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Ulrich Biomarker Lab

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. Second, the lab measures telomere lengths during different stages of cancer treatment. Third, the lab coordinates multiple –omics projects with collaborating groups. And lastly, 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.

Telomere length varies between individuals and shorten during aging. The lengths also vary between healthy and normal tissue and between cancer patients and healthy individuals. During cancer treatment, telomere lengths shorten. One of the goals of the Ulrich group is to determine methods to prevent or slow the level of this shortening. The lab measures telomere lengths quantitative real-time PCR according to the methods of Cawthon 2002 and O’ Callaghan et al 2011.

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.