National Institute of Standards and Technology (2009-present)
DuPont Central Research and Development (2000-2009)
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (1996-2000)
American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow (with Dr. Gisela Storz)
Peking University, BS (1984) and MS (1987) in Electronics
University of Utah, MS in Physics, 1990
Princeton University, Ph.D. in Chemistry (with Professor Charles Dismukes), 1995
My research area is at the interface of materials and biochemical sciences. We explore interactions between inorganic nanostructures and biomolecules. We exploit such interactions to create new hybrid structures and functions on one hand, and to discover new biomolecular folding patterns on the other.
Our earlier work has led to the finding of a family of molecular structures: DNA- single wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) hybrid (see figure below). SWCNTs are one-dimensional molecules that have the same cylindrical shape but different chiralities. Many fundamental studies and technological applications of SWCNT require a population of tubes with identical chirality that current syntheses can not provide. By constructing DNA-SWCNT hybrids with specific ssDNA sequences, we are able to chromatographically separate SWCNTs by their chiralities. SWCNT also provides a unique platform to study nucleic acid folding and other biophysical properties. Potential application of DNA/SWCNT interactions ranges from biosensing to DNA sequencing.
Our current research covers the following two related areas:
1. Structure and function characterization of DNA-SWCNT hybrid, mechanistic understanding of the DNA-based SWCNT sorting method and its further development.
2. Engineering DNA-SWCNT hybrid as a measurement tool for biological applications.
In addition, we also provide purified materials to collaborators both outside and inside NIST to enable their fundamental measurements on SWCNTs.
Awards and Honors
American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow, 1997 – 2000
Chemical Research Council Collaborative Award, 2006
"Nano 50" Inventors Award, 2007
Those who are interested in our research are encouraged to apply for postdoctoral positions. For U.S. citizens, the National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship with an annual stipend of $65,600 per year (as of 2011) is available.
News and Views on our research
Xiaomin (Helen) Tu (Guest Researcher)
Constantine Khripin (NRC Postdoctoral Fellow)