grant. Other duties include being the project manager for the LIC where she runs large projects for researchers and outside customers using various methods, including EPA methods using ICP-MS or LC-MSMS instrumentation. Studies include testing fingernails for aresenic levels, testing water samples for lead and copper, and testing water samples for various cyanotoxins. She also trains students, faculty, staff, and outside customers on how to use LC-MSMS and ICP-MS instrumentation in the LIC.

Since her undergraduate career, Dr. Birbeck has worked in the environmental field working on US EPA grant investigating the health of the St. Mary’s river is Sault Sainte Marie, MI, as well as spending two summers working at the University of Michigan’s biological station as an Assistant Laboratory Technician where she analyzed a variety of environmental water samples for nutrients such as ammonium, nitrates, phosphates, chloride, silica, and total organic phosphates using continuous flow Auto Analyzers.

Education – Degrees, Licenses, Certifications

  • B.S. Chemistry - Lake Superior State University (2008)
  • B.S. Forensic Chemistry - Lake Superior State University (2008)
  • Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry - Wayne State University (2013)

Selected Publications

1) Birbeck, J. A.; Khalid, M.; Mathews, T. A., Potentiated striatal dopamine release leads to hyperdopaminergia in female brain-derived neurotrophic factor heterozygous mice. ACS Chem Neurosci 2014, 5 (4), 275-81.
2) Birbeck, J. A.; Mathews, T. A., Simultaneous detection of monoamine and purine molecules using high-performance liquid chromatography with a boron-doped diamond electrode. Anal Chem 2013, 85 (15), 7398-404.
3) Bosse, K. E.; Birbeck, J. A.; Newman, B. E.; Mathews, T. A., Analysis of Neurotransmitters and their Metabolites by Liquid Chromatography. Liquid Chromatography: Applications, Elsevier: 2013; pp 542-609.
4) Bosse, K. E.; Maina, F. K.; Birbeck, J. A.; France, M. M.; Roberts, J. J.; Colombo, M. L.; Mathews, T. A., Aberrant striatal dopamine transmitter dynamics in brain-derived neurotrophic factor-deficient mice. J Neurochem 2012, 120 (3), 385-95.
5) Keller, B. J.; Back, R. C.; Westrick, J.; Werner, M.; Evans, B.; Moerke, A.; Zimmerman, G.; Wright, D. D.; Grenfell, E.; Courneya, J., Sediment quality at select sites in the St. Marys River Area of Concern. J Great Lakes Res 2011, 37, 12-20.