Professor Kane’s group conducts research at the interface of biotechnology and nanotechnology. The group is designing nanoscale polyvalent therapeutics and working on the molecular engineering of biosurfaces and nanostructures.
A major focus of the group’s research involves the design of polyvalent ligands, i.e., nanoscale scaffolds presenting multiple copies of selected biomolecules. The Kane group has made seminal contributions to a fundamental understanding of polyvalent recognition and has designed polyvalent inhibitors that are effective in vivo. Currently, the group is designing polyvalent molecules that control stem cell fate as well as polyvalent inhibitors of pathogens such as HIV and influenza. The group is also designing nanoscale scaffolds for antigen presentation as part of novel strategies for designing vaccines. The approach could lead to the development of “universal” influenza vaccines as well as effective vaccines targeting RSV and malaria. Other interests of the group involve optogenetics – the development and application of methods that use light to control cell function – as well as the design of enzymes and nanocomposites that target antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
My research interests center on control of movement by sensorimotor integration in the mammalian spinal cord. Using predominantly electrophysiological methods applied in vivo, we study neural signaling by spinal motoneurons, somatosensory neurons, and their central synapses. Our primary analyses include electrical properties, synaptic function, and firing behavior of single neurons. We are actively examining how these neurons and synapses respond soon and long after peripheral nerve injury and regeneration. Our recent findings demonstrate that successful regeneration of damaged sensory axons does not prevent complex reorganization of their synaptic connections made within the spinal cord. In separate studies, we are examining novel mechanisms of sensory encoding and their impairment which recently discovered in rodents treated with anti-cancer drugs. Both nerve regeneration and chemotherapy projects are driven by the long-term goal of accurately identifying the neural mechanisms behind movement disorders. We also continue to explore fundamental operations of the normal adult nervous system. Our most recent studies focus on synaptic modulation of motoneuron firing and on interspecies comparisons of spinal circuits.
My lab studies human evolutionary genomics, population genetics, and health disparities. It’s an an exciting time for the field of population genetics, and our research group uses whole genome sequences and computer simulations to study how diverse human populations evolve. We are interested in questions like:
• How have human genomes evolved in response to modern environments?
• How difficult is it for alleles to move between divergent populations?
• Why do hereditary disease risks vary across populations?
• How to best estimate an individual’s predisposition to different genetic diseases?
• What will our genomes look like in the future?
Vasculature, microfluidics, inflammation, systems biology, Alzheimer's disease, inflammatory bowel disease
Our research focuses on applying systems analysis approaches and engineering tools to identify novel clinical therapeutic targets for complex diseases. It is challenging to develop new treatments for these diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), because they do not have a single genetic cause and they simultaneously present broad physiologic changes. By combining novel engineered in vitro platforms, mouse models, and multivariate computational systems analysis, we will be able to 1) capture a holistic systems-level understanding of complex diseases, and 2) isolate specific mechanisms driving disease. The ultimate goal of our laboratory is to use these tools to identify new mechanisms driving disease onset and progression that will translate to effective therapeutic strategies.