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Dr. Lai received her B.S. degree in Biochemistry from California State University, Los Angeles. She conducted undergraduate research in the lab of Dr. Feimeng Zhou. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin under the mentorship of Dr. Allen J. Bard. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her postdoctoral mentors were Dr. Alan J. Heeger and Dr. Kevin W. Plaxco. Dr. Lai joined the Department of Chemistry in 2007.
Dr. Lai received the NSF CAREER award for her research on electrochemical peptide-based (E-PB) biosensors. Her electrochemical metal ion (E-ION) sensor research was featured on NSF News and phys.org. D.r Lai was also featured in the Daily Nebraskan for her Harry Potter themed chemistry class. She has been a co-organizer of a Science x Pop Culture lecture series (Sci Pop Talks!) since 2014.
Dr. Lai was named Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of Chemistry in 2014. She was also awarded the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award and the NCMN Ambassador Award. She is the 2017 ACS Local Section Outreach Volunteer of the Year and the recipient of the ACS P3 Salute to Excellence plaque. She is the current Nebraska MRSEC Education/Outreach Director.
E-ION Sensor: An Electrochemical Gold(III) Sensor with High Sensitivity and Tunable Dynamic Range. Wu, Y.; Lai, R. Y., Anal. Chem., 2016, 88, 2227-2233.
E-DNA Sensor: Effects of DNA Probe and Target Flexibility on the Performance of a “Signal-on” Electrochemical DNA Sensor. Wu, Y.; Lai, R. Y., Anal. Chem., 2014, 86, 8888-8895.
E-AB Sensor: A Folding-based Electrochemical Aptasensor for Detection of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in Human Whole Blood. Zhao, S.; Yang, W.; Lai, R. Y., Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2011, 26, 2442-2447.
E-PB Sensor: An Electrochemical Peptide-based Biosensing Platform for HIV Detection. Gerasimov J. Y.; Lai, R. Y., Chem. Commun., 2010, 46, 395-397.
Nanosensor: Fabrication of Electrochemical DNA Sensors on Gold-modified Recessed Platinum Nanoelectrodes. Salamifar, S. E.; Lai, R. Y., Anal. Chem., 2014, 86, 2849-2852.
Electrochemical and Fluorescent Sensor: Use of Combined Scanning Electrochemical and Fluorescence Microscopy for Detection of Reactive Oxygen Species in Prostate Cancer Cells. Salamifar, S. E.; Lai, R. Y., Anal. Chem., 2013, 85, 9417-9421.
Electrochemical and Surface Plasmon Resonance Sensor: Application of Electrochemical Surface Plasmon Resonance Spectroscopy for Characterization of Electrochemical DNA Sensors. Salamifar, S. E.; Lai, R. Y., Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 2014, 122, 835-839.