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Christopher Anderton
Mass Spectrometry Imaging Scientist

Chris Anderton leads researchers on the Biogeochemical Transformation team. He has an extensive background in elucidating chemical interactions occurring across all kingdoms of life, including those within soils and the rhizosphere. 

Through his graduate endeavors to his recent position, he focuses on the power of multimodal imaging methods to expand the type of information gained from samples. For his graduate work and postdoc at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, he used atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and secondary ion mass spectrometry to understand the physicochemical properties of biological samples.

While at EMSL and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, his focus has been, in part, on expanding the mass spectrometry imaging capability—making these valuable tools for analyzing bacteria communities, rhizosphere-related systems, and even human health-related processes. He also focuses on visualizing the key mechanisms that drive interkingdom interactions within soil to understand the key drivers that lead to resiliency in the face of a changing environment.

Research Interests

  • Inter-Kingdom Interactions
  • Spatial Metabolomics
  • Mass Spectrometry Imaging


  • PhD in Chemistry, University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign, 2010
  • BS in Chemistry, University of Colorado, 2005

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
  • Publications Committee, American Society for Mass Spectrometry
  • Executive Committee Member At-Large and Founding Member, Imaging Mass Spectrometry Society
  • Founding Member, Mass Spectrometry Imaging Society
  • STEM Ambassador, PNNL



Agtuca, B. J., S. A. Stopka, S. Evans, L. Samarah, Y. Liu, D. Xu, M. G. Stacey, D. W. Koppenaal, L. Paša-Tolić, C. R. Anderton, A. Vertes, and G. Stacey. 2020. "Metabolomic profiling of wild-type and mutant soybean root nodules using laser-ablation electrospray ionization mass spectrometry reveals altered metabolism." Plant Journal 103 (5): 1937-1958.

Agtuca, B. J., S. A. Stopka, T. R. Tuleski, F. P. Do Amaral, S. Evans, Y. Liu, D. Xu, R. A. Monteiro, D. W. Koppenaal, L. Paša-Tolić, C. R. Anderton, A. Vertes, and G. Stacey. 2020. "In-situ metabolomic analysis of Setaria viridis roots colonized by beneficial endophytic bacteria." Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 33 (2): 272-283.

Anderton, C. R., J. M. Mobberley, J. M. Mobberley, J. K. Cole, J. R. Nunez, R. Starke, A. A. Boaro, Y. Yesiltepe, B. R. Morton, A. B. Cory, H. C. Cardamone, K. S. Hofmockel, M. S. Lipton, J. J. Moran, R. S. Renslow, R. S. Renslow, J. K. Fredrickson, S. R. Lindemann, S. R. Lindemann, and S. R. Lindemann. 2020. "Nitrogen source governs community carbon metabolism in a model hypersaline benthic phototrophic biofilm." mSystems 5 (3).  

Bhattacharjee, A., A. M. Thompson, K. C. Schwarz, M. C. Burnet, Y. M. Kim, J. R. Nunez, S. J. Fansler, Y. Farris, C. J. Brislawn, T. O. Metz, R. S. McClure, R. S. Renslow, L. Shor, J. K. Jansson, K. S. Hofmockel, and C. R. Anderton. 2020. "Soil microbial EPS resiliency is influenced by carbon source accessibility." Soil Biology and Biochemistry 151.  

Bhattacharjee, A., D. Velickovic, T. W. Wietsma, S. L. Bell, J. K. Jansson, K. S. Hofmockel, and C. R. Anderton. 2020. "Visualizing microbial community dynamics via a controllable soil environment." mSystems 5 (1).

Kraft, M., C. Anderton, and P. Weber. 2020. "Correlated Imaging of Topology and Composition within Phase-separated Supported Lipid Membranes." Microscopy and Microanalysis.  

Krounbi, L., A. Enders, C. R. Anderton, M. H. Engelhard, R. Hestrin, D. Torres-Rojas, J. J. Dynes, and J. Lehmann. 2020. "Sequential Ammonia and Carbon Dioxide Adsorption on Pyrolyzed Biomass to Recover Waste Stream Nutrients." ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 8 (18): 7121-7131.  

Lee, J. Y., N. C. Sadler, R. G. Egbert, C. R. Anderton, K. S. Hofmockel, J. K. Jansson, and H. S. Song. 2020. "Deep learning predicts microbial interactions from self-organized spatiotemporal patterns." Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal 18: 1259-1269.  

Lukowski, J. K., A. Pamreddy, D. Velickovic, G. Zhang, L. Pasa-Tolic, T. Alexandrov, K. Sharma, and C. R. Anderton. 2020. "Storage Conditions of Human Kidney Tissue Sections Affect Spatial Lipidomics Analysis Reproducibility." Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.  

Naylor, D., N. Sadler, A. Bhattacharjee, E. B. Graham, C. R. Anderton, R. McClure, M. Lipton, K. S. Hofmockel, and J. K. Jansson. 2020. "Soil Microbiomes Under Climate Change and Implications for Carbon Cycling." Annual Review of Environment and Resources 45 (1): 29-59.  

Ong, E., L. L. Wang, J. Schaub, J. F. O’Toole, B. Steck, A. Z. Rosenberg, F. Dowd, J. Hansen, L. Barisoni, S. Jain, I. H. de Boer, M. T. Valerius, S. S. Waikar, C. Park, D. C. Crawford, T. Alexandrov, C. R. Anderton, C. Stoeckert, C. Weng, A. D. Diehl, C. J. Mungall, M. Haendel, P. N. Robinson, J. Himmelfarb, R. Iyengar, M. Kretzler, S. Mooney, Y. He, and Project Kidney Precision Medicine. 2020. "Modelling kidney disease using ontology: insights from the Kidney Precision Medicine Project." Nature Reviews Nephrology 16 (11): 686-696.  

Samarah, L. Z., R. Khattar, T. H. Tran, S. A. Stopka, C. A. Brantner, P. Parlanti, D. Veličković, J. B. Shaw, B. J. Agtuca, G. Stacey, L. Paša-Tolić, N. Tolić, C. R. Anderton, and A. Vertes. 2020. "Single-Cell Metabolic Profiling: Metabolite Formulas from Isotopic Fine Structures in Heterogeneous Plant Cell Populations." Analytical Chemistry 92 (10): 7289-7298.  

Zhang, G., J. Zhang, R. J. DeHoog, S. Pennathur, C. R. Anderton, M. A. Venkatachalam, T. Alexandrov, L. S. Eberlin, and K. Sharma. 2020. "DESI-MSI and METASPACE indicates lipid abnormalities and altered mitochondrial membrane components in diabetic renal proximal tubules." Metabolomics 16 (1).  

Veličković, D., R. K. Chu, G. L. Myers, A. H. Ahkami, and C. R. Anderton. 2020. "An approach for visualizing the spatial metabolome of an entire plant root system inspired by the Swiss-rolling technique." Journal of Mass Spectrometry 55 (4).  

Veličković, D., V. S. Lin, A. Rivas, C. R. Anderton, and J. J. Moran. 2020. "An approach for broad molecular imaging of the root-soil interface via indirect matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry." Soil Biology and Biochemistry 146.  

Veličković, D., G. Zhang, D. Bezbradica, A. Bhattacharjee, L. Paša-Tolić, K. Sharma, T. Alexandrov, C. R. Anderton, and Kpmp Consortium. 2020. "Response Surface Methodology As a New Approach for Finding Optimal MALDI Matrix Spraying Parameters for Mass Spectrometry Imaging." Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry 31 (3): 508-516.  


Anderton, C. R. 2019. "Mass spectrometry | Mass spectrometry imaging." Encyclopedia of Analytical Science, 443-452. 

Angerer, T. B., N. Chakravarty, M. J. Taylor, C. D. Nicora, D. J. Graham, C. R. Anderton, E. H. Chudler, and L. J. Gamble. 2019. "Insights into the histology of planarian flatworm Phagocata gracilis based on location specific, intact lipid information provided by GCIB-ToF-SIMS imaging." Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids 1864 (5): 733-743.  

Angerer, T. B., D. Velickovic, C. D. Nicora, J. E. Kyle, D. J. Graham, C. Anderton, and L. J. Gamble. 2019. "Exploiting the Semidestructive Nature of Gas Cluster Ion Beam Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry Imaging for Simultaneous Localization and Confident Lipid Annotations." Analytical Chemistry 91 (23): 15073-15080.  

Grant, J. S., P. M. Richards, C. R. Anderton, Z. Zhu, T. E. Mattes, and S. K. Shaw. 2019. "Passively Sampled Environmental Films Show Geographic Variability and Host a Variety of Microorganisms." ACS Earth and Space Chemistry 3 (12): 2726-2735.  

Grant, J. S., Z. Zhu, C. R. Anderton, and S. K. Shaw. 2019. "Physical and chemical morphology of passively sampled environmental films." ACS Earth and Space Chemistry 3 (2): 305-313.  

Nagy, G., D. Veličković, R. K. Chu, A. A. Carrell, D. J. Weston, Y. M. Ibrahim, C. R. Anderton, and R. D. Smith. 2019. "Towards resolving the spatial metabolome with unambiguous molecular annotations in complex biological systems by coupling mass spectrometry imaging with structures for lossless ion manipulations." Chemical Communications 55 (3): 306-309.  

Stopka, S. A., L. Z. Samarah, J. B. Shaw, A. V. Liyu, D. Veličković, B. J. Agtuca, C. Kukolj, D. W. Koppenaal, G. Stacey, L. Paša-Tolić, C. R. Anderton, and A. Vertes. 2019. "Ambient Metabolic Profiling and Imaging of Biological Samples with Ultrahigh Molecular Resolution Using Laser Ablation Electrospray Ionization 21 Tesla FTICR Mass Spectrometry." Analytical Chemistry 91 (8): 5028-5035.  

Veličkovic, D., H. L. Liao, R. Vilgalys, R. K. Chu, and C. R. Anderton. 2019. "Spatiotemporal Transformation in the Alkaloid Profile of Pinus Roots in Response to Mycorrhization." Journal of Natural Products 82 (5): 1382-1386.  


Nuñez, J., R. Renslow, J. B. Cliff, and C. R. Anderton. 2018. "NanoSIMS for biological applications: Current practices and analyses." Biointerphases 13 (3).  

Nuñez, J. R., C. R. Anderton, and R. S. Renslow. 2018. "Optimizing colormaps with consideration for color vision deficiency to enable accurate interpretation of scientific data." PLoS ONE 13 (8).  

Stopka, S. A., R. Khattar, B. J. Agtuca, C. R. Anderton, L. Paša-Tolić, G. Stacey, and A. Vertes. 2018. "Metabolic noise and distinct subpopulations observed by single cell LAESI mass spectrometry of plant cells in situ." Frontiers in Plant Science 871.  

Veličković, D., B. J. Agtuca, S. A. Stopka, A. Vertes, D. W. Koppenaal, L. Paša-Tolić, G. Stacey, and C. R. Anderton. 2018. "Observed metabolic asymmetry within soybean root nodules reflects unexpected complexity in rhizobacteria-legume metabolite exchange." ISME Journal 12 (9): 2335-2338.  

Veličković, D., R. K. Chu, A. A. Carrell, M. Thomas, L. Paša-Tolić, D. J. Weston, and C. R. Anderton. 2018. "Multimodal MSI in Conjunction with Broad Coverage Spatially Resolved MS2 Increases Confidence in Both Molecular Identification and Localization." Analytical Chemistry 90 (1): 702-707.


Nguyen, S. N., A. V. Liyu, R. K. Chu, C. R. Anderton, and J. Laskin. 2017. "Constant-distance mode nanospray desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry imaging of biological samples with complex topography." Analytical Chemistry 89 (2): 1131-1137.  

Stopka, S. A., B. J. Agtuca, D. W. Koppenaal, L. Paša-Tolić, G. Stacey, A. Vertes, and C. R. Anderton. 2017. "Laser-ablation electrospray ionization mass spectrometry with ion mobility separation reveals metabolites in the symbiotic interactions of soybean roots and rhizobia." Plant Journal 91 (2): 340-354.  

Veličković, D., and C. R. Anderton. 2017. "Mass spectrometry imaging: Towards mapping the elemental and molecular composition of the rhizosphere." Rhizosphere 3: 254-258.  


Anderton, C. R., R. K. Chu, N. Tolić, A. Creissen, and L. Paša-Tolić. 2016. "Utilizing a Robotic Sprayer for High Lateral and Mass Resolution MALDI FT-ICR MSI of Microbial Cultures." Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry 27 (3): 556-559.

Anderton, C. R., and L. J. Gamble. 2016. "Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry Imaging of Tissues, Cells, and Microbial Systems." Microscopy Today 24 (2): 24-31.  

Proetto, M. T., C. R. Anderton, D. Hu, C. J. Szymanski, Z. Zhu, J. P. Patterson, J. K. Kammeyer, L. G. Nilewski, A. M. Rush, N. C. Bell, J. E. Evans, G. Orr, S. B. Howell, and N. C. Gianneschi. 2016. "Cellular Delivery of Nanoparticles Revealed with Combined Optical and Isotopic Nanoscopy." ACS Nano 10 (4): 4046-4054.  

Renslow, R. S., S. R. Lindemann, J. K. Cole, Z. Zhu, and C. R. Anderton. 2016. "Quantifying element incorporation in multispecies biofilms using nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry image analysis." Biointerphases 11 (2).  


Tfaily, M. M., R. K. Chu, N. Tolić, K. M. Roscioli, C. R. Anderton, L. Paša-Tolić, E. W. Robinson, and N. J. Hess. 2015. "Advanced solvent based methods for molecular characterization of soil organic matter by high-resolution mass spectrometry." Analytical Chemistry 87 (10): 5206-5215.  

Troiano, J. M., L. L. Olenick, T. R. Kuech, E. S. Melby, D. Hu, S. E. Lohse, A. C. Mensch, M. Dogangun, A. M. Vartanian, M. D. Torelli, E. Ehimiaghe, S. R. Walter, L. Fu, C. R. Anderton, Z. Zhu, H. Wang, G. Orr, C. J. Murphy, R. J. Hamers, J. A. Pedersen, and F. M. Geiger. 2015. "Direct probes of 4 nm diameter gold nanoparticles interacting with supported lipid bilayers." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 119 (1): 534-546.  


DeBord, J. D., D. F. Smith, C. R. Anderton, R. M. A. Heeren, L. Paša-Tolić, R. H. Gomer, and F. A. Fernandez-Lima. 2014. "Secondary ion mass spectrometry imaging of Dictyostelium discoideum aggregation streams." PLoS ONE 9 (6).  


Anderton, C. R., F. W. DelRio, K. Bhadriraju, and A. L. Plant. 2013. "The effect of high vacuum on the mechanical properties and bioactivity of collagen fibril matrices." Biointerphases 8 (1): 1-12.  

Chung, K. H., A. K. Chen, C. R. Anderton, K. Bhadriraju, A. L. Plant, B. G. Bush, R. F. Cook, and F. W. Delrio. 2013. "Frictional properties of native and functionalized type i collagen thin films." Applied Physics Letters 103 (14).


Anderton, C. R., B. Vaezian, K. Lou, J. F. Frisz, and M. L. Kraft. 2012. "Identification of a lipid-related peak set to enhance the interpretation of TOF-SIMS data from model and cellular membranes." Surface and Interface Analysis 44 (3): 322-333.  


Anderton, C. R., K. Lou, P. K. Weber, I. D. Hutcheon, and M. L. Kraft. 2011. "Correlated AFM and NanoSIMS imaging to probe cholesterol-induced changes in phase behavior and non-ideal mixing in ternary lipid membranes." Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes 1808 (1): 307-315.  


Vaezian, B., C. R. Anderton, and M. L. Kraft. 2010. "Discriminating and imaging different phosphatidylcholine species within phase-separated model membranes by principal component analysis of TOF-secondary ion mass spectrometry images." Analytical Chemistry 82 (24): 10006-10014.  


Stewart, M. E., C. R. Anderton, L. B. Thompson, J. Maria, S. K. Gray, J. A. Rogers, and R. G. Nuzzo. 2008. "Nanostructured plasmonic sensors." Chemical Reviews 108 (2): 494-521.  


Weiss, D. J., E. J. Austria, C. R. Anderton, R. Hompesch, and A. Jander. 2006. "Analysis of green tea extract dietary supplements by micellar electrokinetic chromatography." Journal of Chromatography A 1117 (1): 103-108.  


Weiss, D. J., and C. R. Anderton. 2003. "Determination of catechins in matcha green tea by micellar electrokinetic chromatography." Journal of Chromatography A 1011 (1-2): 173-180.