Focus on Research: Metabolomics


Dean P. Jones, PhD is a professor of medicine in the Emory University Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. His central research focus is on redox mechanisms of oxidative stress. He currently directs the Emory Clinical Biomarkers Laboratory, which is focused on oxidative stress biomarkers and applications of 1H-NMR spectroscopy and Fourier-transform mass spectrometry for high-throughput clinical metabolomic analyses of nutritional and environmental factors in human health and disease. Watch video

The overall theme of Dr. Jones’ research is to define redox signaling mechanisms and identify intracellular sites of disruption during oxidative stress.  Redox signaling occurs when metabolites of oxygen act on adjacent proteins to modify their activity, but excess reactive oxygen species–leading to abnormal signaling circuits (oxidative stress)–have been linked to a variety of diseases.  One aspect of Dr. Jones’s work is focused on quantitative methods to measure redox state in subcellular compartments. This research has yielded new understanding of mitochondrial and nuclear redox during oxidative stress (Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol 2006, 46:215-234). These studies have led to the concept that oxidative stress can be measured clinically in terms of redox state of glutathione and cysteine pools in plasma. With the recognition that oxidative stress represents disruption of redox signaling and control pathways, a major new initiative has been to develop metabolomics and clinical proteomics to study metabolic consequences of oxidation of thiol/disulfide redox state associated with aging, environmental toxicity, and chronic disease. This research uses Fourier-transform mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy along with bioinformatics to determine how oxidative stress linked to dietary and environmental exposures impacts pathophysiologic measures of health and health risk.

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