Lipid metabolism in cancer
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Must have completed one year of college
Background: Dr. Schlaepfer’s long term goal is to understand how metastatic prostate cancer cells use lipids for growth and survival. Her lab projects focuses on the role of the mitochondrial CPT1A enzyme in prostate cancer growth. CPT1A functions as a gatekeeper, mediating the entry of lipid into the mitochondria for oxidation and growth. Dr. Schlaepfer is using clinically safe drugs from the cardiovascular/obesity field to target lipid metabolism and elucidate cancer weaknesses that can be exploited in the clinic for more effective imaging and therapeutic combinations.
Project 1: The goals for the summer project are to investigate the expression of CPT1A in different metastatic prostate cancer cells, using clinically safe drug combinations that target lipid metabolism and cancer growth. Students will gain experience with cell culture, Western blotting, drug treatments, and how to interpret high throughput data.
Project 2: Optimize the workflow to isolate circulating tumor cells from cancer patients. This project is in collaboration with Bioengineering dept. (AMC), and will provide exposure to some robotics and cell staining techniques.
Project 3: Metabolomics and transcriptomic analysis of prostate cancer cells with genetic or pharmacologic CPT1A inhibition. This project will include computational analysis, RTPCR, and biochemical assays.