“Here comes the sun. And I say… it’s all right.”
The Beatles penned this verse at a time when little was known about the damaging effects of the sun.
When human cells face a threat, be it exposure to radiation from the sun or a chemical toxin, they can send out signals that all is not right.
And sometimes these protective mechanisms can cause biological changes that lead to cancer. Figuring out how is a daunting task.
It’s good that Prof. Albert J. Fornace Jr. and his team at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center like challenges.
As an M.D. and a professor of Biochemistry and the Molecular Cancer Research Chair at Lombardi, and former Director of the John B. Little Center for the Radiation Sciences and Environmental Health at Harvard University, Prof. Fornace leads a team of researchers seeking answers to causes of cancer and other disorders.
His group is pioneering the use of transcriptomics and more recently metabolomics to study signal transduction and biomarkers for injury and disease. In addition, with help from Waters ACQUITY UPLC/Xevo G2 QTof systems he and Dr. Amrita Cheema, who is the co-director of the Georgetown COI, have developed a metabolomics program at Georgetown that supports the research of over 40 Georgetown University faculty members and numerous outside users.
Prof. Fornace’s research has even caught the attention of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) which has funded his research into space radiation and its possible connection to gastrointestinal cancer.
Though Prof. Fornace is in the top 0.5% of cited authors in the life sciences taking on the task of fighting cancer in its many forms is a team effort.
“I’m fortunate to have such a competent team of experts working with me at Lombardi. Together we hope to figure out the wiring in cancer cells and ways to short-circuit cancer pathways using therapeutics.”
Dec. 2, 2103
Prof. Fornace and his colleagues created web-based MetaboLyzer software to open up metabolomics to more biologists.
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April 10, 2013
Researchers at Georgetown University striving to understand the risks to astronauts during long-duration space missions such as one to Mars.
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