Department of Chemical Sciences
School of Natural Sciences

Metabolomics for Investigating Disease Process

Research Highlight10

NMR spectroscopy is widely regarded as a technique that is unbiased, non-invasive and requires minimal sample preparation. These characteristics make this technique an ideal one to monitor the biological systems. In addition, NMR spectroscopy can also provide global snapshot and dynamics of complex biological systems such as cell, tissue or even an organism. This finds utility in the recently developed systems biological approaches that take holistic view of the complex biological networks rather than the conventional reductionism. Within the Biochemistry and Systems Biology group, Our lab focuses on one such complex problem that is the host-parasite interaction during infection by malarial parasite. Malaria is considered to be one of the major killers in large part of the world. We believe, systems biological approaches may provide us specific insights to the mechanism of disease progression, since this involves the joint biological network of host and the parasite. Therefore, understanding the host response is important. To this end, we work on several problems including the following:

  • Investigation of mechanism of progression to cerebral malaria and prediction of cerebral malaria a priori.
  • Continuing changes in organ level metabolism after recovery from non-lethal malarial infection.
  • Monitoring the recovery profile in clinical patients and using the information for non-invasive diagnosis of the disease.
  • Tissue to biofluid correlation for a better understanding of the host physiology during cerebral and non-cerebral malaria.
  • Changes in red blood cell physiology during early malarial infection.
  • Organ level glucose and acetate utilization using targeted NMR approaches.

The tool of our research has conventionally been the NMR spectroscopy of tissue and biofluids collected from animal systems and clinical patients. We analyze the spectral data using several multivariate statistical data analyses techniques. This approach is conventionally termed as metabolomics - the newest of all the omics techniques, and is capable of providing the most downstream information on the complex biological networks. In addition, we also employ 13C labeled substrates to follow specific metabolic pathways. More information about our research activities can be found here