Collaborations in Progress
Dr. Reginald Hill, Archibald Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology at the University of Notre Dame, has found that pancreatic cancer cells release small bits of genetic information called microRNA. He is working with Dr. Chia Chang, Bayer Professor of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, who is using his expertise in microfluidics to develop a technology to detect this microRNA and the vesicles that carry them, called exosomes. Dr. Yves DeClerk from USC, is an expert in the behavior of exosomes. Collaborating is the best strategy for this device to be developed and its impact will be dramatic. Rather than pancreatic cancer patients learning of their diagnosis when the tumor has already begun to metastasize, these patients could potentially be diagnosed and treated before a tumor begins to form.
Dr. Hummon, Huisking Foundation, Inc. Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame, is an expert in imagining mass spectrometry which allows her to not only identify proteins but see where they are expressed in three dimensions. She is able to identify what proteins are in a tumor and where they are located. Amanda’s collaborator from USC, Dr. Heinz-Josef Lenz, is a leading colon cancer oncologist to say the least. Together, Amanda and Heinz-Josef can look at tumor tissues from the right and left side of the colon and see what proteins are different. Understanding this differential protein expression is an important step towards developing new therapies. Neither of them could do this alone.