Huiwang Ai

Ai, Huiwang

Primary Appointment

Associate 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

Our laboratory uses interdisciplinary approaches in chemistry, engineering, biophysics, and physiology to study and manipulate complex biological systems, with a focus on the development of novel molecular biosensors to peer into cells and organisms to understand biosignaling and communications. We use a collection of technologies, such as protein engineering, fluorescence imaging, bioluminescence imaging, synthetic chemistry, electrophysiology, and MRI to dissect biological pathways related to metabolism, redox biology, insulin receptor signaling, and neurotransmission. 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 diabetes, cognition and behavior, and neurological disorders. In addition, we are interested in development of vaccines and protein based drugs for infectious diseases and diabetes.

List of Publications in Pubmed

Selected Publications