Discovering Novel Biomarkers for Women’s Health: A Robust Platform for Disease Detection in the Menstrual Blood Proteome

Presenter: John de la Parra

Research Category: Physical and LIfe Sciences
Student Type: Graduate
PI: Jared Auclair
Award: Innovation
Award Winner Category: Physical and Life Sciences

We have developed a robust method to facilitate the detection of novel disease biomarkers in dried menstrual blood. The menstrual cycle provides a unique and monthly-trackable, yet non-invasive biopsy for pre-menopausal women. The specific objectives of our research are to (1) establish stream-lined protocols for protein separation and detection of these poorly understood samples (2) develop a sensitive liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry method to detect a fluctuating protein profile (3) through protein digestion, mass spectrometer fragmentation, and database matching, identify particular sample protein content including previously undescribed proteins (4) utilize computational methods on a large data set to perform a comparative analysis of the protein makeup of disease-state and healthy patients for the elucidation of disease-associated biomarkers. Due to the nature of our distinctive biological sample set, we have validated a sample collection method that is rich with potential health indicators in the form of protein modification and/or concentration changes. This allows for the personalized and routine monitoring of a sample type that could lead to the early detection and treatment of disease.