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Daniel W. Bearden

Dan’s research has focused on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) since he started graduate school, with various side trails in areas like quasi-elastic neutron scattering (thesis work) and environmental analytical chemistry (in NOAA tasks he led the environmental analytical chemistry group). Currently as the Senior NIST NMR Scientist at the Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, SC, he is developing techniques for NMR-based environmental metabolomics and using NMR for SRM development and certification efforts.

The application of metabolomics techniques to non-model environmental organisms subjected to environmental stressors opens a novel investigative window into systems-level responses that are often not apparent from traditional bioassay or chemical body-burden approaches to ecological issues. The metabolomics group has worked with both laboratory-based and field-based approaches with stressors ranging from anthropogenic pollutants to physical stressors related to environmental change. Some novel metabolites have been observed and the systems biological view is providing new biological insights in these varied organisms.

Applying metabolomics approaches to aquaculture may provide important opportunities to improve efficiencies in a process that is responsible for feeding more and more people throughout the world. Through studies where the feed is systematically varied to optimize the nutritional value while minimizing the cost of ingredients, novel biological insight can be gained into the effects of alternative feeds. Also, performing longitudinal studies of aquaculture operations provides unique insight into processes that occur during the growth of fish, shrimp and other cultivable candidates.

Dan is also the lead for the development of a metabolomics data quality control effort for human based samples (urine, serum and other tissues) that will join quantitative data from NMR with other analytical technologies (GCxGC-TOFMS, LC-MS/MS) to provide improved data quality and better understanding of the metabolomics approach to human disease and health processes.

Dan also has ongoing interests in using NMR in diverse areas such as natural products identification, nanomaterial characterization and general spectroscopy issues such as pulse sequence optimization.

Membership and Professional Activities:

  • American Chemical Society, Member
  • Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), Member
  • Metabolomics Society, Board Member (2012-present)
  • Co-chair, 2012 Annual International Meeting of the Metabolomics Society
  • International Organizing Committee, 2013 Annual International Meeting of the Metabolomics Society
  • Co-chair of the Metabolomics Society Data Quality Task Group (2014–present)


Research Chemist
Chemical Sciences Division

Employment History:

  • Research Chemist, NIST, 2007-present
  • Research Chemist, NOAA, 1993-2007
  • Director of NMR Facilities and Lecturer, Clemson University, 1990-1993
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Australian National University, Research School of Chemistry, Canberra, Australia, 1987-1989


  • Ph.D., Physics, Rice University, Houston, TX, 1986
  • M.S., Physics, Rice University, Houston, TX, 1983
  • B.S., Physics, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, 1980
  • B.S., Electrical Engineering, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, 1980

Phone: 843-762-8865
Email: dan.bearden@nist.gov
Fax: 843-762-8742