Research in the Gerber Lab is focused on developing and using modernproteomics methods to understand the mechanisms by which dysregulated mitotic kinases, such as Aurora kinase A, contribute to the onset and maintenance of cancers.

No Image Mass spectrometry has become a cornerstone technology for the field of proteomics. The analysis of proteins and protein post-translational modifications is accomplished by the powerful combination of MS, microcapillary liquid chromatography, and computer-assisted sequence database searching. This mixture of maturing technologies provides a scientist with the ability to elucidate protein-protein relationships, characterize functionally descriptive protein post-translational modifications, and discover new protein isoforms or splice variants, even from limiting sample amounts.

No Image In addition, we and others have recently developed novel mass spectrometry-based methods that extend the capability of routine protein identification to quantitative analyses as well. When coupled with state-of-the-art instrumentation, the differential display of dynamic changes of protein expression, modification, or localization by MS becomes practical.

Aurora kinase A, an oncogene, has been shown to be highly expressed in as many 80% of non small-cell lung cancers. Overexpressed Aurora A results in centrosome amplification, chromosome instability and aneuploidy, all hallmark features of lung cancer. Importantly, Aurora A kinase activity is essential for these transforming events to occur. We are currently focused on determining the cellular targets of inappropriately expressed Aurora kinase A using methods in quantitative chemical phosphoproteomics as a means to better understand how this kinase contributes to oncogenesis.