Email address: email@example.com
B.E. 1992, Beijing Polytechnic University (China)
Ph.D. 2000, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Postdoctoral Fellow, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Brandeis University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000-02
Also: Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Research Emphasis: Bioanalytical Chemistry, Mass Spectrometry, Microseparations, Proteomics & Peptidomics, Neurochemistry
Research in my laboratory focuses on developing and implementing an array of novel mass spectrometry based strategies to answer questions about the most complex and elusive set of signaling molecules, the neuropeptides, and gain new insights into the roles of peptide hormones and neurotransmitters play in the plasticity of neural circuits and behavior. While significant effort has been directed to analytical technique and method development, it is the biomedical importance of understanding the neuropeptidergic system that drives our research to continuously refine and improve the analytical capabilities to address challenging neuroscience problems. A large body of research strongly suggests that an imbalance of chemical messengers is associated with various neurological disorders. However, compared to classical neurotransmitters such as amines, the functional roles of many neuropeptides are still poorly understood. This is, in part, due to the lack of analytical capabilities to measure and identify these low abundance endogenous signaling molecules in a complex microenvironment. Clearly, development of highly sensitive and selective analytical tools for neuropeptide identification and quantitation is in great demand. Specifically, we are interested in understanding the roles that neuropeptides play in food intake, neural network development and response to environmental stresses.
We have chosen to work with a simpler and well-defined crustacean nervous system to both facilitate technology development and address fundamental neuroscience problems related to neuromodulation and network plasticity. We are developing a multi-faceted mass spectrometry-based analytical platform to probe peptidergic signaling with enhanced sensitivity and selectivity. By combining chemical labeling, micro-scale separation (capillary electrophoresis and nanoLC), and tandem mass spectrometry sequencing techniques, we have discovered a large number of novel neuropeptides in crustacean nervous systems. The physiological effects of these new peptides at the cellular and network levels are evaluated in collaboration with neurophysiologists in the field. Furthermore, both mass spectrometric imaging technology and in vivo microdialysis sampling tools have been implemented to follow neuropeptide distribution and secretion with unprecedented details. Finally, a differential display strategy in conjunction with isotopic labeling technique is being developed to allow functional discovery of neuropeptides in response to various physiological changes.
While the technology is developed using crustacean model system as a test-bed, the technology advancement resulting from our research is widely applicable to the large-scale analysis of peptides and proteins in many biological systems, including those of mammalian and humans. Towards this end, we have established several exciting collaborations targeted at neurochemical analysis in more complex systems. These collaborative projects include biomarker discovery in neurodegenerative diseases, peptide analysis and neuromodulation in mammalian rhythmic neural network, proteomic analysis of neuroprotective factors secreted by astrocytes, and proteomic study of dioxin-induced cardiotoxicity in developing zebrafish.
These synergistic projects span analytical mass spectrometry, capillary separations, peptide chemistry, bioinformatics, neurochemistry, and neurobiology. The improved analytical method development enables biological discovery, and the emerging biological questions require further advancement of analytical tools.
Awards and Honors
|Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award||2011|
|Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Research Foundation||2008|
|American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) Research Award||2008|
|National Science Foundation CAREER Award||2008|
|PKM2 methylation by CARM1 activates aerobic glycolysis to promote tumorigenesis. Nature Cell Biology. 2017;19:1358-1370..|
|Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry Based Label-Free Quantification Method for Assessment of Allergen-Induced Anaphylactoid Reactions. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. 2020;31:856-863..|
|Peroxymonosulfate Oxidizes Amino Acids in Water without Activation. Environmental Science & Technology. 2019;53:10845-10854..|
|Acetyl-CoA flux from the cytosol to the ER regulates engagement and quality of the secretory pathway. Scientific Reports. 2021;11..|
|Mass Spectrometry Quantification, Localization, and Discovery of Feeding-Related Neuropeptides in Cancer borealis. ACS Chemical Neuroscience. 2021;12:782-798..|