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Laura-Isobel McCall

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Laura-Isobel McCall

Laura-Isobel McCall

Assistant Professor

B.Sc., 2009, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Ph.D., 2013, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Postdoc, 2013-2014 University of California San Francisco; 2014-2017 University of California San Diego 

Phone: (405) 325-9385

Group Website

Chemical cartography of host-microbe interactions

The McCall laboratory uses cutting-edge analytical chemistry instrumentation to answer critical biological questions.  Our main approach implements state-of-the-art ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS). High-resolution MS/MS data is then analyzed using big data computational tools and novel metabolomics techniques such as molecular networking and fragmentation trees. We are particularly interested in understanding how small molecule spatial distribution relates to function, by integrating 3D modeling with our mass spectrometry data, an approach called “chemical cartography”. Alterations in chemical signaling and metabolism play key roles in disease progression and susceptibility.  Small molecules also mediate the function of the microbiome, and human interactions with the environment. Our unique chemical cartography approach enables us to understand metabolism in its spatial context, providing us with novel insights into human physiology, host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions, microbiome function, and human behavior. We also pursue translational applications of our work, using insights from our metabolomics datasets to create new diagnostic tests and to identify new targets for drug development. We are actively recruiting new students interested in analytical chemistry methods, biochemistry, and cross-disciplinary research in a dynamic and diverse work environment.

Research keywords: chemical cartography; liquid chromatography; mass spectrometry; metabolomics; host-microbe interactions; microbiome

3D Images of Cardiac Parasite

Selected publications

Mass Spectrometry-Based Visualization of Molecules Associated with Human Habitats. Petras D, Nothias LF, Quinn RA, Alexandrov T, Bandeira N, Bouslimani A, Castro-Falcón G, Chen L, Dang T, Floros DJ, Hook V, Garg N, Hoffner N, Jiang Y, Kapono CA, Koester I, Knight R, Leber CA, Ling TJ, Luzzatto-Knaan T, McCall LI, McGrath AP, Meehan MJ, Merritt JK, Mills RH, Morton J, Podvin S, Protsyuk I, Purdy T, Satterfield K, Searles S, Shah S, Shires S, Steffen D, White M, Todoric J, Tuttle R, Wojnicz A, Sapp V, Vargas F, Yang J, Zhang C, Dorrestein PC. Anal Chem. 2016 Nov 15;88(22):10775-10784. Epub 2016 Oct 24. PMID:  27732780

Mass Spectrometry-Based Chemical Cartography of a Cardiac Parasitic Infection. McCall LI, Morton JT, Bernatchez JA, de Siqueira-Neto JL, Knight R, Dorrestein PC, McKerrow JH. Anal Chem. 2017 Oct 3;89(19):10414-10421. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b02423. PMID: 28892370

Experimental Chagas disease-induced perturbations of the fecal microbiome and metabolome. McCall LI, Tripathi A, Vargas F, Knight R, Dorrestein PC, Siqueira-Neto JL. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Mar 12;12(3):e0006344. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006344. PMID: 29529084

Metabolomics: Eavesdropping on silent conversations between hosts and their unwelcome guests. Newsom SN, McCall LI. PLoS Pathog. 2018 Apr 5;14(4):e1006926. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006926. eCollection 2018 Apr. PMID: 29621358

Best practices for analysing microbiomes. Knight R, Vrbanac A, Taylor BC, Aksenov A, Callewaert C, Debelius J, Gonzalez A, Kosciolek T, McCall LI, McDonald D, Melnik AV, Morton JT, Navas J, Quinn RA, Sanders JG, Swafford AD, Thompson LR, Tripathi A, Xu ZZ, Zaneveld JR, Zhu Q, Caporaso JG, Dorrestein PC. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2018 Jul;16(7):410-422. doi: 10.1038/s41579-018-0029-9. PMID: 29795328