Cell culture techniques
PhD Project: Lipid storage and mobilization in liver disease
Hepatocellular carcinoma, cancer originating from liver cells, is one of the most common tumours worldwide. A fatty liver (in this case not occurring from alcohol consumption) is a well-known risk factor in the occurrence of liver cancer. We are aiming to shine light on some of the molecular mechanisms involved in the storage and breakdown (mobilization) of fat in the liver, that could be important to the development of liver cancer.
In more detail, we are looking at three enzymes (ATGL, PNPLA3 & CGI-58) involved in the breakdown of fat (lipids). These enzymes have been reported to have some (positive or negative) effect on the development of liver cancer. We are trying to understand how these enzymes shape the landscape of intracellular lipids and interact with other proteins, thereby promoting or discouraging the development of liver cancer.
My work consists of genetically modifying established liver cancer cell models to increase- or decrease the production of the aforementioned enzymes. With these means we aim to identify molecular mechanisms that act in favour of tumour occurrence, or possibly prevent tumours.
On a technical side, we employ high resolution mass spectrometry protein and lipid identification (proteomics and lipidomics, respectively). Furthermore, several analysis tools like confocal fluorescence microscopy and various standard biochemical assays are used.