Michael Blacic.

Graduate Student
University of California, Berkeley
B.S. Chemical Engineering, 1999
New Mexico Tech

Office Location: 497A Tan Hall
Office Telephone: 643-8340
Office Fax: 643-1228

Modeling Biological Systems

The success of an anti-cancer therapy is dependent upon its ability to impair a tumor cell’s generation of energy and/or cell components, thus stopping its growth. The supply of nutrients and oxygen greatly influences the growth and metabolism of cancer cells; however, a complete understanding of cancer cell metabolism under these conditions remains elusive. A detailed understanding of the metabolic mechanisms by which stressed tumor cells both survive and respond to therapeutics will permit the rational design of novel therapeutics and more effective use of existing therapies.

A quantitative understanding of the relative importance and interdependence of metabolic pathways will thus enable a rational selection of pathways to be targeted for therapeutic modalities. Understanding the metabolic responses of cancer cells to therapeutics may aid in the design of adjuvant therapies that will improve the effectiveness of the original therapy. Metabolic flux analysis will allow the amounts of ATP and NADH generated from various metabolites to be quantified, and thus provide insights into the strategies used by cancer cells to survive in the adverse conditions of the tumor microenvironment. In order to provide a more complete picture of metabolism and its regulation, activities of key enzymes will be determined in addition to the metabolic flux calculations.