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Analytical Chemistry Seminar Series: Yi Lu – University of Texas at Austin
October 13 | 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
About the Seminar:
Advancing Metallomics, Metabolomics, Glycomics and Pathogen Detections using Functional DNA Nanotechnology
In comparison to detecting DNA, RNA and proteins, much less is developed to detect metal ions, metabolites, and glycosylated molecules even if they play important roles in human health. Unlike DNA/RNA or protein detections, obtaining sensors that can recognize metal ions, metabolites and glycoRNAs selectively is much more challenging. Similarly, while measuring DNA/RNA/proteins is commonly used to detect pathogens, they cannot tell whether the pathogens are infectious or not, which often result in delayed diagnosis and difficulty to mitigate the spread of the pathogens, including SARS-Cov-2. To meet these challenges, we have been using in vitro selection to obtain DNAzymes and aptamers, collectively called functional DNAs, which are specific for either a metal ion, metabolite, glycan or infectious pathogen from a large DNA library of up to 10 15 sequences and use counter selection to remove interferences from competing targets, such as a noninfectious pathogen. We have converted these functional DNAs into fluorescent, colorimetric and electrochemical sensors by conjugating them with different nanomaterials or device such as upconversion nanoparticles and nanopore. 1 These nanosensors have allowed monitoring different metal ions, 2 metabolites, 3 glycoRNAs 4 and infectivity of pathogens 5 in the environment, at point of care and in living cells and mice. These advances in metallomics, metabolomics, glycomics and pathogen detections fill a major gap in modern human health and medicine by providing complementary information from genomics and proteomics. Together, they will result in much more accurate diagnosis, understanding and therapy of many diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer diseases and cancers.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Yi Lu received his B.S. degree from Peking University in 1986, and Ph.D. degree from University of California at Los Angeles in 1992. After two years of postdoctoral research in Professor Harry B. Gray group at the Caltech, Dr. Lu started his own independent career in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 1994. He was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2000, full Professor in 2004 and endowed Jay and Ann Schenck Professor in 2010. In August of 2021, Dr. Lu moved to the University of Texas at Austin, becoming Robert J.V. Johnson-Welch Regents Chair in Chemistry. Dr. Lu’s research interests lie at the interface between chemistry and biology. Specific areas of current interests include a) design and engineering of functional metalloproteins as environmentally benign catalysts in renewable energy generation and pharmaceuticals; b) Fundamental understanding of DNAzymes and their applications in environmental monitoring, medical diagnostics, and targeted drug delivery; c) Employing principles from biology for directed assembly of nanomaterials with controlled morphologies and its applications in imaging and medicine and d) engineer biocatalysts to address challenges in synthetic organic chemistry and applications of novel biocatalysts in synthetic biology for biomass conversion, valuable products generation. Dr. Lu has received numerous research and teaching awards, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professors Award (2002), Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (2007), Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2015), Royal Society of Chemistry Applied Inorganic Chemistry Award (2015), Joseph Chatt Award (2020) and Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (2021) and Allen Distinguished Investigators (2022). For more information, check out the Lu lab website.