In this video, you can hear from Karin Rodland, a cancer biologist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Her research aims to use proteomics, the study of proteins, to understand more about cancer and to find ways to detect cancer at its earliest phases of development, which could be key to fighting it in a targeted and effective way.
Proteins are vital parts of our bodies, and the instructions for making them are encoded by our genomes. Beyond being the components of cells, which form our tissues and organs, they are also important molecules that help carry out physiological functions. Proteomics aims to study proteins within their biological context to get an idea of how networks of molecules work together, or how they might become dysfunctional. As scientific technology has advanced, the tools for this research have moved beyond the wet lab and now include complex computer models as well.
Rodland's previous work has demonstrated how cells sense calcium levels, and the subsequent effect those levels have on signaling pathways. Specifically, how various types of epithelial and mesenchymal cells detect calcium levels through activation of a G-protein coupled receptor, which stimulates the Ras-Raf-MEK-ERK signaling cascade.