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This podcast describes a cutting-edge application of analytical chemistry. When you listen, you will learn:

  • How Dr. McCall’s lab uses liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry together to identify and locate pathogen microbes in bodily organs.
  • How identifying their location leads to creating compounds that help the body fight their effects.
  • Why this new pathogen management is centered on metabolomics testing rather than killing the microbes.

Laura-Isobel McCall, Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma, specializes in chemical cartography of host-microbe interactions. She runs the McCall Lab, where they practice the application of analytical chemistry to map disease-causing microbes in mammalian organ systems.

The McCall Lab explores the interaction between pathogens, the microbiome, and the host to develop drugs that are capable of metabolism modulation. Through metabolomics testing and chemical cartography, Dr. McCall’s lab is working on compounds to counter the effects of pathogens such as parasites. Much of their work focuses on neglected diseases, often potentially deadly, such as trypanosoma cruzi, which is present in the United States.

Dr. McCall explains how locating and mapping microbes with 3D technology and metabolomics testing opens up an understanding of how these pathogens function. This has led to identifying how important timing is in treating against the effects of such pathogens: the extent of tissue damage and the eventual dormant stage of a parasite are factors of time, for example. Furthermore, developing compounds to bolster how the host deals with the energy demand of the pathogen is more effective than simply targeting the pathogen.

Future work of the lab includes applying these techniques to other types of pathogens, improving the compounds to help patients, and connecting this work to other location-centered diseases.

For more information, see the McCall Lab page at http://mccall-lab.oucreate.com/ and find them on twitter as @LabMccall.

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