U.S. Department of Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Cell Signaling & Proteomic Signatures (Proteomics)

A proteome.

Discover the cell signaling and proteomic signatures of biological systems by quantifying the dynamics of proteins and post-translational modifications

As cells lose proteins, they make more. First, a template of DNA transcribes RNA; then, amino acids are assembled—or translated—from RNA. 

Post-translation, amino acids may be modified by enzymes. They become a highly complex family of biological operatives, including signature proteins (biomarkers) for disease states. 

The hunt for these biomarkers makes characterizing proteins on a large scale—or proteomics—consequential to understanding human health and disease states. In particular, proteomics investigates cell signaling. When this coordination of cellular activity goes awry, disease can be the consequence. 

Our Proteomics team develops and refines technologies for characterizing the proteome: high-field mass spectrometry, synthetic antibodies used as molecular reagents and biosensors, fast and sensitive proteomic assays, advanced computational biology, and proteomic data interpretation and modeling.

The team is sharpening promising nano-separation and analysis technologies that enable protein characterization in small samples—for example, in just 1,000 human blood cells.


Dr. Wei-Jun Qian is a bioanalytical chemist whose research centers primarily on the development and applications of mass spectrometry-based approaches for better quantify the dynamic changes in protein abundances and protein post-translational...
Tao Liu is a senior scientist in the Integrative Omics Group in the Biological Sciences Division at PNNL. His work at PNNL has centered on developing and applying innovative methods and technologies including targeted proteomics (e.g., selected...
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