Melinda Beccari, master is degree in Neuromuscular Diseases Laboratory - Center of Studies of the Human Genome, University of São Paulo, participated in the 2015 UW Targeted Proteomics Course - training that wanted help, from molecular analysis, to understand the differences in clinical profiles of patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The course happened in Seattle (USA) between March 23rd and 27th.
The researcher, who was supported by the Paulo Gontijo Institute (PGI) to attend the course, tells us about her experience:
- How was the course?
The 2015 UW Targeted Proteomics Course consisted of an intensive week of classes and tutorials on quantitative proteomics. In other words, the focus was on how we can use the tool developed at the University of Washington - Skyline software - to quantify precisely proteins in biological matrices. Proteomics is an extremely innovative research area, which has brought a lot of knowledge in a lot of areas of the biological sciences. Quantitative data are obtained by instruments known as mass spectrometers, and aid in the development of skyline data acquisition method and subsequent analysis of samples.
It was a very interesting experience to attend this event, not only have the opportunity to delve into an important tool of work, but also allow you to meet researchers around the world (we were 30 people from around the world). Known researchers in academia, leading companies in the world, and all career levels (from graduate students, like me, to researchers responsible for facilities at universities).
- What are the main new features discussed?
We discuss the main tools available in the software, including those added in the latest version of the program and its possible applications in research.
- How does your research is helping to understand the clinical differences of patients with ALS?
I believe that further research will help in this understanding. We have much work ahead. In order to test some of our hypothesis, we analysis on DNA level, RNA, and protein - the latter being the most difficult type of analysis molecule due to its biochemical properties. Not yet arrived at conclusive results, but the search continues.
- How does your research has helped to find the cause and cure of ALS?
My research turns to the molecular diagnosis of ALS. We seek DNA mutations that promote the IT framework in patients, allowing genetic counseling of families. In addition, we studied the effect of some proteins, in order to understand if these levels are altered in patients in order to establish a biomarker for the disease. Studies that have followed aim to understand the complex molecular mechanisms that contribute to the clinical picture observed in patients. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms that cause the death of motor neurons is the first step in the search for a therapeutic approach.