Research

Our lab develops novel molecular probes to peer into cells and brains to understand their communications. We use a collection of innovative techniques, such as protein engineering, fluorescence and bioluminescence imaging, synthetic chemistry, and mass spectrometry, to dissect signaling pathways involving redox-active molecules, neurotransmitters, and protein post-translational modifications (PTMs). 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 probes to live cells and rodent models to understand communications relevant to toxicity of chemicals, cancer development and progression, cognition and behavior, and neurological disorders. Moreover, these basic research efforts are actively being translated to develop novel protein-based diagnostics and therapeutics.

Current projects in the lab can be roughly categorized as follows:

1. Spatiotemporal organization of redox signaling and its disruption under oxidative stress

2. Fluorescent biosensors to image brain activities

3. Bioluminescent probes for biological imaging

4. Protein-based diagnostics and therapeutics