Material studied: Lipids
Methods used: Electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry, MALDI imaging
Lipids—fats, oils and waxes, for example—are major components of cellular membranes, and perform critical roles in cell signaling and energy storage.
Unlike proteins, lipids are not encoded by DNA and can be difficult to isolate and study. Yet, irregularities in our lipids are increasingly being linked to a number of human diseases, including cancer and diabetes.
The relatively new field of lipidomics uses techniques based on liquid chromatography and spectrometry to examine the lipids in our cells, and to understand the pathways or networks they are involved in.