The Orsburn Lab
at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
The Orsburn Lab specializes in the application of mass spectrometry to solve challenges in human health and pharmacology. Our research ranges from the analysis of post-translationally modified proteins through products of drug metabolism, with many stops in between.
We can't do this alone.
The effective application of modern mass spectrometry requires collaborative interfaces with clinicians and biologists. These collaborations are essential so we can focus on method development at the bench, in the vacuum chambers and developing the new software to pull it all together. Whenever possible we make all of our data publicly available to the global community in the most accessible ways we can.
Here are some of our current projects.
Applying single cell proteomics to understand resistance to chemotherapies
Cancer recurrence can begin with a single cell that has survived a chemotherapy regimen.
We specialize in the application of single cell proteomics (SCP) by mass spectrometry to better understand the response of individual cells to drugs.
We first study the phenotypic responses of cells treated with drugs with proteomics of thousands of homogenized cells. Once responses are identified, we use single cell proteomics to understand the level of heterogeneity that exists in this response at a cellular level. Our first study was just accepted in Nature Communications. You can read the early results here!
Leveraging scalable computing to obtain unprecedented coverage of the human proteome
LCMS based proteomics typically relies on desktop computing architecture. While these workflows allow us to identify most human protein groups, they do not allow us to understand the actual proteoforms of interest. By leveraging scalable Cloud based platforms we can study proteomics in a true biological context. Using this approach we can identify human mutations without the need for expensive genomics input. Our recent work has simplified cancer neo-antigen discovery and resulted in the most comprehensive proteome of human tumors ever assembled.
Modernizing clinical assays with mass spectrometry
Many assays used for patient diagnostics have not changed in any meaningful way in decades. We have identified both metabolic and proteomic assays of low sensitivity or specificity. We were recently awarded our first collaborative grant to replace a historic neonatal assay requiring multiple blood draws with something better, faster, and less invasive for children.