Rebecca Lai

Associate Professor

Educational Background
Postdoctoral Research, University of California, Santa Barbara
Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin
B.Sc. California State University, Los Angeles

Research Interests
Electrochemical biosensor design, biomaterials-electrode interface characterization, protein engineering for sensor applications, scanning electrochemical miscroscopy, nanomaterials for energy-related applications

Lai Research Group
Current Research | Publications | Prospective Students

Rebecca Lai
Hamilton Hall 651

Current Research
Our research program focuses on both fundamental and applied aspects of biosensor research. The main objective of our research is the design and fabrication of folding- and dynamics-based electrochemical biosensors. We aim at developing portable real-time biosensors for environmental monitoring and point-of-care diagnostics. Our sensing strategy is to link target-induced change in the conformation and/or flexibility of the biorecognition elements (e.g. peptides, nucleic acids) to a robust, electrochemical signaling mechanism. These sensors are reagentless, reusable, and insensitive to non-specific interactions of contaminants, enabling them to be employed directly in realistically complex media such as blood, urine, soil extracts, and a wide range of food matrices.

Our research also encompasses the use of other analytical techniques such as electrochemical-surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy, spectroscopic ellipsometry, quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation, scanning electrochemical microscopy, and fluorescence microscopy for characterization of biosensors.

An electrochemical protein sensor fabricated by self-assembly of a peptide probe labeled with a redox molecule (methylene-blue (MB)) on a gold electrode surface.  In the absence of target antibody, the peptide probe is thought to be highly dynamic, enabling efficient electron transfer between the MB label and the electrode.  Upon target binding, the MB label is physically sequestered from the electrode surface, therefore impeding electron transfer which leads to a significant reduction in the MB peak current.

For more information, please visit the Lai Research Group Homepage.

Selected Publications

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