Rob Dromms

Department: School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Graduate Program: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Advisor: Mark Styczynski, PhD

Lab Website

Research Summary:

As the downstream target of many regulatory and transcriptional events, metabolism is perhaps the most direct readout of cellular phenotype available.  Recent advancements in high-throughput analytical techniques such as GC-MS now enable us to simultaneously measure a wide cross-section of metabolites, allowing us access to the metabolome: the total metabolic content of a living system, analogous to the genome and proteome for DNA and protein.

My specific research interests revolve around finding effective ways of integrating these new metabolomics datasets into existing metabolic analyses and computational modeling strategies. Currently, I am focused on using metabolic modeling to understand the relationship between the transcriptome and metabolome in the evolution of yeast.  With the help of another student in the Styzcynski lab, I plan to apply the techniques and insights from the yeast project to their effort to understand the metabolic behavior of mouse embryonic stem cells during differentiation. This knowledge will help us detect subtle phenotypic changes as the cells differentiate, allow us to predict potential strategies to control stem cell fate, and improve our understanding of the underlying biology.

Biosketch:

I graduated from Cornell University in 2011 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, where I worked with Dr. Jeff Varner for two and a half years as an undergraduate research assistant.  My contributions there include substantial improvements to in-house modeling software for ODE-based models of intracellular signaling, as well as work on models for coagulation and eukaryotic hypoxia response.

I currently work in the lab of Dr. Mark Styczynski as I pursue a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at Georgia Tech.  My current activities include applying machine learning and multivariate analysis techniques to metabolomics projects in the lab.  These include projects in stem cell engineering, metabolic engineering, cancer metabolism, and collaborations with the Georgia Aquarium.