Research in our laboratory has a general focus on developing new conjugation chemistry that is general, efficient, can accommodate ligand diversity, maintain ligand bioaffinity, and give bioactive and stable interfaces. We develop efficient conjugation reactions, and apply them to synthesize functional surfaces and nanomaterials to solve biointerface problems. We have studied extensively the reactivities of perfluoroaryl azides, as highly reactive singlet nitrene precursors, as well as electron-deficient azides in metal catalyst-free cycloaddition reactions. We use these reactions to functionalize graphene, to screen for antifouling polymers, to fabricate glycan microarrays and screen carbohydrate-binding lectins and bacteria, to synthesize glyconanomaterials to image and target bacteria.
Students in our lab have the opportunity to be trained in organic synthesis, nanomaterials synthesis, functionalization and characterization, and in vistro bioassays. Students graduated from our laboratory have found employment in academia (universities, national labs) and industrial sectors (semiconductor, biotechnology, chemical analysis).