Projects at CTRAL are mainly focused on protein and amino acid metabolism, exercise and physical activity, muscle wasting, function testing, acute and long term intervention, clinical nutrition, and rehabilitation in older adults and clinical conditions in humans and relevant animal models. The focus in all research protocols involve mechanistic insight in changes in metabolism using fluxomics and metabolomics approaches of amino acids.

The CTRAL CRU consists of :

  • 12 overnight stay beds (4 private rooms, 4 semi-private, one 4-bedroom),
  • 4 private exam/procedure rooms,
  • One room to measure resting energy expenditure,
  • A nurse station,
  • Family waiting room,
  • Phlebotomy room,
  • Offices, and
  • Several storage rooms.

Two of our private rooms have bariatric sized beds. Each bed is equipped with

  • Oxygen supply,
  • A nurse alarm system,
  • Emergency power,
  • Internet connection,
  • Direct point-to-point communication possibility with the nursing station,
  • TVS/DVD,
  • Recliner for overnight visitors, and
  • Personal storage.

Our facility also houses:

  • 8 Baxter 6201 infusion pumps,
  • 5 custom made hot-boxes to obtain arterialized-venous blood samples,
  • Automatic and manual B/P machines,
  • A pulse oxygen meter,
  • A CPR board,
  • Blood glucose glucometers (Accu-check Aviva), and
  • Three wheelchairs.

Research nursing staff and study physicians are responsible for medical aspects of the outpatient portion of research studies.

CTRAL is located on the main Texas A&M campus and is readily accessible with easy parking for study participants and staff.


The recruitment core of CTRAL is responsible for recruiting hospitalized, outpatient, and healthy volunteers alike. CTRAL PIs currently have successful research collaborations with many physicians in the area at medical centers such as:

  • College Station Medical Center
  • Baylor Scott and White Medical Center
  • CHI St. Joseph Health
  • M.D. Anderson in Houston

View ongoing trials at CTRAL.

Our experienced Compliance Core staff ensure that CTRAL activities are in compliance with IRB, IACUC, biosafety, environmental, health safety, and other federal regulations.


A metabolic kitchen (commercial grade) is available 24.7 for food, test diet, food supplement, and non-hazardous oral compounding (USP 795) preparations for human subjects.

Our experienced staff is available to ensure appropriate use of stable isotope technology in human subjects. Our lab is available to facilitate STAT blood/tissue processing and is equipped with:

  • 2 biosafety cabinets.
  • 2 centrifuges.
  • A blood cell counter.
  • A high-density secured data archive system.
  • A secured, controlled, monitored sample. storage/biobank with a CO2-backup system and emergency power for 9 -80°C freezers with the capacity to store 250,000 samples.
  • Clinical waste management in a decontamination room for reusable tools/instruments used in human subjects.
  • Soil and waste autoclave for sterilizing clinical waste.

A controlled/monitored USP797 certified clean room with 4°C and 20°C storage unit, for clinical preparations for IV compounding of non-hazardous stable isotope infusate compounding and a sterilizer for clinical tools and instruments.

This facility can also be utilized for preparing aseptic syringes and infusion bags on clinical test days. Sterility and pyrogenicity of prepared IV compounded infusates are tested according to USP 797 guidelines and the standard operation protocol for the operating pharmacist.Our experienced staff is available to ensure appropriate use of stable isotope technology in human subjects.


Major function equipment and facilities are available, including:

  • NO breath analyser (NIOX),
  • 4 FEV1 analyser (SpiroD)
  • Handgrip dynamometer (Vernier)
  • MicroRPM – MIP/MEP to measure mouth pressures (Carefusion)
  • Resting energy expenditure using ventilated hood (ParvoMedics True One 2400)
  • EKG (Nasitt Cardio System)
  • Heart Rate Monitors for exercise (Polar E600)
  • Pedometers (Sportline Model 370)
  • Exercise bikes (Schwinn)
  • Leg press (Nebula)
  • Exercise bikes – Watt Measurement (Sport Excalibar)
  • Bench press (Nebula)
  • Smith press (Life Fitness)
  • Stress test treadmills for graded exercise testing (VO2 max)
  • KinCom machine
  • Resistance endurance and resistance rehabilitation training facilities with whole body workout circuit machines (leg extension/curl, squat, latissimus pulldown, chest press, bicep curl, tricep extension)
  • 8 different thera-bands with resistance of 20-30%

We measure body composition using the following techniques:

  • Deuterium/bromide dilution technique: Each subject consumes a pre-weighed oral dose of D2O and sodium bromide after which both total body and extracellular eater will be estimated from deuterium dilution and bromide space through measuring the D2O {Mahsut, 2011, 351-353}{Walker, 2015, 838-843} and Br- levels in plasma or urine.
    • In addition, body composition at the whole-body level and within body compartments (extremities, trunk) are measured by means of a DXA system (Hologic QDR 4500 W with Apex Software), thereby measuring fat tissue, lean tissue, and bone mineral content.

This is also measured using Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) D550 (Impedimed).


Mobile equipment and expertise are present to support complex metabolic in vivo conscious and unconscious large animal research at TAMU animal research facilities.

For the proposed pig experiments, it contains:

  • 4 custom made movable pig cages for metabolic experiments
  • 10 clinical intravenous infusion pumps with poles
  • 2 Harvard syringe pumps
  • 2 Gilson mini-pulse pumps
  • 1 blood pressure/CO2 monitor (ProPaq Encore)
  • 1 blood gas analyzer (I-stat)
  • Cooled tabletop centrifuge
  • Hematocrit centrifuge
  • 2 vortexers
  • 2 sets of Gilson pipettes
  • 2 temperature controlled stirrers
  • 4 instrument carts
  • 1 supply cart
  • 2 complete surgical tool sets for large animal surgery
  • 2 fluid incubators
  • 1 sonicator

This core features major instrumentation for LC/MS/MS, GC/MS/MS and clinical biochemistry.

Sciex (Foster City CA) 5500 QTRAP® and 3200 QTRAP® instruments are hybrid tandem mass spectrometers operable in all triple quadrupole (QqQ) and quadrupole-linear ion trap (QqLIT) scan modes. Their TurboV® heated ESI and APCI sources:

  • Deliver very high and moderately high ion fluxes, respectively
  • Minimize inter-channel delays by LINAC® patented axial ejection of fragment ions the collision cells
  • Aquire data in true ion-counting mode
  • Reduce noise by a patented algorithm that does not obscure trace signals.
  • Clinical biochemistry using the Cobas c 111 analyser (Roche Diagnostics, Indianapolis, IN)
  • Bead-based multiplexed immunoassay system (milliplex analyser, Luminex xMAP technology), with microplate washer (BioTek, 405 TS)

CTRAL computing facilities consist of:

  • 5 Brother printers
  • 5 Touch Smart HP computers
  • 35 desktop HP and Dell PCs
  • 30 HP Chromebooks
  • 4 projectors and state-of-the-art equipment for web meetings
  • Software licenses for all PCs with Adobe PDF and Microsoft Office
  • Three licenses for SPSS statistical
  • Six licenses for Graphpad Prism statistical and presentation software
  • One license for SAAM Software for compartmental analysis
  • 12 offices
  • One conference room and break room
  • Several storage rooms