Our laboratory focuses on understanding metabolism and its contribution to health and cancer pathogenesis. We develop and employ leading technology using mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and computational biology. These approaches are integrated with genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry. We have made seminal contributions in both the fields of metabolomics and cancer metabolism In cancer cell metabolism, we have used metabolomics and isotope labeling experiments and discovered an alternate pathway for glucose metabolism in cancer cells (Science 2010). We have also applied metabolomics technology and made the discovery that cancer cells synthesize serine, glycine and one-carbon (SGOC) units from glucose and that the pathway is genetically altered in human cancer (Nature Genetics 2011). We have further made the discovery that a key function of SGOC metabolism is to maintain histone methylation and epigenetic status (Science 2013, Cell Metabolism 2015).
We have developed novel mass spectrometry technology that can profile and quantify over 300 water soluble metabolites including nearly every metabolite relevant to the metabolic networks we study (Analytical Chemistry 2014, Molecular Cellular Proteomics 2015). We have also developed simulation algorithms that capitalize on these measurements and utilize physico-chemical constraints of metabolism to understand kinetic regulation and flux in metabolic pathways (Cell Reports 2014, eLIFE 2014, PLoS Computational Biology 2015). We also have considerable expertise in the analysis of genomics data by assessing expression of the human metabolic network (Nature Biotechnology 2013, Cell Reports 2014, PLoS ONE 2015). Ultimately this program aims to convert these findings into rapid advances in patient care and disease prevention by using quantitative, data-driven models to accelerate drug development.