Current Members

 

Title
Education Background
Research Interests
Associate Professor of Chemistry

Rebecca Y. Lai

B.S. California State University, Los Angeles
Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin

Postdoctoral Training at University of California, Santa Barbara

Our research program focuses on both fundamental and applied aspects of biosensor research. The main objective of our research is the design and fabrication of folding- and dynamics-based electrochemical biosensors. We aim at developing portable real-time biosensors for environmental monitoring and point-of-care diagnostics. Our sensing strategy is to link target-induced change in the conformation and/or flexibility of the biorecognition elements (e.g., peptides, nucleic acids) to a robust, electrochemical signaling mechanism. These sensors are reagentless, reusable, and insensitive to non-specific interactions of contaminants, enabling them to be employed directly in realistically complex media such as blood, urine, soil extracts, and a wide range of food matrices. We also develop hybrid analytical techniques, including electrochemical-surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy, electrochemical-surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, and fluorescence microscopy-scanning electrochemical microscopy, for characterization of this class of biosensors.
Graduate Student

Kayleigh McElveen
B.S. Truman State University

Kayleigh graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from Truman State University in Kirksville, MO in 2017. She joined the Lai Lab in Oct 2017, and her research focus is on the fabrication and characterization of spin-crossover thin films. She reads, cross-stitches, and watches Netflix in her free time.

Graduate Student Cody Shultz
B.S. Truman State University
Cody graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from Truman State University in Kirksville, MO in 2017. He joined the Lai Lab in Oct 2017, and his research focus is on the design and fabrication of electrochemical peptide- and protein-based sensors.  In his free time, he likes to play video games, cross stitch, and listen to music.
Graduate Student

Md Shirajur Rahman
B.S.  and M.S. University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Md Shirajur Rahman completed his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Department of Applied Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He joined the Lai Lab in April 2021. His research encompasses the design and fabrication of electrochemical peptide-based biosensors for detection of metal ions. He likes to spend time with his family and hanging around with his friends in his free time. He likes to play basketball, volleyball, cricket, etc. Moreover, he loves motorbikes.

Graduate Student

Madhuka M. Liyanage
B.S.  and M.S. University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

 

Madhuka graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biotechnology, and a M.S. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, in 2015 and 2018, respectively. She joined the Lai Lab in August 2021, and her research focuses on the design and fabrication of electrochemical peptide-based sensors for the detection of a wide range of targets, including metal ions, proteins, and bacterial cells. She enjoys reading, cooking, and watching movies during her leisure time.