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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, and her mentors were Dr. Alan J. Heeger and Dr. Kevin W. Plaxco. Dr. Lai is currently an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Awards and Recognition
- NSF CAREER award (2010)
- Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professorship (2014 – 2019)
- UNL College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award (2014)
- UNL NCMN Ambassador Award (2015)
- ACS Chemistry Ambassador sash and Certificate of Recognition (2015)
- ACS Local Section Outreach Volunteer of the Year (2017)
- ACS Partners for Progress and Prosperity (P3) Salute to Excellence (2017)
- ACS Partners for Progress and Prosperity (P3) Regional Award (2018)
- UNL Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Education (2018)
- UNL CAS Original Research and Creative Activity Award (2020)
Professional and Education/Outreach Activities
- “Harry Potter x Science” Education and Outreach Program (2012 – present)
- UNL SciPop Talks! Co-organizer (2014 – present)
- Nebraska MRSEC Education/Outreach Director (2016 – present)
- Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physical Sciences (WoPhyS) Conference Chair (2016 – present)
- UNL Nebraska MRSEC Science Slams Co-organizer (2017 – present)
- Analytica Chimica Acta Editor (2019 – present)
- Lincoln Electric System (LES) Administrative Board Member (2019 – present)
E-ION Sensor: Application of Calcium-binding Motif of E-cadherin for Electrochemical Detection of Pb(II). Lofti Zadeh Zhad, H. R.; Lai, R. Y. Anal. Chem. 2018, 90, 6519-6525.
E-DNA Sensor: Folding- and Dynamics-based Electrochemical DNA Sensors. Lai, R. Y. Enzymes as Sensors, Methods in Enzymology 2017, 589, 221-252.
E-AB Sensor: Towards the Development of a Sensitive and Selective Electrochemical Aptamer-based Ampicillin Sensor. Yu, Z.; Sulief, A. L.; Lai, R. Y. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 2018, 258, 722-729.
E-PB Sensor: Comparison of Mannose, Ethylene Glycol and Methoxy-terminated Diluents on Specificity and Selectivity of Electrochemical Peptide-based Sensors. Zaitouna, A. J.; Joyce, J.; Cerny, R. L.; Dussault, P. H.; Lai, R. Y. Anal. Chem. 2015, 87, 6966-6973.
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.
Lai Lab News and Updates
- Dr. Lai received the 2020 College Outstanding Research and Creative Activity (ORCA) Award!
- Dr. Lai’s “Harry Potter x Science” Education and Outreach Program is also featured on C&E news (Vol. 97, Issue 41).
- The “Harry Potter x Science” Project Spotlight is now on the NSF Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education’s website.
- Dr. Lai’s “Harry Potter x Science” podcast episodes with Alie Ward at Ologies are now available. Check out the podcast episodes here.
- Dr. Lai is featured on Nebraska Today – Faculty 101 podcast. Check out the video here.
- The Lai Lab’s metal ion sensor work is featured on the UNL Office of Research & Economic Development page.