Parsing out the few key effector molecules from among the tens of thousands of molecules produced and transformed in complex multicellular tissues in the human body is the core challenge of unlocking unknown signaling pathways critical for normal function and disease. Our group approaches this problem by creating novel microscale culture systems to model multicell tissues and bioanalytical methods to analyze cell-secreted signals. Here, we will create biofunctional chromatography to selectively isolate cell-secreted molecules from multicellular cultures or ex vivo tissues based on their (1) cellular origin or (2) interaction with a target cell. This broadly applicable in situ bioanalytical method will preserve the cell-extracellular matrix and cell-cell physical contact interactions integral to maintaining physiologically relevant cell behaviors and secretomes, providing unprecedented molecular resolution for studying cell signaling and cell heterogeneity in complex biological systems.

Awards and Achievements

  • NIH K Career Development Award ( 2014)
  • a Kavli Microbiome Ideas Challenge Award grant ( 2017)
  • n NIH Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) for Early Stage Investigators ( 2018)
  • a Beckman Young Investigator Award ( 2018)