We are searching for biosignatures that could indicate whether life exists on other planets. In particular, we are pursuing the hypothesis that some lipids may be uniquely generated by living systems and could be reliable indicators of life on other planets. To test this idea, we are collecting samples from lava tube environments on earth that are similar to lava tubes on Mars, which we think are particularly suitable to harbor life. We are evaluating the types of lipids found in these lava tube samples, and whether they can serve as reliable biosignatures.
In our Cancer Biology projects, we seek to understand how different types of cancer cells and immune cells control tumor survival, and what therapeutic strategies can be used to target various cancers. We are exploring the role of ferroptosis in several cancers, such as brain and liver cancers, examining the mechanism of drug resistance, and using single-cell methods to characterize the heterogeneity and the microenvironment in solid tumors.