Design and synthesis of heteronuclear metalloenzymes
Introducing unnatural amino acids into metalloproteins
Redox potential tuning
Design of DNAzyme and aptamer-based sensors
Selection and characterization of novel DNAzymes and aptamers
Multimodal theranostic agents for biomedical applications
Functional DNA nanotechnology
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.