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Proteomics Laboratory for Clinical and Translational Research

The Proteomics Laboratory for Clinical and Translational Research is dedicated to the development of proteomic methods for disease diagnosis / prognosis and the identification of novel bio-signature and therapeutic candidate molecules of human disease. This approach additionally holds the potential for developing personalized medicine by defining the differences of each patient’s proteomic signature. This research will provide a molecular level insight which might be applied to overcome current clinical challenges.

Mission Statement: It is the mission of The Proteomics Laboratory for Clinical and Translational Research to elucidate early and specific biomarkers of human disease, especially hepatocellular carcinoma and other cancers.   

Research Interests

Currently the Proteomics Laboratory for Clinical and Translational Research is equipped with state-of-the art instrumentation. They are developing sensitive clinical diagnostic methods using tandem mass spectrometry and stable heavy isotope labeled peptide (SHILIP) techniques. Their ion trap mass spectrometer enables them to perform the multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) protocol, which increases sensitivity >10 fold by selecting the target fragment ion and by reducing background noise. This technology makes possible the relative quantification of peptide abundance by comparing the area under the curve of the analytical standard to that of the sample fragment peptides with sensitivity to concentrations at the lower femtomolar [10-15 molar] level.

The laboratory is also engaged in research directed toward disease biomarker discovery using clinical tissues and body fluids. They have established protocols for efficient subcellular  fractionation of proteins from tissue samples, and protocols are constantly under development for in-depth proteomic studies of biological fluids and tissues.  These protocols extend the dynamic range of sensitivity of mass spectrometric analysis by reducing the interference of the highly abundant proteins inherent in these samples. Using these strategies, they have identified molecular protein signatures of both Pancreatic and Hepatocellular Carcinoma.  These proteins are now being further investigated in the laboratory for use as diagnostic and therapeutic molecular targets and to further understand the molecular mechanisms underlying these devastating diseases.   Additionally, the laboratory has developed protocols for sensitive diagnosis of disorders of iron metabolism, such as hemochromatosis, utilizing hepcidin peptide quantification in urine and blood.  The laboratory is also involved in various collaborations with biomedical researchers at the state, national and international level.  Within Carolinas HealthCare System and University of North Carolina at Charlotte collaborations include investigations into the proteomic profiling of articular cartilage, prediction and identification of transcription factors, proteomic profiling of MUC1 knockout mice, and the proteomic study of pulmonary embolism.  For more information regarding collaborations in this laboratory please see our Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Core Facility site.

Laboratory Members

Sun-il Hwang, PhD, Director
Kimberly Q. McKinney, MS, Senior Research Analyst
Jin-Gyun Lee, PhD, Post Doctoral Research Fellow
Antonis Pavlopoulos, Research Tech II

Contact Information: Sun-il Hwang, PhD


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