2019 BE Departmental Retreat

Targeting the targets: 
high density monitoring of signaling pathways in phosphoproteomics

Each year, the Biological Engineering department at MIT holds a retreat primarily for graduate community and faculty. The retreat is comprised of short 10 minute talks from graduate students and post-docs, as well a a keynote speaker, panel, and poster sessions, and a state of the department talk by the graduate leadership.

I remember older students giving talks at the retreat in October of my first year. They seemed so accomplished, so knowledgable. I wondered if I’d ever do anything worthy of sharing… time flies! This year I was selected to speak, and I chose to present a shortened version of the work with Thermo Scientific on targeted tyrosine phosphorylation mass spectrometry methods.

It was challenging to adapt a talk I had crafted for a mass spectrometry technical audience to a general bioengineering audience, with only 7 minutes! I ended up spending very little time on background and methodology, providing the bare minimum information required to motivate the project. Instead I highlighted the story of how the project began, what the results mean in a biological context, and why we are excited by the results.

It was such a privilege to share this work with my talented peers in bioengineering!

Thermo Scientific Mass Spec Users’ Meeting

Real-time, High-density Monitoring of pTyr Signaling Targets in Human Tumors using SureQuant Heavy Peptide Triggered Targeted Quantitation

I was fortunate enough to be able to present our collaborative work using the SureQuant method and the new Exploris 480 Orbitrap Mass Spectrometer at the 2019 Thermo Scientific Mass Spec Users’ Meeting in Somerset, New Jersey.

Presenting at the Palace at Somerset Park, NJ Mass Spec Users’ Meeting

This work leverages the SureQuant internal standard parallel reaction monitoring (IS-PRM) method built into the Exploris. We use SureQuant to selectively monitor 350 unique tyrosine phosphorylation sites to profile the tyrosine phosphorylation signaling networks in 30 human colon cancer samples. This work reveals the unique tyrosine signatures among patients, and suggests targets for therapy by looking for enrichment of tyrosine mediated signaling networks.

SureQuant workflow for IS-PRM tyrosine phosphorylation profiling

The work was presented at the users’ meetings in Cambridge by my advisor, Forest White and by my colleauge Cameron Flower in New York as well. Many thanks to our collaborators at Thermo Scientific, especially Aaron Gajadhar who worked with us on this exciting, cutting edge project, as well as Adreas Huhmer for inviting me to present, and the organizing team of the 2019 Mass Spec Users meetings. What an opportunity to connect with the northeast mass spec community!