Postdoctoral Research, University of California, Santa Barbara
Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin
B.Sc. California State University, Los Angeles
Electrochemical biosensor design, biomaterials-electrode interface characterization, protein engineering for sensor applications, scanning electrochemical miscroscopy, nanomaterials for energy-related applications
Our research program is comprised of both fundamental and applicational aspects of biosensor research. The main objective of our research involves the design of folding-based electrochemical biosensors, with the goal of developing a portable real-time biosensor for point-of-care diagnosis. Our sensing strategy is to link ligand-induced folding in biopolymers (e.g. peptides, nucleic acids) to a robust, electrochemical signaling mechanism (Figure 1). Unlike most optical-based biosensors, these sensors are reagentless, reusable, and insensitive to non-specific interactions of contaminants, thus allowing them to be employed directly in realistically complex media such as blood serum and urine.
Our research also encompasses the engineering of new or improved protein scaffolds (e.g. periplasmic binding protein, calmodulin) for biosensor applications. Part of our research effort is to further understand protein-electrode interactions, with the aim at improving sensor performance and stability. We are also interested in exploring various electrode materials (e.g. carbon, indium tin oxide), in particular, materials that are compatible with the fabrication of low-cost, high-quality sensor arrays.
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.
Comparison of the Stem-loop and Linear Probe-based Electrochemical DNA Sensors by Alternating Current Voltammetry and Cyclic Voltammetry. Yang, W.; Lai, R. Y. Langmuir, 2011, 27, 14669-14677. [Link]
Combined Optical and Acoustical Method for Determination of Thickness and Porosity of Transparent Organic Layers Below the Ultra-thin Film Limit. Rodenhausen, K. B.; Kasputis, T.; Pannier, A. K.; Gerasimov, J. Y.; Lai, R. Y.; Solinsky, M.; Tiwald, T. E.; Wang, H.; Sarkar, A.; Hofmann, T.; Ianno, N.; Schubert, M. Rev. Sci. Instrum., 2011, 82, 103111-103120. [Link]
Design and Characterization of a Metal Ion-Imidazole Self-Assembled Monolayer for Reversible Immobilization of Histidine-tagged Peptides Zaitouna, A. J.; Lai, R.Y. Chem. Commun., 2011, 47, 12391-12393.[Link]
An undergraduate, graduate, or postdoctoral student in my group can expect to receive training in:
For more information, please visit the Lai Research Group website.
If you are seeking an exciting graduate career that helps you develop research skills at the interface of chemistry and biology, and are a self-motivated and creative individual, please email a letter of interest or resume to Prof. Lai at firstname.lastname@example.org.