Bringing New Capacity to Proteomics Research
Advancements in new fields of science almost always go hand in hand with the development of new technology and the Human Genome Project is no exception. With the DNA sequence of genomes of hundreds of different organisms in hand, the next step is to turn this wealth of information into useful knowledge so that it can be applied to medical and biological advances. This research, called “functional genomics”, seeks to learn how genetic information coded in DNA directs all the workings of a living organism. One of the ways to do that is to study the proteins in a cell—what they do, how they interact with one another and where they reside in the cell. This is called “proteomics”.
The Development of Enabling Technologies project supported the creation of new proteomic research instruments and machines that can measure the amount and type of proteins in samples. The ultimate goal of these efforts was to find new ways to speed up basic research and clinical studies.
The research team developed new methods to prepare biological samples very rapidly and with extremely small amounts of tissues. In particular, they created powerful high-performance mass spectrometry instruments with extreme sensitivity and precision for the analysis of protein and DNA molecules. These devices are able to process very small samples. The group also developed methods to make plastic devices that can replace more expensive glass ones. In addition, they developed a new way to locate and measure protein markers in living tissue, which is important in the early diagnosis of disease.
This project enabled the development of new instruments for protein analysis – miniaturization of sample preparation and more efficient mass spectrometers capable of handling minute sample amounts. Ultimately, the tools developed through this project are helping to increase efficiencies in research and clinical trials.
35 peer reviewed publications plus 12 invited presentations and 3 awards
34 patent disclosures, 16 patent applications files, 1 published patent
268 person-years of research personnel employed