Bioorganic and medicinal chemistry: Understanding the involvement of lipids in different cell fates; LC-MS based lipidomics; biochemical characterization of lipids of interest
877 Natural Sciences Complex
Buffalo NY, 14260
Phone: (716) 645-4130
Fax: (716) 645-6963
Lipids are a broad class of biomolecules whose primary role is to form the permeability barriers, which define cellular borders and compartments within them. Increasingly, they are recognized to play critical roles as signaling molecules both within cells and between cells, as lipids themselves, or following transformation by hydrolysis, oxidation or other modifications. As a chemical biologist, my research focuses on investigating the role of lipids and lipid-derived metabolites in different cellular processes, which I think provide a major and unexplored area of biochemistry that is ripe for discovery and therapeutic applications.
Apoptosis (programmed cell death) and senescence (permanent cessation of division) are two natural processes that terminate the proliferative life of an animal cell. They play central roles in normal aging, cancer formation and progression, and response to cancer chemotherapy. Apoptosis has been heavily studied, and protein-based pathways that regulate it are well understood. Senescence, in contrast, has only recently been recognized as a major event in the life of tissue cells, and is much less well understood. Research on apoptosis and senescence have mostly been confined to key protein players. The role of lipids in these cellular events are largely unknown, and interest has focused on a small number of molecules in the sphingolipid family. We aim to construct comprehensive maps of the lipidome at different stages of cell life cycle, identify novel lipids and infer/define their functional relevance in apoptosis and senescence. The findings of these projects will not only provide a better understanding of the nature and involvement of a complex class of compounds in fundamental biological events but could also potentially provide future therapeutic applications for aging, cancer and inflammatory disease.