We are an academic lab at St. John’s University. A number of projects are ongoing in the lab including low level lead exposure biomarker discovery, elucidating the biological pathways underlying manganese toxicity, development of immunological synapse inhibitors, and the deployment of affordable proteomic techniques that can be used for pilot discovery or in educational laboratory settings.
We are a diverse group (graduate, undergraduate, and even the occasional high school student) with research divided between two areas, bioinformatics and biomarker discovery. The bioinformatics work primarily occurs through the Reactome project (see the Projects page). Biomarker discovery has grown out the labs focus on developing affordable proteomics techniques, a goal that resulted in two well-researched methods to allow any lab to identify novel protein interactions affected by their compound of interest. We are currently investigating two areas, chronic low-level lead toxicity and manganese toxicity. Low level, chronic toxicities are very difficult to identify. Systematic methods of identifying individuals who are exposed and need further clinical attention must be established. More importantly these exposures tend to occur in areas lacking economic or social advantages, populations with the least access to appropriate health care. Humans are exquisitely sensitive to the presence of lead and one method of identifying individuals who are exposed to a toxicant is to use the organism’s biological responses as an indicator of exposure. In this sense the exposed individuals gene and protein expression patterns serve as a harbinger of exposure. Quantifiable biological changes in gene and protein expression that are indicative of exposure or diseases are biomarkers.
Low-level chronic lead toxicity effects millions of people across the globe, resulting in subtle, but quantifiable neurological effects. Our lab has identified sets of gene a protein expression biomarkers. Other topics of interest are the identification of toxicant exposure biomarkers for manganese toxicity and the characterization of SNARE protein mediated mast cell exocytosis and development of SNARE specific peptide inhibitor therapy. To read about this and other lab projects please see the Projects page.
To learn more about the people behind the research or see what we have been writing about have a look at our People and Blog pages.