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