Research Area 2: Biochemical Networks and Biomarkers

The Goal of Biochemical Networks and Biomarkers

(BNB) research is to gain a better understanding of the molecular networks that underpin disease, potentially triangulating nodes in these networks for treatment or intervention. 

BNB has recently generated new lipid and polar metabolite libraries to provide confident identification of over 500 compounds from plasma, urine, tissues, and cell lines.  These libraries compliment the burgeoning untargeted metabolomics program in Bio5 that revolves around a state-of-the-art Thermo Vanquish Duo UPLC tandem Exploris 480 Q-Orbi Mass Spectrometer.  Liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) metabolomics data can be further enhanced through a statistical pipeline (developed at the Center for Precision Nutrition and Wellness) that provides pathway enrichment and network analysis to pinpoint nodes of regulation.  Specialty Lipidomics pipelines have also been developed to identify alterations in lipid classes, hydrocarbon chain lengths, and degrees of saturation during experimental interventions.   Significantly altered molecular features identified during untargeted metabolomics are then developed into quantitative assays (utilizing LC/MS/MS and analytical standards), with the potential for clinical application.  Currently, BNB has validated methods for the quantitative analysis of over 20 separate lipid Classes, as well as a GC-FID method for the analysis of total fatty acid content of plasma.  Research has also been driven towards the analysis of exosomes and the center recently attained instrumentation for the analysis and purification of exosomes. The BioRad Bio-Plex 200 system is multiplex plate reader that will allow the center to quantify and analyze up to 48 analytes on a single plate. Taken together, these cutting-edge instrumentation and statistical tools drive research that will directly effect health of the surrounding community.