Our research is directed towards creating chemical and biological sensors and implementing these analytical tools for a better understanding of biology and environments. Based on selective chemical recognition and emerging biocompatible materials, we are developing novel sensing interfaces at the nanoscale to target and quantify various ions, gas, nucleic acids, and proteins. One focus is to visualize biological processes in endosomes and lysosomes with the sensors on the cellular level, contributing to the precise mapping of the dynamic subcellular chemical environments. Results in this direction may also shed light on how different nanomaterials interact with cells especially the compartments along the endocytic pathways.

On the other hand, we are designing sensors to address the ever-growing demand in clinical diagnosis, point-of-care testing (POCT), and environmental monitoring. Both electrochemical and optical approaches are employed in this respect to obtain ionophore-based chemical sensors without heavily relying on instrumentations, but instead, with sensor signals that are readily quantifiable such as the change of color and distance.

Aiming at a more powerful kernel, our research often takes inspiration from scientific and technological advances in other fields. Currently, we are experienced in measurements at the nanoscale, the phase transfer theory, ion-selective sensors, host-guest chemistry, photoswitch/photochromism, and various electroanalytical techniques. Students working on the projects will have the opportunity to perfect a range of skills including setting up various electrochemical and optical measurements, organic synthesis of novel receptors and probes, preparation and modification of various functional materials, electron and fluorescence microscopy, culturing and manipulating cells.

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