Here are some projects I was or have been working on either from or after my PhD study.

Early-stage fecal panel biomarker discovery in cholangiocarcinoma through host-microbiota interaction project

Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), also known as bile duct cancer, is the epithelial malignancy of either intra or extra hepatic biliary tract. It is the second most common liver cancer, following hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), accounting for 10% – 15% of all hepatic cancers. CCA has an exceptionally high incidence in the northeast of Thailand where it causes high levels of morbidity and mortality (approx. 20,000 deaths/year) in the affected individuals, and a high socio-economic burden on their families. The remarkably high CCA incidence in Thailand mainly results from the liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrini (OV) infection through traditionally- and locally- styled diets with poor sanitation that promotes the active life cycle of OV. Following the ingestion and infection, OV can persist in the bile duct for 20 – 30 years and eventually leads to periductal fibrosis (PDF) and cholangiocarcinogenesis. In addition, the current findings rom our research team show the alteration in fecal microbial community of PDF and CCA patients. This suggests that host-microbial co-metabolism could be affected, potentially resulting in a wider variety changes of both endogenous and microbial metabolites in response to such disease conditions. Currently, the gold standard for screening risk population is the use of ultrasonography developed by Prof. Nittaya Chamadol and colleagues as part of Cholangiocarcinoma Screening and Care Program (CASCAP) led by Assoc.Prof. Narong Khuntikeo. Despite the effective ultrasound-based screening, more specific and more sensitive panel cross-omics biomakers are still needed to reach larger population in a quicker time period. Therefore, this study aims to investigate panel biomarkers consisting of both host and microbial metabolites that can serve as diagnostic tool for screening risk group.

Naturally-derived bioactive compound project

Naturally-derived bioactive compounds from plants, animals and microbes have been largely considered as the alternative, replacement or synergistic agents to synthetic drugs. Recently, our research team had metabolically characterized barks and leaves of Dipterocarpus alatus, an economic tree of which its wood is beneficial for furniture, leaf for pharmaceutical and medical products and oleoresin for biofuel. We primarily aimed to identify age- and growth-associated metabolites that can be further employed into biological indicator or biosensor for age and growth estimation to avoid falsified harvest of trees of less than 25 years of age. Our findings demonstrated that three metabolites including 1-kestose, tagatose and 2′-fucosyllactose can be the prominent biological indicators for age and growth prediction. Besides, specific metabolic profiles across different ages are also obtained that is very useful as a detailed catalogue for future use of D. alatus metabolites. Full article can be found in PLOS ONE.

Median standard one-dimensional 1H NMR spectra of Dipterocarpus alatus at 2 (A), 7 (B), 15 (C) and 25 (D) years of leaf (1) and bark (2). Solid line indicates metabolites found in both leaf and bark at all ages, whereas dashed line indicates metabolites found in either leaf or bark. Green line indicates metabolites found in leaf only, whereas red line indicates metabolites found in bark only.
O-PLS regression analyses of bark metabolome data with circumference (A and B) and stature (C and D). A and C: O-PLS score plots. B and D: O-PLS color-coded correlation coefficient loading plots.

Apart from D. alatus, we are now expanding to other plant species including Sindora siamensis and Kaempferia marginata that are under the Plant Genetic Conservation Project Under the Royal Initiation of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (RSPG).