Proteins are essential functional biomolecules that are involved in all aspects of cellular physiologic activities, and have been important targets for disease diagnosis and drug development. Proteome alterations that are associated with health and diseases may include changes in protein expression, sequence, post-translational modifications (PTMs), turnover, as well as protein interactions with proteins or other biomolecules. In our lab, mass spectrometry-based proteomics and other molecular techniques are applied to study disease-associated proteome alterations at a functional level. These studies are carried out with various goals, aiming to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying tumorigenesis, to investigate changes in PTM status associated with diseases, and to identify disease associated protein biomarkers to improve diagnosis or therapeutic treatment. Currently, our main disease focuses are pancreatic cancer, colon cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, through collaborative efforts, our lab also involves in various translational and clinical researches, including studies in chronic inflammation, metabolic disorders and therapeutic drug development. We are also active in technology innovation and particularly interested in developing mass spectrometry-based technologies for clinical applications, single cell proteomics, metaproteomics and glycoproteomics. Bioinformatics and systems biology are important components in our study for analysis of protein interaction networks and regulatory pathways associated with cancer and other disease mechanisms.

Areas of Interest

Research Interests

  • Mechanistic and biomarker studies of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and its precursors, including pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) and pancreatic cyst neoplasms (PCNs).
  • Metaproteomic study of microbiome implicated in colon cancer, colitis and other GI-tract diseases.
  • Investigation of the proteome and glycoproteome alterations associated with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy Body Dementia (LBD).
  • Investigation of protein glycation and advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in malignances, aging, diabetes and chronic inflammation.
  • Innovation and development of proteomic technologies, focusing on singe cell proteomics, mass spectrometry-base clinical assays, metaproteomics and glycoproteomics.


  1. Senavirathna L, Ma C, Chen R, and Pan S, “Spectral library-based single-cell proteomics resolves cellular heterogeneity”, Cells, 2022 Aug 7;11(15):2450.
  2. Pan S, Brand RE, Lai LA, Dawson DW, Donahue TR, Kim S, Khalaf NI, Othman MO, Fisher WE, Bronner MP, Simeone DM, Brentnall TA, Chen R, “Proteome heterogeneity and malignancy detection in pancreatic cyst fluids”, Clinical and Translational Medicine, 2021, Aug;11(8):e506.
  3. Pan S, Hullar MAJ, Lai LA, Peng H, May DH, Noble WS, Raftery D, Navarro SL, Neuhouser ML, Lampe PD, Lampe JW, Chen R, “Gut microbial protein expression in response to dietary patterns in a controlled feeding study: A Metaproteomic Approach”, Microorganisms. 2020, 8(3):379.
  4. Pan S, Chen R, and Brentnall TA, “Proteome alterations in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma”, Cancer Lett. 2020, 469:429-436.
  5. Chen R, Lai LA, Sullivan Y, Wong M, Wang L, Riddell J, Jung L, Pillarisetty VG, Brentnall TA, Pan S, “Disrupting glutamine metabolic pathways to sensitize gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer”, Scientific Reports, 2017, 7(1):7950.
  6. Nigjeh EN, Chen R, Allen-Tamura Y, Brand RE, Brentnall TA, Pan S, “Spectral library-based glycopeptide analysis-detection of circulating galectin-3 binding protein in pancreatic cancer”, Proteomics Clin Appl. 2017, 11(9-10).
  7. Pan S, Chen R, Tamura Y, Crispin DA, Lai LA, May DH, McIntosh MW, Goodlett DR and Brentnall TA, “Quantitative glycoproteomics analysis reveals changes in N-glycosylation level associated with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma”, Journal of Proteome Research. 2014 13(3):1293-1306.
  8. Pan S, Chen R, Stevens T, Bronner MP, May D, Tamura Y, McIntosh MW and Brentnall TA, “Proteomics portrait of archival lesions of chronic pancreatitis”, PLoS ONE 2011, 6(11):e27574.
  9. Pan S, Chen R, Crispin DA, May D, Stevens T, McIntosh MW, Bronner MP, Anton-Culver H, Ziogas A and Brentnall1 TA, “Protein alterations associated with pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis found in human plasma using global quantitative proteomics profiling”, Journal of Proteome Research. 2011, 6, 2359-2376.
  10. Pan S, Chen R, Reimel BA, Crispin DA, Mirzaei H, Cooke K, Coleman JF, Lane Z, Bronner MP, Goodlett DR, McIntosh MW, Traverso W, Aebersold R and Brentnall TA, “Quantitative proteomics investigation of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia”, Electrophoresis. 2009, 30, 1132-1144.
  11. Pan S, Rush J, Peskind ER, Galasko D, Chung K, Quinn J, Jankovic J, Leverenz JB, Zabetian C, Pan C, Wang Y, Oh JH, Gao J, Zhang J, Montine T and Zhang J, “Application of targeted quantitative proteomics analysis in human cerebrospinal fluid using an LC MALDI TOF/TOF platform”, Journal of Proteome Research. 2008, 7, 720-730.
  12. Pan S, Shi M, Jin J, Albin RL, Lieberman A, Gearing M, Lin B, Pan C, Yan X, Kashima DT and Zhang J, “Proteomics identification of proteins in human cortex using multi-dimensional separations and MALDI tandem mass spectrometer”, Mol Cell Proteomics. 2007, 6, 1818-1823.
  13. Pan S, Zhu D, Quin JF, Pesking ER, Montine TJ, Lin B, Goodlett DR, Taylor G, Eng J and Zhang J, “A combined dataset of human cerebrospinal fluid proteins identified by multi-dimensional chromatography and tandem mass spectroscopy”, Proteomics. 2007, 7,469-473.
  14. Pan S, Wang Y, Quin JF, Pesking ER, Waichunas D, Wimberger JT, Jin J, Li J, Zhu D, Pan C and Zhang J, “Identification of glycoproteins in human cerebrospinal fluid with a complementary proteomic approach”, Journal of Proteome Research. 2006, 5, 2769-2779.
  15. Pan S, Zhang H, Rush J, Eng J, Zhang N, Patterson D, Comb MJ and Aebersold R, “High-throughput proteome screening for biomarker detection”, Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. 2005, 4, 182-190.