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Miroslava Cuperlovic-Culf, senior research officer, National Research Council of Canada, delivers a detailed analysis of her intensive research at the cellular level of life sciences.

Cuperlovic-Culf earned her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from UC Santa Barbara and her postdoc in biophysics from the University of British Columbia. Cuperlovic-Culf is extremely interested in the development of applied research collaborations in all the life sciences. She has tremendous experience that has yielded patents and publication of her work in biomarker discovery and (clinical) validation, metabolomics, cheminformatics, as well as bioinformatics.

Cuperlovic-Culf discusses the ways that she and her team use machine learning in their research within the life sciences. Specifically, she details how they collect data and use machine learning to analyze it. She discusses disease development, and the methods they use to dig deeper into this area of research. Their work delves into the metabolic analysis of cell cultures and has many potential applications and advantages to the currently used methods for cell line testing. Research shows that metabolite concentrations represent important, sensitive markers of both genomic and phenotypic changes. Cuperlovic-Culf discusses their research of potentially deadly brain tumors. As cancer is known to have an appetite for glucose, and other specific energy sources, Cuperlovic-Culf studies metabolism within cells to better understand genetic changes.

The biophysics expert gives an overview of the various metabolic signatures of cells. Specifically, cancer cells have several detailed metabolic features, which have been explored for targeted therapies. She talks about the unique characteristics of cancer cells, such as their lactic acid content, etc. which is not typically seen in normal cells. And by utilizing simulations, Cuperlovic-Culf and her team can get a better idea of where the cell is going so to speak, to learn more about its development in hopes to find new ways to treat disease. The PhD discusses other diseases that have important metabolic components as well, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and type 3 diabetes, etc. Dr. Cuperlovic-Culf states that once we understand the relationships we can develop better, more-focused drugs for treatment.

Cuperlovic-Culf speaks about the incredible wealth of data that is unfortunately still missing, and as such much more research needs to be done. She discusses microorganisms in soil and how they interact, in regard to biodegradability. Cuperlovic-Culf states that she wants to further her research, to look at metabolites beyond metabolism, how cellular processes are being inhibited, why, and what it all means for disease development, and hopefully drug development as well.

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