Dr. Cummings’ laboratory studies molecular mechanisms involved in cell death, with a particular emphasis on the role of lipids. The laboratory uses lipidomic approaches, such as two-dimensional, high-performance, thin-layer chromatography in tandem with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (2D-HP-TLC-ESI-MS), to identify lipids altered in prostate cancer cells exposed to anti-cancer agents. Recent work has also used lipidomics to determine mechanisms of lipid-based drug delivery by nanoparticles. They hope to use these data to design and track novel nanoparticulate drug carriers and understand their mechanisms of action.
The Cummings laboratory also studies the molecular mechanisms of cell death induced by water disinfection byproducts (DBPs) such as bromate, which are environmental oxidants. Current studies are focused on epigenetic changes induced in kidney cells after chronic exposure to low levels of DBPs.