Knagge Receives MURDOCK-NCRC Seed Funding Voucher

Kevin Knagge, PhD, group Leader of the Analytical Sciences Laboratory at the David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI), is one of six scientists at the NC Research Campus (NCRC) who received a MURDOCK-NCRC Seed Funding Voucher.

Knagge is partnering with Scott Shofer, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine at Duke University, on the project, “Exhaled breath analysis for identification of high-risk smokers in lung cancer screening population.” The voucher awarded by the Duke University MURDOCK Study, which is co-located on the NCRC, supports the research by providing a voucher for up to $10,000 to use for DHMRI laboratory services.

Diagnosing Lung Cancer

Using the voucher, Knagge and Shofer will apply global metabolomics profiling to the volatile organic compounds in exhaled breath condensate samples from smokers. The goal is to identify biomarkers that will differentiate patients with lung cancer from patients with benign tumors, a finding that could improve how lung cancer is diagnosed.

Lung cancer is often detected using a low-dose CT scan. Doctors cannot easily distinguish benign from malignant abnormalities, creating the need for additional tests and procedures. Biomarkers could be used as the basis for a non-invasive test that could more easily make the distinction.  

“By building on existing research,” said Knagge, who oversees the DHMRI’s metabolomic, NMR and proteomic laboratories, “we could save patients from unnecessary procedures and allow their doctors to more quickly focus on the most effective treatments.”

Additional recipients of the MURDOCK-NCRC Seed Funding Vouchers are:

• Saroja Voruganti, PhD, UNC Nutrition Research Institute (UNC NRI), “A pilot study to identify polymorphisms associated with hyperuricemia risk”
• Manya Warrier, PhD, UNC NRI, “Association of betaine and plasma metabolites in obesity and diabetes”
• Nowlan Freese, PhD, UNC-Charlotte, “Role of alternative splicing and methylation in salinity tolerance of rice”
• Renaud Warin, PhD, and Jennifer McBride, NC A&T University, “Modulation of natural killer cells chemopreventative properties by dietary isothiocyanates”
• Mary Ann Lila, PhD, and Renee Strauch, PhD, NC State University Plants for Human Health Institute, “Identification of fruit-derived polyphenolic metabolites in human plasma”

A half-day symposium will be planned for funded investigators to present and display their work.

Learn more about DHMRI’s metabolomics capabilities.

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