Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame
The proteomics of cancer cells
The Hummon research group studies the misbehaving genes that trigger colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer, with an estimated 51,000 deaths in the United States in 2010 alone. More than other types of cancer, colorectal cancer progresses with a defined pattern of genetic changes and we are advancing the effort to elucidate them. The Hummon research group develops high-throughput methods to evaluate both the transcriptome and the proteome in cancer cells. Because cancer involves genomic damage that alters the expression levels of genes, changes commonly repeated among cancer patients, a better understanding of which genes, transcripts and proteins are affected could have broad health implications.
The group is developing and adapting current mass spectrometric and sampling protocols for global molecular profiling to understand cancer systems. They examine the expression of mRNA and proteins in cancerous tissues and compare them against healthy tissues to understand signaling pathways that are altered in cancerous cells. By identifying these changes, they can not only understand colorectal cancer, but also predict drug targets that will be used to halt the progression of the disease.