Eberlin Lab

Mass Spectrometry of Tissues for Biomarker Discovery

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Advanced Data Analytics and Statistical Methods

A key strength of our research team is in the development and refinement of mass spectrometry imaging techniques for spatial profiling of metabolism in cancer tissues. We have developed several methods using desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) MS imaging to improve specificity in the detection and imaging of hundreds of metabolites and lipids directly from human tissue sections. We then implemented these methods to discover novel metabolic signatures and biomarkers that are diagnostic, prognostic, and related to treatment response across multiple diseases.

One example is a study in which we employed MS imaging to characterize the metabolic composition of oncocytic thyroid and kidney tumors. Using DESI-MS imaging, we obtained metabolic information from specific tumor regions within the complex tumor microenvironment and discovered that oncocytic tumors have abnormal cardiolipin signatures, including previously unreported oxidized cardiolipins that may serve as targets for treatment. We have also implemented DESI-MS imaging to characterize the metabolic profiles of cancerous and normal cancer tissues and identified predictive markers of cancer aggressiveness and response to chemotherapies. Ongoing funded projects include imaging of pediatric cancer tissues for disease stratification, identification of metabolic markers of response to immunotherapies in human tissues, imaging of molecular markers of endometriosis, among others.