Quantitative, spatially resolved analysis of tissue metabolism

We know a great deal about how the body processes food, but relatively little about how metabolism varies across individual cells of the body. Metabolism converts the food we eat into building blocks for growth, and energy to support bodily action. Along the way, this process influences nearly all aspects of life, including body composition and susceptibility to disease. The net impact on health is huge. Obesity and diabetes, both metabolic disorders, are epidemic. Many other diseases, including cancer and heart disease, have a major metabolic component. Joshua Rabinowitz will lead a team developing new technologies aimed at improving our understanding of metabolism by studying metabolites, the molecules that result from our bodies’ conversion of food into energy, and metabolic activity in single cells in mouse and human tissue. His project will address how metabolism changes between different cell types and tissues and how these processes go awry in disease. 

Affiliated Investigators

Joshua Rabinowitz, Ph.D.

Princeton University

Joshua Rabinowitz is a Professor of Chemistry & Integrative Genomics at Princeton University. He brings a quantitative, chemical perspective to the study of diet and metabolism. His research focuses on two broad questions: What is the quantitative flow (flux) through different metabolic pathways? How is this flux controlled? To address these questions, his lab develops innovative technologies that blend mass spectrometry, isotope tracers, and computational data integration. These technologies have been broadly applied to address major biomedical problems, including diabetes, infectious disease, and cancer. In the field of oncology, Dr. Rabinowitz contributed to the discovery of the cancer-causing metabolite, 2-hydroxyglutarate. More recently, his work found that lactate, classically considered a waste product, is actual a major circulating fuel. Ongoing work aims to advance quantitative measurement technologies for spatially resolved analysis of animal metabolism. Early results indicate the potential to substantially revamp our understanding of both organismal and cancer metabolism, as well as their interplay.

Prior to Princeton University, Dr. Rabinowitz led R & D efforts at Alexza Pharmaceuticals where he invented the first thermal aerosol drug delivery product, the Adasuve inhaler, approved by the FDA for rapid treatment of agitation. Dr. Rabinowitz received both his Ph.D. in Biophysics followed by his M.D. from Stanford University.