Skip to main content

2022 Allen Distinguished Investigator award

The Allen Distinguished Investigator program provides three-year grants between $1M and $1.5M to individuals and teams.

Expansion Mass Spectrometry: Literally Stretching Metabolite Sensing to New Spatial Limits

Right now, there’s no good way to measure the distribution of nutrients inside individual cells. Lydia Kisley and Laura Sanchez are leading the development of a technique to address this problem by physically expanding cells — picture a cell stretched on silly putty — and capture details of nutrient location and amount in those cells. Their new method is called Expansion Mass Spectrometry and the scientists plan to use it to study nutrients in and around ovarian cancer cells to better understand metabolism in these cancer cells and how cells’ local environments influence nutrient location and amounts.

This project is part of the 2022 Nutrient Sensing cohort

Researchers in this cohort are developing new technologies to measure or visualize nutrient levels within cells. Their work addresses a key need in the field, namely the ability to capture detailed information about metabolites, chemical compounds, and other nutrients in live individual cells. These new techniques could propel understanding of the basic biology of cells as well as how metabolism or nutrition processing goes wrong in diseases like diabetes or malnutrition.

Science Programs at Allen Institute