Redox Metabolism Shared Resource Facility

Mission statement

The mission of the Redox Metabolism Shared Resource Facility (RM SRF) is to provide expertise and services in redox metabolism, oxidative stress, mitochondrial function, and proteomics to basic and clinical investigators of the Markey Cancer Center (MCC) doing basic, pre-clinical, and clinical research.

To accommodate the rapidly growing filed of cancer metabolism, the RM SRF has recently added metabolomics services. These services are available via the Center for Environmental and Systems Biochemistry (CESB), which houses the Resource Center for Stable Isotope Resolved Metabolomics (RC-SIRM).

The RM SRF’s metabolomics capacity complements existing Markey science and existing Seahorse technology, oxidative stress measures and proteomics identification of key proteins. 

How the RM SRF furthers Markey science

The role of free radicals and altered metabolism is increasingly apparent in various aspects of cancer biology and cancer therapy. Recognizing the importance of free radicals from programmatic meetings and retreats, MCC members advocated for the formation of the RM SRF. This demonstrates that the RM SRF emanated from member wishes that the MCC provide excellence in this important aspect of cancer biology.

Analysis of the roles of free radicals in cancer biology requires highly skilled ability to:

  • Measure the damage induced by free radicals in various tissues, cells, and fluids associated with different cancers.
  • Measure oxygen and nitrogen free radical species via biochemical and biophysical methods.
  • Measure molecules responsible for free radical production, oxidant scavenging, and free radical damage.
  • Use proteomics and metabolomics to identify proteins in tissues, cells, and fluids that have differential levels or have been oxidatively modified and to determine associated functional changes.
  • Measure mitochondrial function, since mitochondria are a major source of free radicals in cells.

A fundamental cornerstone for the RM SRFs metabolomics component is stable-isotope labeling during the biological experiment, meaning experimental design must be integrated with analysis and informatics. Because of this, a simple fee-for-service model is unlikely to yield very useful results for cancer researchers, and metabolomics services are structured for extensive advising and collaboration.

Importantly, and unique to this region of the United States, the RM SRF is one of only a few cancer center-resident resources in the world with the knowledge and reagents necessary to provide the redox and metabolism services needed by MCC members. Personnel in the RM SRF are highly knowledgeable about free radicals, oxidative stress, metabolism, sample handling and preparation, and the advantages and limitations of each assay employed, including bioenergetics, metabolomics, and proteomics. The RC-SIRM, housed in the CESB, is one of the six metabolomics centers supported by the NIH Common Fund. These unique investments provide a distinct advantage to MCC researchers in sample use, analysis, and interpretation of results.

Faculty and staff

D. Allan Butterfield, PhD, Director of the Redox Metabolism Shared Resource Facility; 859-323-1106
Dr. Butterfield is the UK Alumni Association Endowed Professor of Biological Chemistry. His expertise is in detection of free radicals, measures of oxidative stress, and proteomics identification of oxidatively modified proteins. Dr. Butterfield serves as the Director of the RM SRF.

Haining Zhu, PhD, Leader of the Proteomics component and Director of the University of Kentucky Proteomics Facility:; 859 323-3643
Prof. Zhu is primarily responsible for overseeing proteomics analyses of proteins of interest to MCC investigators.

Richard Higashi, PhD, Associate Director of Redox Metabolism Shared Resource Facility and Director of the Resource Center for Stable Isotope-Resolved Metabolomics (RC-SIRM):; 859-218-1027
Dr. Higashi is expert on mass spectrometry to identify and quantitate metabolites of importance in cancer. He is Professor of Toxicology and Cancer Biology and Associate Director of Metabolomics for the RM SRF.

Mihail (Mike) Mitov, PhD, Research Associate/Lab manager:; 859-323-1106
Dr. Mitov provides consultations for PIs who need assistance with experimental design, data analysis and troubleshooting. He also routinely determines indices of oxidative damage, separates and analyzes proteins for proteomics analyses and uses Seahorse technology-mediated determination cellular bioenergetics and mitochondrial functions through various assays (including OCR/ECAR/ETO/FAO).

Michael Alstott, MS, Senior Laboratory Technician:; 859-323-1106. Mr. Alstott assists in all aspects of the daily laboratory operation and provides experimental and administrative assistance to the Directors and FRBM service users.


If multiple PIs request simultaneous analyses, the RM SRF leadership determines priority based on the following criteria:

    • Level 1: Samples from MCC members with NCI funding or cancer-related federally funded peer reviewed studies
    • Level 2: Samples from MCC investigators preparing cancer-related, peer reviewed grant applications
    • Level 3: Samples from MCC investigators with a cancer-related project funded by MCC pilot studies or non-peer reviewed source
    • Level 4: Samples from MCC investigators without funding whose analysis would lead to preliminary data and the likelihood of a subsequent extramural proposal submission
    • Level 5: Samples from non-MCC investigators.

Hours of operation

The RM SRF can be contacted online at anytime, 24-hours a day, via iLab at

Page last updated: 5/27/2015 4:48:28 PM