Sullivan Lab

Sullivan Lab

Fred Hutch campus

Our Research

Welcome to the Sullivan Lab! We focus on understanding the metabolic constraints of cell proliferation, with the ultimate goal to use this knowledge to improve cancer treatment. Cancer cells have altered cell metabolism compared to the parental cells from which they arise. To maintain aberrant proliferation, cancer cells enact changes in metabolic fluxes to support the increased synthesis of proteins, nucleotides and lipids needed to replicate cell biomass and divide. Thus, exploiting the metabolic differences between normal cells and cancer cells is a promising approach to improve cancer therapy. In fact, many current chemotherapeutic agents are cytotoxic due to their ability to interfere with metabolic pathways in cancer cells. The fact that these treatments can be curative provides strong evidence that cancer cells have targetable metabolic vulnerabilities, making it critical to better understand how cell metabolism supports proliferation and to determine which metabolic pathways are required for cancer growth. We use mass spectrometry, isotopic tracing, metabolic flux measurements, and cancer models to broadly understand how metabolism supports cell proliferation and survival.