Huiwang Ai

Ai, Huiwang

Primary Appointment

Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics


  • BS, Chemistry, Tsinghua University
  • PhD, Chemical Biology, University of Alberta
  • Postdoc, Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute

Contact Information

1340 Jefferson Park Ave
Pinn Hall Rm. 4020, PO Box 800736
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434-924-5665

Research Disciplines

Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Biophysics, Biophysics & Structural Biology, Biotechnology, Cancer Biology, Cell and Developmental Biology, Chemistry, Metabolism, Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Molecular Biology, Molecular Pharmacology, Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, Neuroscience, Physiology, Translational Science

Research Interests

Molecular Biosensors; Spatiotemporal Regulation of Biological Signaling; Protein Engineering for Imaging, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics

Research Description

The Ai lab specializes in protein engineering and employs interdisciplinary approaches, including biophysics, bioanalytical chemistry, chemical biology, synthetic biology, and optical imaging.

One of our main areas of focus is the development of molecular biosensors that provide insights into cellular and organismal signaling. We employ state-of-the-art techniques such as directed evolution, fluorescence imaging, bioluminescence imaging, synthetic chemistry, genetic screening, and mass spectrometry to unravel complex biological pathways related to redox biology, metabolism, and neuronal activity.

Furthermore, we explore the application of protein-based tools in live cells and rodent models to better understand pathophysiology and develop innovative therapies for conditions like diabetes, neurological disorders, and cancer. As an emerging direction, we are also working on the development of biosensors that can serve as self-wellness alert devices or diagnostics in resource-limited settings.

List of Publications in Pubmed

Selected Publications