Our laboratory studies the entire set of proteins present in an organism, including their modified forms and how they interact with one another and our environments. Collectively, this is referred to as our proteome, which is not static but changes between tissues as we age and during disease. We are developing technologies that allow us to study the tens of thousands of proteins in our proteome and monitor how they change while we are in varying states of health. Similarly, we are developing tools to study our lipids, or lipidome. These studies may lead us toward better understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of various diseases.
The Figeys lab accepts students from graduate programs in Biochemistry and Chemistry.
In proteomics, we are working on the development and application of technologies that allow us to provide in depth coverage of a given proteome, its post-translational modifications including phosphorylation, glycosylation and methylation, mapping of protein-protein interactions and the ability to monitor quantitative changes in these proteomic states between environmental or chemical stimulation and in health and disease. Furthermore, our technological developments including the proteome reactor allow us to carry out these studies even when limited amounts of material are available.
Currently, we are applying our proteomics technologies to study the role of Proprotein Convertases in energy metabolism, cholesterol homeostasis, and cardiovascular disease, deciphering the proteomes of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, cataloguing proteomics changes associated with childhood ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease to uncover better and differential diagnostic markers, as well as uncovering the biological pathways perturbed. Our proteomics tools are being used to determine the proteome of human embryonic cells, the circadian clock, the roles of methyl transferases (SMYDs) in lysine methylation, and acetyl transferases and chromatin remodelling proteins in yeast.
In lipidomics, we are developing and applying techniques to study changes in the lipidome during diseases. In particular, we are targeting specific subclasses of lipids including PC, PE, and PS, while developing techniques for other lipid classes. In collaboration with Dr. S. Bennett’s laboratory, we are studying the lipidome in neurodegenerative diseases.
We are developing specific and quantitative mass spectrometry based assays to quantify our proteins and lipids of interest, including those that may serve as markers of disease.