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. We are also taking advantage of recently developed biological tools to advance many areas in chemistry, such as inorganic chemistry, chemical biology, analytial chemistry, and materials chemistry. We strive to make significant contributions in three principal areas of research:

  1. Biosynthetic Inorganic Chemistry
  2. Synthesis and study of structural and functional mimics of metalloenzymes and their applications as biocatalysts in renewable energy generation and small-molecule activation and transformation.

  3. DNAzyme and Aptamer-Based Sensing and Imaging Agents
  4. In vitro selection of DNAzymes/aptamers and development of highly sensitive and selective sensors and imaging agents for metal ions and small-molecule targets with applications in environmental monitoring, food safety, and medical diagnostics and imaging.

  5. Functional DNA Nanotechnology:
  6. Using DNA for encoded synthesis and directed assembly of nanomaterials and their applications as theranostic agents for early detection of diseases such as cancers and targeted drug delivery.

On May 14, seven recently graduated PhDs from the Lu group
attended the 2016 Commencement.

Recent News
2017 05 24 | Claire Merchen has just received the NIH Chemistry-Biology Interface (CBI) training grant fellowship. Congratulations!
2017 April | Nitya sai Reddy has been awarded the 2017 Beckman Institute Graduate Fellowship. Kang Yong Loh has won the 2017 Beckman Institute Undergraduate Fellowship. Congratulations to both of them!
2017 04 08 | Ambika Bhagi-Damodaran, who obtained her PhD from Lu group recently, has received the prestigious 2017 Division of Inorganic Chemistry (DIC) Young Investigator Award. She will receive the award and give an invited presentation in the Inorganic Young Investigator Awards Symposium at the Fall 2017 National ACS Meeting in Washington, DC from Aug 20-24. Congratulations!
2017 03 21 | OK Molly Chemistry Dr. Lu has been invited as one of 42 leading chemists to write a commentary(The 'OK Molly' Chemistry) for the special "Holy Grails in Chemistry" issue of Accounts of Chemical Research in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the ACS journal.
2017 03 17 | Sudharsan Dwaraknath has been awarded the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Congratulations!
2016 11 24 | New study shows why heme-copper oxidases prefer copper over iron | The recent Nature Chemistry publication Why copper is preferred over iron for oxygen activation and reduction in heme-copper oxidases by Ambika Bhagi-Damodaran and others of the Lu group has been featured on Phys.Org to highlight its important insights into naturally-occurring heme-copper complexes.
2016 11 18 | Dr. Lu has once again been named as one of Eight Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential as part of the Thompson/Reuters mostly highly cited list for 2016.