About The Laboratory

Our laboratory is interested in combining mass spectrometry-based approaches in proteomics and metabolomics to understand the cell biology of cancer and immune cells.

Small molecules form the basis of many of the chemical reactions necessary for life and perform most of their biological functions by interacting with proteins. The small molecules that proteins interact with in nature are either produced within the cell (endogenous) or by other cells or organisms (exogenous).

Endogenous metabolites. For many metabolites that are produced in eukaryotic cells, we don’t know: 1) their function, and 2) how their production is regulated. Understanding these areas will help us to uncover new metabolically-regulated pathways important in cancer and immunology. Our laboratory combines metabolomics, proteomics, and molecular biology techniques to answer these questions.

Exogenous small molecules. In nature, organisms often encounter small molecules from other species that serve as defense mechanisms or signaling messengers. These molecules have “left their mark” on the mammalian proteome over the course of evolution. Understanding how these molecules interact with proteins has often led to a 1) greater understanding of biological pathways and 2) new drugs/natural products, or new purposes for old drugs. Our laboratory is developing and using new proteomics techniques to directly measure small molecule-protein interactions. We aim to combine these approaches with phenotypic measurements to better understand the mode of action of known bioactive small molecules important in cancer and immune cell biology.