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Lu, Yi

Yi Lu

Department of Chemistry

Richard J. V. Johnson - Welch Regents Chair in Chemistry (Holder)


Phone: 512-471-1542

Office Location
WEL 4.244

Postal Address
105 E 24TH ST
AUSTIN, TX 78712

Dr. Yi Lu received his B.S. degree from Peking University in 1986, and Ph.D. degree from University of California at Los Angeles in 1992. After two years of postdoctoral research in Professor Harry B. Gray group at the Caltech, Dr. Lu started his own independent career at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 1994 as a tenure-tracked assistant professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2000, full professor in 2004 and Jay and Ann Schenck Endowed Professor in 2010. In August of 2021, Dr. Lu moves to University of Texas at Austin, becoming Robert J.V. Johnson-Welch Regents Chair in Chemistry.

Dr. Lu’s research interests lie at the interface between chemistry and biology. Specific areas of current interests include a) computational design and engineering of functional metalloenzymes as environmentally benign catalysts in renewable energy generation and pharmaceuticals; b) Fundamental understanding of DNAzymes and their applications in environmental monitoring, medical diagnostics, gene editing and targeted drug delivery; and c) Employing principles from biology for directed assembly of nanomaterials with controlled morphologies and its applications in imaging and medicine.

Current projects of interests include a) computational design of artificial metalloenzymes employing machine learning methods for solar energy transfer, (bio)fuel cells, CO2 reduction and nitrogen fixation; b) design of selective sensors and imaging agents for metal ions and metabolites to advance metallomics and metabolomics for medical diagnosis and imaging in neurodegenerative diseases and cancers; and c) developing novel gene-editing methods to improve sequence fidelity and gene target accessibility.

Ana S. Peinetti, Ryan J. Lake, Wen Cong, Laura Cooper, Yuting Wu, Yuan Ma, Gregory T. Pawel, María Eugenia Toimil-Molares, Christina Trautmann, Lijun Rong, Benito Mariñas, Omar Azzaroni, and Yi Lu, “Direct detection of human adenovirus and SARS-CoV-2 with ability to inform infectivity using a DNA aptamer-nanopore sensor,” Science Advances (in press).

Mingkuan Lyu, Linggen Kong, Zhenglin Yang, Yuting Wu, Claire E. McGhee, and Yi Lu, “PNA-Assisted DNAzymes to Cleave Double-Stranded DNA for Genetic Engineering with High Sequence Fidelity,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 143, 9724–9728 (2021).

Matthew W. Waugh, Sudharsan Dwaraknath and Yi Lu, “Advances in Metalloprotein Design and Engineering: Strategies Employed and Insights Gained,” In Section 8 (Biocoordination Chemistry) Lawrence Que, Jr. and Yi Lu, eds., Comprehensive Coordination Chemistry III, Edwin C. Constable, Gerard Parkin, Lawrence Que Jr., eds., pp 900-928 (2021).

Ruo-Can Qian, Ze-Rui Zhou, Weijie Guo, Yuting Wu, Zhenglin Yang, and Yi Lu, “Cell Surface Engineering using DNAzymes: Metal Ion-mediated Control of Cell-Cell Interactions,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 143, 5737–5744 (2021).

Christopher J. Reed, Quan N. Lam,   Evan N. Mirts  and  Yi Lu, “Molecular understanding of heteronuclear active sites in heme–copper oxidases, nitric oxide reductases, and sulfite reductases through biomimetic modelling,” Chem. Soc. Rev. 50, 2486-2539 (2021).

Yuting Wu, Zhenglin Yang and Yi Lu, Photocaged functional nucleic acids for spatiotemporal imaging in biology, Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol. 57, 95-104 (2020).

Ying Xiong, Jingjing Zhang, Zhenglin Yang, Quanbing Mou, Yuan Ma, Yonghua Xiong, and Yi Lu, “Functional DNA Regulated CRISPR-Cas12a Sensors for Point-of-Care Diagnostics of Non-Nucleic Acid Targets,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 142, 207-213 (2020).

JingJing Zhang, Tian Lan, and Yi Lu, “Translating in vitro Diagnostics from Centralized Laboratories to Point-of-Cares using Commercially-Available Handheld Meters,” Trac-Trends Anal. Chem. 124, 115782 (2020).

Mengyi Xiong, Zhenglin Yang, Ryan J. Lake, Junjie Li, Shanni Hong, Huanhuan Fan, Xiao-Bing Zhang and Yi Lu, “DNAzyme-Mediated Genetically Encoded Sensors for Ratiometric Imaging of Metal Ions in Living Cells, Angew. Chemie Int. Ed. 132, 1907-1912 (2020).

Ryan J. Lake, Zhenglin Yang, JingJing Zhang, Yi Lu, “DNAzymes as Activity-Based Sensors for Metal Ions: Recent Applications, Demonstrated Advantages, Current Challenges, and Future Directions,” Acc. Chem. Res. 52, 3275-3286 (2019).

Lele Li, Hang Xing, Jingjing Zhang, and Yi Lu, “Functional DNA Molecules Enable Selective and Stimuli-Responsive Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications,” Acc. Chem. Res. (special issue “Nanomedicine and Beyond”), 52, 2415-2426 (2019).

Evan N. Mirts, Ambika Bhagi-Damodaran, and Yi Lu, “Understanding and Modulating Metalloenzymes with Unnatural Amino Acids, Non-Native Metal Ions, and Non-Native Metallocofactors,” Acc. Chem. Res. (Special Issue on “Artificial Metalloenzymes and Abiological Catalysis of Metalloenzymes”) 52, 935–944 (2019).

Zhenglin Yang, Kang Yong Loh, Yueh-Te Chu, Ruopei Feng, Nitya Sai Reddy Satyavolu, Mengyi Xiong, Stephanie M. Nakamata Huynh, Kevin Hwang, Lele Li, Hang Xing, Xiaobing Zhang, Yann R. Chemla, Martin Gruebele, and Yi Lu, “Optical Control of Metal Ion Probes in Cells and Zebrafish Using Highly Selective DNAzymes Conjugated to Upconversion Nanoparticles, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 140, 17656–17665 (2018).

Evan N. Mirts, Igor D. Petrik, Parisa Hosseinzadeh, Mark J. Nilges, and Yi Lu, “A designed heme-[4Fe-4S] metalloenzyme catalyzes sulfite reduction like the native enzyme,” Science 361, 1098-1101 (2018).

Dr. Lu has received many research and teaching awards, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professors Award (2002), Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (2007), Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2015), Royal Society of Chemistry Applied Inorganic Chemistry Award (2015), Joseph Chatt Award (2020) and Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.