Metabolism coordinates the conversion of available nutrients toward energy, biosynthetic intermediates, and signaling molecules to mediate cellular functions. Dysregulation of metabolic pathways, i.e. genetic perturbation, i.e. via environmental stress and/or inflammatory signaling, contributes to many metabolic diseases, including cancer, inflammation, and brain disorders. However, our current knowledge of metabolic pathways and their regulation is still limited, so a detailed understanding of metabolism has significant therapeutic implications.
The overall theme of our research is to characterize metabolic heterogeneity and interconnectivity of cells and pathogens to better understand metabolism in driving cell function, focusing on metabolic flux, mass spectrometry, and engineering approaches. We expect that our research identifies metabolic vulnerabilities in inflammatory diseases, which can be influenced through targeted therapies.
Our current research centers on metabolic tracing approaches to understand how metabolism is reprogrammed in response to inflammatory signaling, nutrient availability, environmental stress, or genetic perturbation. Our specific research interests are:
to apply metabolic flux analysis and mass spectrometry approaches to identify metabolic vulnerabilities in cancer and inflammation
to characterize how genetic perturbations, microenvironment, intracellular signals, and small molecules impact metabolic fluxes and host-pathogen interactions
to understand inter- and intracellular transport mechanisms
to identify therapeutics and, ultimately, translate drug targets into the pharmaceutical industry
Thekla Cordes is a professor for Cellular Metabolism at the TU Braunschweig and HZI and applies mass spectrometry and tracing approaches to track metabolic pathways in mammalian cells. Taking this approach, her lab has made discoveries about how metabolism is reprogrammed in inflammation, cancer, and brain disorders. Cordes has an interdisciplinary and international training background that has spanned both industry and academic labs, covering metabolism, mass spectrometry, metabolic flux analysis strategies, and bioprocess engineering. At TU Braunschweig, her research will focus on identifying and exploiting metabolic vulnerabilities using mass spectrometry and tracing approaches to better understand metabolism in health and disease. Prior to joining TU Braunschweig, Cordes was a Project Scientist at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and SALK Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, US.