Integrating ‘Omics Data

The role for metabolic reprogramming in drug resistance

Integrating genomic and metabolomic methods in pancreatic cancer

Small molecules like cholesterol and glucose are routinely monitored in clinical care for the diagnosis of inborn errors of metabolism or to assess heart disease risk, but changes in small molecules can also be useful for understanding diseases not traditionally thought of as metabolic disease. But metabolic changes that occur in cancer contribute to disease progression and patient response to treatment. We are interested in 1) metabolic changes associated with development of pancreatic cancer 2) detection of those changes in peripheral fluids and 3) integrating metabolic and transcriptomic measurements to identify metabolic shifts critical to tumor initiation or progression. Metabolic reprogramming in pancreatic cancer (and other cancers) is associated with drug response and represent potential cancer cell- specific vulnerabilities.

Integrating metabolomics and genomics in neuropsychiatric disease

Characterization of metabolite levels in neuropsychiatric disorders

In collaboration with the Myers Lab and the Pritzker Consortium, the Sara Cooper Lab has characterized metabolic and gene expression changes in brain tissue of individuals affected with neuropsychiatric disorders. Using two-dimensional GC with mass spectrometry and RNA-sequencing we demonstrated the alterations in critical pathways such as GABA synthesis in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Our analysis of gene expression data also points to altered ratio of neurons to astrocytes in brains of schizophrenia and bipolar disease patients as well as a role for the transcription factor EGR1 in regulating genes differentially expressed in brains of schizophrenic patients. These studies have led to an improved understanding of devastating disorders like bipolar and schizophrenia (Ramaker et al. 2017).