John F. Cahill

John F Cahill

R&D Staff Scientist

I am an analytical chemist with interests in the development and application of the next generation of techniques for the chemical characterization of complex systems. My expertise in various forms of mass spectrometry has been applied to areas such as single cell analysis, atmospheric aerosol chemistry, mass spectrometry imaging, plant-microbe interactions, soil chemistry and many other systems.

Much of my research is focused on elucidating the spatiotemporal chemical dynamics in plant-microbe systems. We are inventing the next generation of chemical analysis tools to probe how microbes and plant roots interact with each other, how they change in response to stress, and how this information can be leveraged to design optimal biological systems in the future.  Most recently, through a DOE: BER Early Career award, I am investigating how plants can emit molecules to influence nitrogen acquisition, e.g., by inhibiting nitrification, using novel high throughput mass spectrometric tools. My research also develops online liquid extraction tools to measure metabolite chemistry with resolution down to single cells as part of an NIH R01 grant. Our open port sampling interface for mass spectrometry allows for unprecedented metabolic information to be obtained from single cells. This information we hope to link with with genetic precursors to yield a better understanding of cellular mechanisms and their response to therapeutics. 


2016 American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) Post Doctoral Award

2016 ImaBiotech Mass Spectrometry Imaging Award

2019 R&D 100 Award

2020 R&D 100 Award

2022 FLC National Excellence in Technology Transfer Award

2023 DOE: BER Early Career Award : Elucidation and Validation of Genes Associated with Biological Nitrification Inhibition in Populus

2005 - 2009 - B.S. Chemistry, Saint Ambrose University

2005 - 2009 - B.A. Philosophy, Saint Ambrose University

2009 - 2014 - Ph.D. Chemistry, University of California San Diego

2014 - 2017 -  Postdoctoral Research Associate, Mass Spectrometry and Laser Spectroscopy Group, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

2017 - 2021 - R&D Associate Scientist, Mass Spectrometry and Laser Spectroscopy Group, Chemical Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

2021 - Present - R&D Staff Scientist, Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry Group, Biosciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

I am active in ASMS and ACS professional societies