Our research revolves about 1) chemical and biological sensors, and 2) photoswitches.
For sensors, we wish to explore the fundamentals of cell biology with various new sensing concepts while on the other hand, also seek to solve real-world problems by creating chemical sensors for environmental monitoring and clinical diagnosis.
We love photoswitches not only because it is fun, but also due to their unique potential yet to be fully realized in schemes related to biology and energy. Currently, the lab is working on photoswitches belonging to several different families including spiropyran, naphthopyran, and hemithioindigo.
Based on innovation in signal transduction and functional materials, new nanoscale sensing interfaces are being developed to quantify various ions, gas, nucleic acids, and proteins. We are particularly interested in the visualization of chemical species in endolysosomes which are highly dynamic along the endocytic pathways. Results may also help us better understand how different nanomaterials interact with subcellular components.
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 the lab to create ionophore-based chemical sensors without heavily relying on instrumentations. Instead, the sensors are quantified by simple physical parameters such as the change of color and distance.
We are experienced in measurements at the nanoscale, the phase transfer theory, ion-selective systems, host-guest chemistry, photoswitch/photochromism, and various electrochemical techniques, and constantly inspired by scientific and technological advances in other fields. Our students will have the opportunity to perfect a wide range of skills including the setting up of optical and electrochemical measurements, organic synthesis of photoswitches and fluorescent probes, preparation and modification of functional nanomaterials, electron and fluorescence microscopy, culturing and raising of cells and animals, etc.
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