The project, called the Subcellular Pan-Omics for Advanced Rapid Threat Assessment, or SPARTA, will be conducted by an interdisciplinary CU-Boulder team led by Research Assistant Professor
“Traditionally it takes decades to figure out how drugs affect an organism’s biology,” said Old. “Our goal is to rapidly speed up the process, identifying how these compounds work in weeks. This could lower the barriers to developing effective drugs that have minimal side effects.”
Old said the strategy is to comprehensively measure all major classes of biomolecules that respond to any cellular treatment or biological signal within milliseconds to days, which will help determine the key molecular events that mediate cellular responses. The team is developing new microfluidic devices to control and manipulate individual cell components in order to obtain subcellular resolution that will provide new insights into the functions of individual organelles and proteins within cells.
The devices will be integrated with high-end mass spectrometry instrumentation to enable molecular measurement of biological systems at an unprecedented scale.
One example illustrating the complexities of the project is the nerve gas, sarin, the function of which is already known, said
“We know this drug causes negative effects in multiple signaling pathways, but what we lack is a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms that lead to long-term systemic damage in individuals that survive exposure,” said McClure-Begley.
“We believe the technology developed under this program will go far beyond military and commercial applications,” said SPARTA Program Manager
This instrumentation is critical for numerous research projects run by faculty at CU-
While BioFrontiers scientists and students and local biotechnology companies already use the CU facility for biochemical and biomedical research, the purchase of two additional next-generation mass spectrometers at a cost of
“We will be one of the few institutes in the world to have two of these next-generation state-of-the-art mass spectrometers,” said Old. “This creates a perfect opportunity for us to work more with local companies and increase our number of industrial partnerships. It is especially true for pharmaceutical companies who have a lead on a compound and want to know how it works.”
“There are two avenues of commercialization by CU-Boulder that may occur under the new
Other SPARTA team members include Associate Professor
The team also includes Associate Professor
BioFrontiers is a revolutionary research and teaching facility opened at CU-Boulder in 2012 to facilitate work on a wide swath of pressing societal challenges ranging from biomedical issues like cancer, heart disease and tissue engineering to the development of new biofuels. The BioFrontiers director is CU-Boulder Nobel laureate and Distinguished Professor
The facility offers opportunities for researchers and students from multiple disciplines to collaborate on advancing human health and welfare by exploring critical frontiers of biology to further teaching, research and technology at the intersections of the life sciences, physical sciences, math, computational sciences and engineering.
Editors: A photo of
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/01/prweb11530759.htm
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