Research

Overview

The Pitteri Lab uses biological mass spectrometry to: (i) develop technologies to study protein glycosylation, (ii) understand aberrant glycosylation in cancer, and (iii) develop blood and tissue based diagnostics for cancer early detection, particularly of aggressive disease.  Some examples of our current research areas of interest are described below. 

Cancer Early Detection

Early detection of aggressive cancer is an urgent clinical need.  We are interested in developing in vitro diagnostic strategies for cancer early detection.  Our efforts are focused on the molecular analysis of blood, tissue, and proximal fluids.  We have ongoing interests in:  1) evaluating the biological and technical variability in blood-based biomarker studies, 2) exploiting aberrant glycosylation in cancer for identifying aggressive prostate cancer and distinguishing benign hyperplasia from cancer, and investigating proteins in breast interstitial fluid for distinguishing benign from malignant breast lesions,     

Glycoproteomic Method Development and Applications

Protein glycosylation is an important, yet complex and understudied post-translational modification.  We are interested in developing new tools to study protein glycosylation in complex biological mixtures and clinical samples.  Our workflows typically leaving glycans attached to proteins, thereby retaining information about the glycosylation type and site, and the modified protein.  To this end we are interested in developing, optimizing, and/or applying several approaches including: 1) lectin separation of intact protein glycoforms, 2) chemical and separation methods to enrich intact glycopeptides for subsequent LC-MS analysis, and 3) metabolic labeling strategies of sugars.