Our lab activities have a broad interest in nutrition but specific experience in developing and utilizing stable isotopic techniques to elucidate metabolic processes in humans, experimental animals, and cell lines.
Of particular interest, our lab in collaborative efforts with eminent investigators at BCM, has optimized protocols for the in vivo and in vitro measurement of carbohydrate, lipid, and protein synthetic and catabolic pathways in cell lines, and neonatal piglets.
Our earlier research focused on understanding the numerous aspects of metabolic adaptation and control of lactation, and the role of dietary macronutrients and types of carbohydrate manipulations on lactation performance in humans. This work provided insights into dietary guidelines for weight loss in obese lactating women without negatively affecting their lactation. In particular, our work has elucidated the pathways of lactose synthesis and the elements of lipid synthesis machinery in the human mammary gland.
In collaboration with Dr. Juan Marini, we utilized stable isotopic tracer techniques to study the urea cycle disorders and their important substrates namely arginine, citrulline, and ornithine. Recently, our collaborative work with Dr. Barbieri at Texas Children's Hospital unveiled mechanisms by which the oncogene MYCAN promotes Neuroblastoma which is a childhood cancer arising from sympatho-adrenal neural crest cells. Our collaborative research identified fatty acid uptake and de novo synthesis as a critical metabolic dependency for MYCN-amplified tumors.