Genetics and Metabolomics Core (GMC)

Core Narative

Studies of Superfund toxicants require novel mouse models, sensitive analytical approaches for measures of hormones, cytokines and small molecule metabolites, and in-depth analyses of large datasets to pioneer new findings in the detection of environmental toxicants and their role in health and disease. The UC San Diego Superfund Research Center Genetics and Metabolomics Core creates tailor-made genetically altered mouse models for the Biomedical Projects, uses highly sophisticated, rapid and sensitive methods for the detection and analysis of hormones and small metabolites (metabolomics), and provides informatics for analysis of biological and environmental samples. Hormone analyses in mouse and human serum, and metabolomics analyses of serum, urine, water, soil, and plant samples provide detailed detection of toxicants and their effects in environmental and experimental systems. 

Summary of Core

Studies of Superfund toxicants require novel mouse models, careful, high-throughput analyses of hormones, cytokines and small molecule metabolites, and informatics analyses of large datasets to pioneer new findings in the detection of environmental toxicants and health effects of exposure. The UC San Diego Superfund Research Center Genetics and Metabolomics Core facility will provide state-of-the-art molecular biology services for generation of murine models of toxicant exposure as well as cutting-edge analytical services for sensitive, high-throughput assay of hormones and small molecule metabolites and their informatic analyses. This Core will interface with all six proposed research projects. Comprehensive approaches for modifying the mouse genome are provided including DNA microinjection, embryonic stem cell homologous recombination, CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis, and blastocyst injection, specifically tailored to UCSD Superfund projects. Furthermore, metabolomics services will be provided, allowing for measure of hormones, growth factors, and thousands of small molecule metabolites (both targeted and untargeted) using a Luminex magnetic bead analyzer and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry based approaches. Samples for analysis will include human and mouse biospecimens (plasma, urine, and stool) as well as community plant, water, and soil samples. Bioinformatics services will provide in-depth analyses of large datasets resulting from transcriptomics, cistromics, and metabolomics. This core provides centralized, cost-effective, efficient, technically sophisticated services that are crucial to the success of all six projects in the UC San Diego Superfund Research Center.


PubMed Central ID: 

Ma HY, Yamamoto G, Xu J, Liu X, Karin D, Kim JY, Alexandrov LB, Koyama Y, Nishio T, Benner C, Heinz S, Rosenthal SB, Liang S, Sun M, Karin G, Zhao P, Brodt P, Mckillop IH, Quehenberger O, Dennis E, Saltiel A, Tsukamoto H, Gao B, Karin M, Brenner DA, Kisseleva T. (2019) IL-17 signaling in steatotic hepatocytes and macrophages promotes hepatocellular carcinoma in alcohol-related liver disease. J Hepatol. Dec 31.
doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2019.12.016

PubMedID: 31899206

Pandolfi, E.C., Breuer, J.A., Nguyen Huu, V.A., Talluri, T., Nguyen, D., Lee, J.S., Hu, R., Bharti, K., Skowronska-Krawczyk, D., Gorman, M.R., Mellon, P.L., Hoffmann, H.M. (2019) The Homeodomain Transcription Factors Vax1 and Six6 Are Required for SCN Development and Function. Mol Neurobiol. doi: 10.1007/s12035-019-01781-9. ( [Epub ahead of print]

PubMedID: 31705443
PubMed Central ID: 

Pandolfi, E.C., Tonsfeldt, K.J., Hoffmann, H.M., Mellon, P.L. (2019) Deletion of the Homeodomain Protein Six6 From GnRH Neurons Decreases GnRH Gene Expression, Resulting in Infertility. Endocrinology. 160(9):2151-2164. doi: 10.1210/en.2019-00113. (

PubMedID: 31211355
PubMed Central ID: 

Tonsfeldt, K.J., Schoeller, E.L., Brusman, L.E., Cui, L.J., Lee, J., Mellon, P.L. (2019) The Contribution of the Circadian Gene Bmal1 to Female Fertility and the Generation of the Preovulatory Luteinizing Hormone Surge. J Endocr Soc. 3(4):716-733. doi: 10.1210/js.2018-00228. ( eCollection 2019 Apr 1.

PubMedID: 30906911
PubMed Central ID: 

Hoffmann, H.M., Larder, R., Lee, J.S., Hu, R.J., Trang, C., Devries, B.M., Clark, D.D., Mellon, P.L. (2019) Differential CRE Expression in Lhrh-cre and GnRH-cre Alleles and the Impact on Fertility in Otx2-Flox Mice. Neuroendocrinology. 108(4):328-342. doi: 10.1159/000497791. Epub 2019 Feb 10.

PubMedID: 30739114
PubMed Central ID: 

Hoffmann, H.M., Pandolfi, E.C., Larder, R., Mellon, P.L.. (2019) Haploinsufficiency of Homeodomain Proteins Six3, Vax1, and Otx2 Causes Subfertility in Mice via Distinct Mechanisms. Neuroendocrinology. 109(3):200-207. doi: 10.1159/000494086. Epub 2018 Sep 27. Review.

PubMedID: 30261489
PubMed Central ID: 

Que, X., Hung, M.Y., Yeang, C., Gonen, A., Prohaska, T.A., Sun, X., Diehl, C., Määttä, A., Gaddis, D.E., Bowden, K., Pattison, J., MacDonald, J.G., Ylä-Herttuala, S., Mellon, P.L., Hedrick, C.C., Ley, K., Miller, Y.I., Glass, C.K., Peterson, K.L., Binder, C.J., Tsimikas, S., Witztum, J.L. (2018) Oxidized phospholipids are proinflammatory and proatherogenic in hypercholesterolaemic mice. Nature. 558(7709):301-306. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0198-8. Epub 2018 Jun 6.

PubMedID: 29875409
PubMed Central ID: 

Pandolfi, E.C., Hoffmann, H.M., Schoeller, E.L., Gorman, M.R., Mellon, P.L. (2018) Haploinsufficiency of SIX3 Abolishes Male Reproductive Behavior Through Disrupted Olfactory Development, and Impairs Female Fertility Through Disrupted GnRH Neuron Migration. Mol Neurobiol. 55(11):8709-8727. doi: 10.1007/s12035-018-1013-0. Epub 2018 Mar 27.

PubMedID: 29589282
PubMed Central ID: 

Shalapour, S., Lin, X.J., Bastian, I.N., Brain, J., Burt, A.D., Aksenov, A.A., Vrbanac, A.F., Li, W., Perkins, A., Matsutani, T., Zhong, Z., Dhar, D., Navas-Molina, J.A., Xu, J., Loomba, R., Downes, M., Yu, R.T., Evans, R.M., Dorrestein, P.C., Knight, R., Benner, C., Anstee, Q.M., Karin, M. (2017). Inflammation-induced IgA+ cells dismantle anti-liver cancer immunity. Nature. 551, 340-345. doi: 10.1038/nature24302.

PubMedID: 29144460
PubMed Central ID: 

Xie H., Hoffmann H.M., Iyer A.K., Brayman M.J., Ngo C., Sunshine M.J., Mellon P.L. (2017) Chromatin status and transcription factor binding to gonadotropin promoters in gonadotrope cell lines. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 15(1):86. doi: 10.1186/s12958-017-0304-z.

PubMedID: 29065928
PubMed Central ID: 

Hoffmann H.M., Gong P., Tamrazian A., Mellon P.L. (2018) Transcriptional interaction between cFOS and the homeodomain-binding transcription factor VAX1 on the GnRH promoter controls Gnrh1 expression levels in a GnRH neuron maturation specific manner. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 461:143-154. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2017.09.004. Epub 2017 Sep 7.

PubMedID: 28890143
PubMed Central ID: 

Schoeller E.L., Clark D.D., Dey S., Cao N.V., Semaan S.J., Chao L.W., Kauffman A.S., Stowers L., Mellon P.L. (2016) Bmal1 Is Required for Normal Reproductive Behaviors in Male Mice. Endocrinology. 157:4914-4929. doi: 10.1210/en.2016-1620

PubMedID: 27704948
PubMed Central ID: 

Huang P.P., Brusman L.E., Iyer A.K., Webster N.J., Mellon P.L. (2016) A Novel Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone 1 (Gnrh1) Enhancer-Derived Noncoding RNA Regulates Gnrh1 Gene Expression in GnRH Neuronal Cell Models. PLoS One. 11(7):e0158597. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0158597. eCollection 2016.

PubMedID: 27389022
PubMed Central ID: 

Hoffmann, H. M., Trang, C., Gong, P., Kimura, I., Pandolfi, E. C., and Mellon, P. L. (2016) Deletion of Vax1 from GnRH Neurons Abolishes GnRH Expression and Leads to Hypogonadism and Infertility. Journal of Neuroscience. 36: 3506-3518. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2723-15.2016.

PubMedID: 27013679

Main Contact Information

Core Leaders
  • Dr. Pamela Mellon
    Professor, Department of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, UCSD School of Medicine
  • Dr. Mohit Jain
    Assistant Professor, Departments of Pharmacology and Medicine, UCSD School of Medicine
  • Dr. Christopher Benner
    Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, UCSD School of Medicine


UCSD Superfund Research Center
University of California, San Diego
Pharmacology Department
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0722
La Jolla, CA 92093-0722