• Lu group holiday party 2019


The Lu Group’s research interests lie in the interface between chemistry and biology. We are developing innovative chemical approaches to gain deeper insight into biological structures and functions, while also taking advantage of recently developed biological tools to advance all areas in chemistry, including analytical, inorganic, organic, physical and materials chemistry. Specific projects of current interests are:

1. Biosynthetic Inorganic Chemistry

Computational design and directed evolution of artificial metalloenzymes as environmentally benign biocatalysts for renewable energy generation and pharmaceutical drug syntheses.

2. Biocatalysis and Synthetic Biology

Engineer biocatalysts to address challenges in synthetic organic chemistry and applications of novel biocatalysts in synthetic biology for biomass conversion and valuable products generation in high yield and good selectivity.

3. Bioanalytical Chemistry

Design and selection of sensors and imaging agents for metal ions, metabolites and glycoRNAs to advance metallomics, metabolomics and glycomics for medical diagnosis, imaging and therapy in neurodegenerative and infectious diseases and cancers.

4. Functional DNA Nanotechnology

Using DNA for encoded synthesis and directed assembly of nanomaterials, as well as the applications of these nanomaterials as theranostic agents for early detection of diseases such as cancers and targeted drug delivery.

5. Gene Editing/Therapy

Developing novel gene-editing methods to improve sequence fidelity and gene target accessibility.

Recent News

2024 May | Congratulations, Yiwei, for receiving the Summer 2024 Chemistry Department Research Fellowship!

2024 April | Whitney has won the prestigious P.E.O. Scholar Award. Congratulations, Whitney!

2024 March | The Lu group is among the winners of Phase I of the Lead Detect Prize.

2024 March | The Lu group has become an associate member of The Acquired Resistance to Therapy Network (ARTNet). We are working with Dr. Boyi Gan and others at the MD Anderson Cancer Center on developing imaging probes to gain mechanistic insights into ferroptosis and cuprotosis and using the insights to design better ferroptosis- and cuprotosis-inducing anti-cancer drugs.

2024 March | The Lu group has received a grant from CPRIT to decipher iron redox cycles in ferroptosis-based cancer therapy.

2023 August | Dr. Lu has become a member of the Institute for Neuroscience.

2023 April | Yuan and Weijie’s Nature Biotechnology paper on glycoRNA imaging got featured in CNS News.

2023 April | Weijie received 2023 Summer Research Fellowship and 2023 Professional Development Award from the Department of Molecular Biosciences. Congratulations!

2023 April | Yuan has been selected as one of the 2023 Leading Edge Fellows. Congratulations!

2023 April | Karen Zhang has won the Thermo Fisher Award for Excellence in Biochemistry award. Congratulations!

2023 April | Newfound Link Between Alzheimer’s and Iron Could Lead to New Medical Interventions | Yuting, Seyed and Ryan’s paper has been published in Science Advances. It reports a new imaging probe that has, for the first time, shown that in the same regions of the brain where the amyloid beta plaques associated with Alzheimer’s occur, there is also an increase in iron redox. The imaging probe could yield even more details about the causes of Alzheimer’s and help in the search for new drugs to treat it. Their findings have been covered by CNS , Science Daily, and several other news outlets.

2023 April | Lu group’s research on using PANDA to advance new therapeutics and gene editing tools has been featured in ACS Central Science and Chemical and Engineering News.