Method Development

Since establishing our research group, the development of new or improved analytical methods has continued to be one of our focuses. For the end-point measurements in our developed methods, mass spectrometry has been commonly used. To address the challenge from the analysis of isomeric compounds, the coupling of ion mobility spectrometry to mass spectrometry has been explored. Currently, we are interested in improving the accuracy for quantifying RNA modifications as well as shortening the time required for analyzing each RNA sample. The goal is to provide a set of methods for studying the roles of RNA modifications (or epitranscriptomes) in various cellular activities. 

Analysis of Disease Biomarkers  

The benefits of being able to detect specific disease biomarkers include preventing, diagnosing, and/or treating the diseases. However, the analysis of specific disease biomarkers are often restrained by the limited amount of samples that can be collected from an individual patient. This is further complicated by the complex contents in the sample of interest and/or the low abundance of targeted biomarkers. To improve our ability on the qualitative and quantitative analysis of specific disease biomarkers, our group has explored the use of different approaches and analytical techniques. By collaborating with the Tannous group at the Massachusetts General Hospital, we have initiated an effort to identify new RNA biomarkers for brain cancer by using high resolution mass spectrometry. This project is currently funded by NIH. 


By using whole cell mass spectrometry, we are interested in developing a high throughput screening method for the cytotoxicity of nanomaterials. Through a collaboration with the Jia group at UNCG, we have also participated in a study to explore the applications of carbon-based nanomaterials in the prevention and treatment of heart disease. This project is currently funded by NIH.