The Kane Lab has a number of research interests including:


Mass Spectrometry

The Kane Lab is using mass spectrometry to interrogate biological problems. The Kane lab is a member of the School of Pharmacy Mass Spectrometry Center, where Dr. Kane is the Executive Director. Dr. Kane also leads several collaborative efforts focused on biomarker discovery, quantification, and validation in efforts in drug development.

The Kane Lab has expertise in the following areas:

  • Metabolite quantification
  • Metabolomics
  • Mass Spectrometry Imaging
  • Small molecule quantification
  • Drug and drug metabolite quantification
  • Bioanlaysis for PK studies
  • Lipid quantification, lipid profiling, and lipidomics
  • Quantitative mass spectrometry assay development and validation



Retinoid (vitamin A) metabolism

Through various naturally occurring metabolites, vitamin A controls essential physiological functions. The term “retinoids” describes compounds that include vitamin A (retinol), its metabolites, and synthetic analogs that exhibit vitamin A activity. Retinoic acid (RA) is an active metabolite of vitamin A and an essential regulator of cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, development, nervous system function, reproduction, and the immune response. Disruption of the retinoid pathway during metabolic abnormalities, such as carcinogenesis, is thought to disregulate RA biosynthesis potentially affecting hundreds of genes that are directly and indirectly regulated by RA as well as rapid RA-dependent processes, such as translation.

The Kane Lab focuses on retinoid metabolism and bio-analytical chemistry with an emphasis on development of new bio-analytical technologies and their application to study retinoid metabolism and its role in disease. Current areas of interest include:

(1) quantitative profiling of metabolites and proteins

(2) high-throughput and targeted metabolomics

(3) the role of retinoid binding proteins in retinoid transport, metabolism, and signaling

(4) mass spectrometry imaging

(5) the role of altered retinoid metabolism in cancer, inflammation, immune function, and radiation-induced damage.

(6) Pharmacological modulation of the retinoid pathway and retinoid active metabolites

Overall, studies aim to identify new targets for therapeutic intervention and disease prevention through understanding of RA metabolism and how changes to RA homeostasis contribute to the aberrant physiology. This research utilizes cell systems, animal models, and human subjects using quantitative mass spectrometry of proteins and small molecules/metabolites, biochemistry and molecular biology techniques, as well as various chromatographic and spectroscopic approaches.

Current research projects include:

  • Impact of cellular retinol-binding protein, type 1 on development and progression      of cancer
  • Mechanisms regulating retinoic acid homeostasis
  • Role of retinoic acid in HIV intestinal mucosal immunity
  • Mechanisms of RA regulation during development



MCART: Medical Countermeasures Against Radiological Threat

The Medical Countermeasures Against Radiological and Nuclear Threats (MCART) Consortium is a large, federally-funded, multi-institutional program established to develop medical countermeasures against the lethal exposure to ionizing radiation, working towards understanding the mechanisms of radiation damage and ways to estimate individual radiation exposure using biomarkers. The Kane lab makes up the Tissue Imaging Core (TIC) which was established to identify and characterize biomarkers for radiation-induced damage and apply those biomarker(s) to the evaluation of the efficacy of Medical Counter Measures (MCM) for mitigating radiation-induced damage. The TIC is using a combination of MALDI-Mass Spectrometry Imaging (MALDI-MSI), targeted quantification, metabolomics, and proteomics to identify and validate biomarkers. The TIC is led by Dr. Maureen A. Kane. MCART is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH/NIAID Contract number HHSN272201000046C; PI: MacVittie). The Kane lab is part of the recently awarded BARDA RadNuc Animal Model Development Contract (PI: Vujaskovic; UMB SOM).


University of Maryland School of Phamracy Joins MCART Consortium to Advance Treatments for Radiation Injuries



Bioanalysis for PK Studies

The Kane lab develops bioanalysis assays for quantitative MS applications including pharmacokinetic (PK) determination. Currently we collaborate on an FDA-funded pharmacokinetic study of epileptic drugs in order to evaluate brand and generic antiepileptic drug products in patients.

Contract to School of Pharmacy to Compare Generic and Brand Epilepsy Pills



Biomarker Studies

The Kane lab uses a combination of untargeted and targeted assays for biomarker discovery and quantification. We are experienced with a variety of animal and cell models as well as human patient samples.