• Lu group holiday party 2019


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.


Recent News

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

2022 December | Dr. Lu has won the prestigious Allen Distinguished Investigators award.

2022 June | Dr. Lu has become a member of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering.

2022 May | Karen Zhang has won the CNS Award for Excellence in Biochemistry. Congratulations!

2022 April | Congratulations, Fred Elmquist, for receiving the chemistry departments’ summer undergraduate research fellowship.

2022 April | Congratulations, Whitney, for receiving a Summer 2022 Chemistry Department Research Fellowship.

2022 April | Valeria has won the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF). Congratulations!

2022 April | Dr. Lu has become a member of the Texas Materials Institute.

2022 April | Dr. Lu has become a member of the John Ring LaMontagne Center for Infectious Disease (CID), which bridges the gap between basic and translational research into microbial and viral pathogenesis.

2022 March | Dr. Lu has become a full member of the Quantitative Oncology research program in the Livestrong Cancer Institutes at the UT Dell Medical School. Congratulations!

2022 January | Isabelle has been awarded an NIH fellowship under the inaugural Project-to-Product Team Entrepreneurship and Active Mentoring (P2P-TEAM). With support of this fellowship, she will carry out structure-based development of diagnostic and therapeutic agents against SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens under mentorship of Dr. Lu, Dr. Jason McLellan and industrial collaborators. Congratulations!