Current Members

Education Background
Research Interests
Lai 2

Rebecca Y. Lai
Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of Chemistry

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

Postdoctoral Training 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 such as electrochemical-surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy, electrochemical-surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, and fluorescence microscopy-scanning electrochemical microscopy for characterization of this class of biosensors.
shuangzhaoVisiting Professor

Shuang Zhao
Associate Professor Northeastern University, China

B.S. Jilin University
Ph.D. Jilin University

Prof. Zhao received her B.S degree from Jilin University, China in 2001. She later received her Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from Prof. Changqing Sun’s group at Jilin University in 2006. She joined the Department of Chemistry at Northeastern University in July 2006. Prof. Zhao visited the Lai Lab as a CSC scholar in 2009 and she is now back to the Lai Lab for another year on CSC scholarship. Her research focus is on electroanalytical chemistry.
image_Channing2Graduate Student

Channing C. Thompson
B.S. South Dakota School of Miles and Technology

Channing graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 2010. She joined the Lai Lab in August 2014, and her research focuses on the development of peptide-based biosensors. She received the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2016. She is also featured on the UNL Department of Chemistry website. In her spare time she enjoys, reading, dancing, and being outdoors.

PictureGraduate Student

Kenneth N. Hipp
B.S. Catawba College

Kenneth graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC in 2015. He joined the Lai Lab in July 2015, and his research focus is on the design and fabrication of electrochemical and optoelectrochemical biosensors. His research also encompasses the development of biosensors using new bioconjugate chemistry. In his free time, he enjoys fishing, reading, and listening to music.

Kayleight picture website 010418Graduate 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.

Cody picture website 010418Graduate Student

Cody Schultz
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.