Ai Lab

Laboratory of Protein Engineering for Bioactivity Imaging

The Ai lab uses interdisciplinary approaches in biophysics, chemical biology, molecular engineering, and optical imaging to study and control complex biological systems, with a focus on developing novel molecular biosensors to peer into cells and organisms to understand signaling and communication. We use innovative technologies, such as directed evolution, fluorescence imaging, bioluminescence imaging, synthetic chemistry, genetic screening, and mass spectrometry, to dissect biological pathways related to redox biology, metabolism, and neuronal activity.

Our immediate goal is to monitor biological signaling in real time with excellent spatial resolution and molecular precision in physiologically relevant environments. Our long-term goal is to apply these new tools in live cells and rodent models to understand biology and develop new therapies for diabetes and neurological disorders.

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Ai named UVA School of Medicine Pinn Scholar

Huiwang Ai has been selected as a Pinn Scholar for 2023-2026. The Pinn Scholars program is named in honor of Dr. Vivian Pinn who was a graduate of the UVA…

Paper on amber-emitting luciferase and immunobioluminescence imaging published in JACS

The paper by Ying, Yiyu, and several other co-authors on an engineered amber-emitting luciferase and in vivo immunobioluminescence imaging is now published in the ACS flagship journal, Journal of the American Chemical…

Paper on bioluminescent calcium imaging published in Nature Communications

The paper by Xiaodong, Yiyu, and several other co-authors on luciferase prosubstrates and red bioluminescent calcium indicators for imaging brain activity is now published in Nature Communications ().

Paper on UDP-GlcNAc sensors published in ACS Central Science

The paper by Zefan and Jing on fluorescent UDP-GlcNAc sensors is now published in the ACS flagship journal, ACS Central Science ().

Highly Cited Paper (top 1% in Chemistry)

As of 2020, our manuscript "Reaction-Based Genetically Encoded Fluorescent Hydrogen Sulfide Sensors" is a highly cited paper (in the top 1% of the academic field of Chemistry based on a…

Lab Location

Pinn Hall - Rm. 4013-4020, 1340 Jefferson Park Avenue, Charlottesville, VA 22908