Yinjie Tang, PhD
Assistant Professor of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering
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Washington University in St. Louis (WU)
Tuberculosis is one of the leading causes of death in the world. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) can reside in human tissues for decades by entering a “latent” state characterized by a lack of cell division and changes in basic metabolism. These non-replicating mycobacteria are difficult to eradicate because they are not reliant on the machinery targeted by conventional antibiotics. To improve our understandings of MTB metabolism, we will develop and apply the non-radioactive isotopomer (13C) assisted flux analysis tools to decipher MTB vivo metabolisms and identify the unique pathways for MTB survival under environmental stresses. 13C assisted flux analysis requires two core techniques: 1) Accurately assessing the labeling pattern of targeted metabolites (using sensitive mass spectrometers) after feeding organism with 13C-labeled carbon substrates (i.e., glucose); 2) Mathematical models to trace and determine the global cellular metabolism by fitting the overall measured labeling data from tracer experiments.