The Lu Group’s interests lie at the interface between chemistry and biology. We are developing innovative chemical approaches to provide deeper insight into biological structures and functions, while also taking advantage of recently developed biological tools to advance many areas in chemistry, such as inorganic chemistry, chemical biology, analytical chemistry, and materials chemistry. We strive to make significant contributions in three principal areas of research:
1. Biosynthetic Inorganic Chemistry
Synthesis and study of structural and functional mimics of metalloenzymes, as well as the applications of these mimics as biocatalysts in renewable energy generation and small-molecule activation and transformation.
2. DNAzyme and Aptamer-Based Sensing and Imaging Agents
In vitro selection of DNAzymes/aptamers and development of highly sensitive and selective sensors and imaging agents for detection of metal ions and small-molecule targets with applications in environmental monitoring, food safety, and medical diagnostics and imaging.
3. 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.
4. Biocatalysis and Synthetic Biology
Engineer biocatalysts to address challenges in synthetic organic chemistry and applications of novel biocatalysts in synthetic biology for biomass conversion, valuable products generation in high yield and good selectivity.