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
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.
2016 11 12 | Congratulations to undergraduate researcher Kang Yong Loh for winning the best poster award at the ECI ACS Undergraduate Research Conference for his work with NIR metal sensing using DNAzymes!
2016 09 23 | Dr. Lu has been selected for the prestigious Thomson Reuters 2016 list of Highly Cited Researchers. Yi has received this recognition two years in a row. Highly Cited Researchers identifies the world’s most influential contemporary researchers across 21 scientific fields.
2016 09 16 | A Pb sensor, developed and patented in the Lu group and licensed to ANDalyze, Inc., is making a difference in St. Paul Public Schools in Minnesota: Lu group technology is making a difference in students’ lives of public schools in the US
2016 09 01 | The Lu group has become a member of a new theme on Omics Nanotechnology for Cancer Precision Medicine in Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.