Mapping metabolic activity using functional Mass Spectrometry Imaging (fMSI)
In collaboration with Dr. David Muddiman of the NCSU Chemistry Department, we are mapping the spatial differences in metabolic activity in mouse tissues. Using a novel infusion protocol, stable isotope labeling is tracked as a function of time and spatial location in normal mouse tissues and mouse mammary tumors using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry imaging methods. This approach allows us to map the rate of metabolic turnover rather than the static picture of genes, proteins or metabolites in the tissue.
Effects of oxygen on cell growth, molecular profile and toxicity response
Oxygen levels in healthy tissue range from a high pO2 level adjacent to arterioles of approximately 100 mmHg down to hypoxic levels (<10 mmHg). In tumors, hypoxia and even anoxic tissue is commonly observed. In addition, due to poorly formed vasculature, some regions of tumor tissue experience cycling oxygen levels. Oxygen is difficult to measure or control in vivo, so our laboratory has developed novel devices to screen cell growth and response under a range of static and cycling environments. We use these devices to screen for markers of static and cycling hypoxia in cancer cells and to determine how these cells respond to therapy. In addition, in normal cell lines, we can perform risk assessment studies upon exposure of cells to environmental toxins under physiologically relevant oxygen levels.