Rachel Culp-Hill

Professional Research Assistant

Red Blood Cell metabolism in inflammation and Down syndrome

My current research projects focus on red blood cell derangements resulting from models of aging and hypoxia. Prior to joining the D’Alessandro lab, I worked with Toxicology lab at Michigan State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Center. There I developed a method for the detection of pyrethroid compounds by mass spectrometry (MS) and studied the excretion of pharmacological agents using both GCMS/MS and LCMS. I was able to apply those skills once I joined the group as a PRA in the Metabolomics Core here at UC Anschutz by investigating the effects of storage and freezing on heavy-labeled metabolite and amino acid standards. (Culp-Hill et al. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 2017, 23, e31) I have also been involved in many exciting projects studying the changes in red blood cell (RBC) metabolism due to hypoxia, aging, and inflammation. For example, we analyzed RBC samples from rats undergoing hemorrhagic shock and found that shock RBCs rely on glutamine to fuel glutathione synthesis and pyruvate transamination, which provides further evidence for the significant role of glutaminolysis in metabolic reprogramming and survival following severe hemorrhage. (Reisz et al. Blood Advances 2017, 17, e1) Additionally, in collaboration with the Linda Crnic Institute we analyzed RBC samples from 97 disomic or trisomic donors and found a widespread deregulation of trisomic RBC metabolism, including significant intracellular accumulation of lactate, amino acids, purine catabolites, glutathione metabolites, carboxylic acids, conjugated bile acids and acyl-conjugated carnitines. (Culp-Hill et al. Blood Advances 2017, accepted for publication) The study of red blood cell derangements is fascinating work, and I look forward to applying it to additional and more complex disease states.