Analytical ToolmakerS for Human Health


The Fu lab overlaps three disciplines: electrochemistry, nanoscience, and synthetic biology. Several emerging and exciting topics derived from these fields surge upon instrumentation advancement, cutting-edge nanotechnology, and commercial biomedical devices over the past decade. Recently, our research particularly interested in 1) nanoscale electrochemistry, which paves the way to the development of ultrasensitive analytical platforms reaching a single-entity detection level; 2) electrochemical biosensors for point-of-care diagnostics and chronic disease management; and 3) nanobiotechnology, e.g., DNA nanotechnology and direction evolution of nucleic acids, aiming to manipulate the molecular recognition with unprecedented precision and efficiency.

Recent Publication Highlights

In situ drug detection inside tumor

The efficacy and safety of a chemotherapy regimen fundamentally depend on its pharmacokinetics. This is currently measured based on blood samples, but the abnormal vasculature and physiological heterogeneity of the tumor microenvironment can produce radically different drug pharmacokinetics relative to the systemic circulation. We have developed an implantable microelectrode array sensor that can collect such tissue-based pharmacokinetic data by simultaneously measuring intratumoral pharmacokinetics from multiple sites. We demonstrate continuous in vivo monitoring of concentrations of the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin at multiple tumor sites in a rodent model. This platform could prove valuable for preclinical in vivo characterization of cancer therapeutics and may offer a foundation for future clinical applications.

Science Advances (2022)

Nanoelectrode-enhanced biosensor

Electrochemical biosensors hold the exciting potential to integrate molecular detection with signal processing and wireless communication in a miniaturized, low-cost system. Studies have reported that nanostructured electrodes can greatly improve electrochemical biosensor sensitivity, but the underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. In this work, we propose and experimentally validate a novel mechanism in which electron transfer is physically accelerated within nanostructured electrodes due to reduced charge screening, resulting in enhanced sensitivity. This accelerated electron transfer mechanism should prove broadly applicable for improving the performance of electrochemical biosensors.

Advanced Science (2021)

Single entity nanoelectrochemistry

Electrochemical measurements conducted in confined volumes provide a powerful and direct means to address scientific questions at the nexus of nanoscience, biotechnology, and chemical analysis. We address these questions by studying a special type of confined-volume architecture, the nanopore electrode array (NEA), which offers performance characteristics not available in larger-scale structures. More details can be found in the Account.

Accounts of Chemical Research (2020)

Electrophotonic diagnostic device

Detecting and identifying infectious agents and potential pathogens in complex environments and characterizing their mode of action is a critical need. Traditional diagnostics have targeted a single characteristic (e.g., spectral response, surface receptor, mass, intrinsic conductivity, etc.). However, advances in detection technologies have identified emerging approaches in which multiple modes of action are combined to obtain enhanced performance characteristics. Particularly appealing in this regard, electrophotonic devices capable of coupling light to electron translocation have experienced rapid recent growth and offer significant advantages for diagnostics. Take a look at our recent book chapter for more details.

Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine (2019)

Mailing Address

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Room122, McCourtney Hall, 54417 Leahy Dr.

Notre Dame, IN, 46556


The Fu lab is actively seeking creative, dedicated, and enthusiastic postdocs, graduates and undergraduates!

Prospective researchers should have a strong interest in electrochemistry, nanotechnology, biosensor, polymer science and instrumentation. Feel free to reach Kaiyu by kfu {at} nd {dot} edu.