What we do

Bio-complex systems involve layers of signaling molecules from genomics to proteomics to metabolomics to immunology and to phenology. A diseased system often recruits an ensemble of signaling targets with aberrant expressions. Our group has two major research focuses: 1) disease diagnostics by detecting multiple disease-correlated targets simultaneously to enable super-early disease diagnostics; 2) disease therapeutics by manipulating multiple disease-correlated targets simultaneously to develop potent combinatorial drug therapy. To achieve these research impetuses, many challenging problems related to physics, engineering, chemistry, mathematics and biomedical applications need to be overcome.

1. Large-scale drug combination optimization

We are interested in developing enabling techniques to facilitate the optimization of large-scale drug candidates for potent therapy. The techniques we are working on include Feedback System Control (FSC), Parabolic Response Surface (PRS) and Compressive Sensing. These techniques allow identification of effective drug combination therapies both for a population or an individual with minimal experimental efforts.

2. Single-cell multi-targeting detection

We are developing mass cytometry (also named, CyTOF) technique for single-cell analysis. CyTOF is a mass spectrometry technique based on inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry combined with mass tags that allows accurate measuring of various molecular species on single cells in a highly multiplexed fashion. In this approach, antibodies are tagged with isotopically pure rare earth elements and these are used to tag the components of cells. Currently, we are able to detect up to 40 parameters (surface proteins, signaling proteins, mRNA, etc.) on a single-cell level.
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3. Portable bio-sensors for disease diagnosis

We are developing portable bio-sensors with microfluidics, bio-electrochemistry, hydrogel and surface modification skills for point-of-care technologies (POCT). We have independent clean room, which is fully capable for regular micromachining process such as photolithography and 3D mold printing. The applications include circulating tumor cell (CTC) separation, portable PCR platform, remote toxic gas detector, single-exosome analysis, etc.