Personal profile

Research interests

Our research program has two major components. Each is briefly summarized below.

  1. Understanding how metabolism supports cancer cell proliferation and tumor progression. Cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth require the generation of biomass in the form of proteins, DNA, and lipid membranes. Although production of biomass requires energy and carbon, cancer cells paradoxically waste most of the glucose that they consume by excreting it as lactate. We are focused on understanding why cancer cells reprogram their metabolism to be seemingly inefficient. We are particularly interested in how cancer cells metabolically interact with non-transformed cells and healthy tissues, how diets such as intermittent fasting influence these interactions, and how non-malignant cells might be therapeutically targeted as an anti-cancer strategy. Our laboratory uses zebrafish and mice as model organisms to interrogate these questions. 
  2. Metabolomics technology development. We measure metabolism at the systems level by using mass spectrometry.
    1. Some ongoing projects include:
      • Performing population-level studies on cohorts comprised of tens of thousands of people.
      • Developing techniques to image metabolites from single cells.
      • Establishing computational approaches to integrate metabolomics data with genomics and proteomics data, particularly from large cohorts.
      • Designing machine learning algorithms to improve metabolomics data processing.
      • Modeling metabolic fluxes by using isotope tracers and linear algebra.  

Available to Mentor:

  • PhD/MSTP Students

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