The Ulrich lab is interested in the epidemiology and prognosis of cancer. The lab uses three approaches to understand the contributions of genetic and environmental factors on the causes, distribution, and prevention of disease:
- First, the lab studies biomarkers from serum of patients and controls, especially biomarkers of inflammation and angiogenesis.
- Second, the lab coordinates multiple –omics projects with collaborating groups, including research studying the metabolome, proteome and gut microbiome.
- Third, the lab identifies polymorphisms that may influence cancer prevention, development, and prognosis.
Biomarkers have potential in being key to non-invasive diagnostic methods and in elucidating mechanisms that influence prevention, development, and prognosis of cancer. Inflammation is thought to play a key role. Low levels of inflammation are thought to be a risk factor for cancer development. Inflammation markers along with others are potential biomarkers of cancer development. The Ulrich lab measures a myriad of markers using the Meso Scale Discoveries platform.
The lab collaborates with an international consortium studying colorectal cancer, the ColoCare study. The lab coordinates sample distribution and analysis through a multidisciplinary set of –omics projects. Examples include proteomics, metabolomics, and genomics.
Lastly, the lab studies genetic components of colorectal cancer.
The data generated by the biomarkers lab is used by other group members and collaborators to elucidate epidemiological questions such as the role of NSAIDs in cancer prevention and prognosis.