Tumorigenesis: systems biology I

Krumpochova“My name is Petra Krumpochova and I am a PhD student, working on the AIMMS PhD project ‘Tumorigenesis: systems biology I’. My PhD project is a multidisciplinary project that bridges the Biomolecular Analysis and Systems Bioinformatics research groups. 

My PhD project focuses on the development of methods for studying metabolism, with focus on cancer metabolism. More specifically, it is focused on the study of the Warburg effect, a phenomenon where cancer cells rely more on aerobic glycolysis than oxidative phosphorylation. This metabolic phenomenon was described for the first time by Otto Warburg over 80 years ago and it was named after him. Aerobic glycolysis is an inefficient way to generate ATP producing only 2 molecules of ATP per molecule glucose, whereas oxidative phosphorylation generates 32 ATP molecules per molecule glucose. The question immediately arises as to why cancer cells would switch to a less productive form of energy production. One hypothesis describes increased aerobic glycolysis as an adaptation to hypoxic environment. Others argue that increased glycolysis should facilitate uptake and incorporation of nutrients into the biomass. Although the exact mechanisms underlying the Warburg effect are unclear, the importance of increased glycolysis in cancer cells has been experimentally demonstrated.

In my PhD project, I developed an integrated systems biology approach to investigate the underlying mechanisms of the Warburg effect. At the core of my project, I established multiple analytical platforms LC or GC based for detection and quantification of glycolytic intermediates, purine and pyrimidine metabolites, amino acids and others.”