Finding Patterns in Cellular Secretome

Humans and animals have communication as an evolutionary denominator to propagate or preserve the species. The communication varies according to the location, environment and situation. Humans communicate feelings of happiness, love, sadness, animosity or empathy through verbal and non-verbal messages. The animal kingdom communicate with each other primarily to attract a mate. Monkeys sound an alarm to warn of the danger nearby. Dolphins either “click” for echolocation or “whistle” to identify themselves. Gorilla’s hum when food is available and they are happy. Therefore, deciphering the communication and patterns is the basis of understanding what is going on either near or far and what can be done to protect and propagate the signal.

Human body comprises of millions of cells that work together to keep the tissue or organ systems running. During a disease condition, the cell machinery gets altered which is communicated to all cells through specific patterns and concentrations of proteins, metabolites, RNA and cell free DNA. In case of an injury to a vital organ such as heart, resident dead or dying cells may release damage associated molecular patterns that activate the innate immune system through the receptors on the cell surface. The activated immune cells can defend the tissue from further injury and start the healing process. The goal of our lab is to understand the secreted factors of cells (secretome) and the influence of the secretome on cell behavior and function. Besides using advance technologies to profile metabolites, proteins and transcription tools, we use advance statistical tools to find patterns, elucidate pathways and integrate data from transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics with functional characterization and validation.