Research Overview

Dr. Chenzhong Li’s Lab, also called the Nanobioengineering/Bioelectronics Lab, is located at the Motorola Nanofabrication Center of Advanced Materials Engineering Research Institute in FIU. The research of our group interfaces with biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, nanobiotechnology,  electrochemistry,  biochemistry,  nanomedicine, analytical chemistry, and materials science. The  research focuses of the lab  are on the integration Aof  cellular electronics, bio-nano conjugations, BioMEMS/NEMS, functional nanomaterial to  bioelectronic devices for whole cell analysis, cell manipulation  and for Point of Care Testings (POCTs). This work looks ahead to the next generation of biosensors and biofuel cell for POCTs, tele-medicine, clinical diagnosis and therapy, toxicity assay, environmental monitoring and homeland security.

  • Miniaturized Biosensors for Point of Care Testings   Biomarkers are increasingly recognized for their potential not only as biological harbingers that provide early warnings of disease but also biochemical monitors of patient responses to therapies. We are developing several biosensing platforms coupling micro/nano electrodes, microfluidic devices, SPR, paper based lateral flow strips and smart phone for the detection of biomarkers for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and DNA oxidative damage. The novel approaches for biomarker detection developed in my laboratory could be applied for the diagnosis of a wide variety of conditions, including cancers, cardiac disease, autoimmune diseases and acute events, such as stroke, cardiac ischemia, and head injury, as well as pathogen detection and toxin exposure assessments in a simple, rapid and sensitive manner.
  • Whole Cell Based Devices for Neuron Mapping, Cell Analysis and Manipulations The main focus of this research is on the development of whole cell based electronic biosensors for monitoring and modulating cellular behaviors at the level of one single cell or a group of cells. The sensors have also been modified and used for single cell measurements to study cellular physiology and to manipulate cell proliferation by controlling external electrical fields.   Advantages of the whole cell based sensing devices include throughput analysis and the capability of monitoring the kinetic effects of the electric field continuously over a desired timeframe, which may lead to a non invasive method for cancer therapy.
  • Surface Engineering and Micro/nanofabrication of Biosensing Substrates The ability to engineer functional biosensing substrates by controlling the nanostructure of the interface is a key issue for the development of highly sensitive and selective biosensors.  The objective of this research is to increase our fundamental understanding of the nanostructure of surfaces and devices and how these properties can be tuned to improve biosensor selectivity and sensitivity.
  • Environmental Sensors for Biological Toxins and Other Chemical Pollution Assay        This works focuses on the development of environmental biosensors for the detection of pathogenic bacteria cells, explosive compounds, radioactive and heavy metals, and pesticide and phosphate contaminations.    The biosensor systems are based on paper strips and the integration of  biofunctional magnetic nanoparticles, combining MEMS technology, immunochromatographic lateral flow strip tests, electrochemistry, and immunology towards rapid and high sensitive in- analysis of toxins in soil or in water system.
  • Development of Miniaturized Enzymatic Biofuel Cell The biofuel cell project concerns the development of implantable, miniature, long-lived power sources, which is primarily based on coupling the oxidation of glucose to the reduction of molecular oxygen to water. A major challenge facing the development of medical devices is in finding a semi-permanent power source for miniature systems implanted in the human body. Enzymatic biofuel cells provide some promise in this respect due to their self-supplementation of biofuel resources and biocatalysts, such as glucose, NADH, and hemoproteins, present in the human body.
  • Biosensors for Nanotoxicity Assay: Another research interest area at our lab is the sensing assessment of nanotoxicity and cytotoxicity which involves the reaction of cells to nanomaterials.  A nanotoxicity assay will be created by using an electrical cell-substrate impedance sensor (ECIS) to develop a biosensor system that measures the toxicological effects associated with exposure to nanomaterials. The main focus of this research is the development of a cellular and molecular-based electronic biosensor to evaluate nanotoxicity in real time by monitoring cellular impedances in vitro. The impact of nanoparticle interactions with the cells and the toxic effects of their size, chemical composition, shape, solubility and coatings will be investigated.

The Nanobioengineering and Bioelectronics Laboratory with its nanoelectronics, biosensors, and biofuel cell projects will lead to novel and powerful tools for the integration of nanotechnology with biology, advanced MEMS technology and electrochemistry.  This opens the possibility of developing these novel and powerful tools for the applications of fundamental biological research, homeland security, medical diagnostics and environmental protection.


You can find the  video of the group. 


Nanobioengineering& Bioelectronics LabTheranostics/Nanomedicine/Biosensors/Bioelectronics/