Research Interests


The functions of signaling molecules are dependent on their dynamics and subcellular localization. With the recent development of functional mutants of green fluorescent protein (GFP) and advancement of fluorescence microscope, it has become possible to monitor and manipulate target proteins in live cells. Interdisciplinary approaches involving engineering, molecular/cellular biology, biomechanics, nanotechnology, biophotonics, and quantitative analysis will be integrated to elucidate the molecular mechanisms in mechanobiology and cell motility, and to develop accurate imaging assays for early cancer detection. My lab is located in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at UIUC, which provides state-of-the-art facilities and resources for interdisciplinary cutting-edge and groundbreaking research. My research interests include:


1)      Developing genetically-encoded reporters based on fluorescent resonance energy transfer (FRET) to visualize and quantify signaling transduction in live cells with high tempo-spatial resolution;



2) Combining red fluorescence protein (RFP) together with CFP/YFP-based FRET reporters to simultaneously visualize multiple signaling events and elucidate the molecular hierarchy involved in cellular signaling transduction;


3) Integrating Nano-fabrication, Laser-Tweezer, and Multi-photon Microscopy, together with fluorescence probes, to manipulate and visualize the regulatory signaling cascades in live cell motility and migration.



4) Detecting early cancer development in biopsy samples with FRET-based reporters.



Movies of Our Research