Dr. Pierre-Jacques Hamard is researching ways to put the brakes on acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and other hematopoietic diseases. As an Associate Scientist for the Nimer Lab in the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, at the University of Miami, he and his colleagues are researching the role of epigenetic factors in normal and malignant hematopoiesis.
In particular, Dr. Hamard’s research involves determining the effect protein arginine methyltransferase-5 (PRMT5) may have on DNA repair in hematopoietic cells. This line of research recently made it to the cover of the high-profile publication Cell Reports.1
Another facet of Dr. Hamard’s research has a more therapeutic slant, as he and his colleagues test the efficacy of various epigenetic-based therapies.
One such therapy they are exploring is inhibiting the expression of the protein CARM1. Dr. Hamard and his colleagues have shown that CARM1 “is important for leukemia cells but not for normal cells.”2
Their approach is “to show that inhibiting these proteins could be a viable therapeutic approach for some of the diseases that we work on such as AML.”
An Advocate of Near-Infrared Imaging
The Nimer Lab isn’t Dr. Hamard’s first experience with an Odyssey® Infrared Imager. He had previously used the imaging system during his time at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. In fact, when he came to Miami Dr. Hamard explained the benefits of an Odyssey Imaging System to his principal investigator, Dr. Nimer. In Dr. Hamard’s opinion, a key feature of the imager is its capability, along with Image Studio™ software, to provide quantitative Western blot data.
“I like the quantification feature of the software. It’s one of the arguments that I usually use when I want to convince people that it’s the way to go with Western blots. For me, that’s the best thing about the instrument.”
Eventually, Dr. Hamard succeeded in acquiring an Odyssey CLx. Not only does he now do approximately 95% of his own Western blots using the Odyssey CLx, Dr. Hamard says others in his lab have come to appreciate the imager, as well.
Reliable Multiplex Western Blotting
Another feature of the Odyssey CLx that Dr. Hamard has come to rely on is multiplexing Western blots. In his research, the capability to multiplex his blots is crucial. A multiplex Western blot allows Dr. Hamard to detect and assess modifications PRMT5 or CARM1 have made to a histone in relation to that histone’s total protein, regardless of modification.
“We do a lot of multiplex Western blots where we use one color for the modification, be it methylation/acetylation and so on, and another color for the total protein.”
Multiplexing his Western blots has saved Dr. Hamard time by allowing him to test multiple conditions at once and ensuring he’s using the proper reagents for his research. It also allows him to better characterize the suitability of antibodies for the experiments he is performing.
We thank Dr. Hamard for his contributions to science and are proud to call him an Odyssey CLx Expert.
Publications resulting from work on the Odyssey CLx
- PRMT5 Regulates DNA Repair by Controlling the Alternative Splicing of Histone-Modifying Enzymes. Hamard PJ, Santiago GE, Liu F, Karl DL, Martinez C, Man N, Mookhtiar AK, Duffort S, Greenblatt S, Verdun RE, Nimer SD. Cell Reports. 2018 Sep 4;24(10):2643-2657. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.08.002. PMID:30184499
- CARM1 Is Essential for Myeloid Leukemogenesis but Dispensable for Normal Hematopoiesis. Greenblatt SM, Man N, Hamard PJ, Asai T, Karl D, Martinez C, Bilbao D, Stathias V, McGrew-Jermacowicz A, Duffort S, Tadi M, Blumenthal E, Newman S, Vu L, Xu Y, Liu F, Schurer SC, McCabe MT, Kruger RG, Xu M, Yang FC, Tenen D, Watts J, Vega F, Nimer SD. Cancer Cell. 2018 Jun 11;33(6):1111-1127.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.05.007. PMID: 29894694