Skip to main content


A Venn diagram of chemistry applications: synthetic polymers, sensors, nanomaterials.

Our research interest is to develop advanced polymers and nanomaterials for their applications in societal need areas including those in healthcare, environment and safety. Research in our laboratory encompasses at the interface between chemistry, biology and material science utilizing the principles of organic and polymer synthesis, chemical biology and nanotechnology. Current research focus on i) synthesis of organic polymers through rational and sustainable approaches, ii) development of nano-biosensors particularly for the detection of disease biomarkers, and iii) engineering smart nano-materials.

Synthetic Polymer Chemistry

  • Synthesis and controlled polymerization of monomers to prepare precise polymers
  • Chemical modification of commercial polymers for new functions
  • Chemical conjugation of polymers with bio-materials to prepare hybrid functional materials
A diagram of synthetic polymer chemistry

Optical Nanosensor Development

We develop nanosensors based on photoluminescent single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) –  tiny tools that are 50, 000 to 100,000 times thinner than a human hair. These sensors would detect specific disease biomarkers found in biofluids such as urine, sweat, saliva, tear and blood to facilitate disease diagnosis and monitoring therapies.

SWCNT-based sensors:

  • Exhibit stable fluorescence in the tissue transparent near-infrared region (900 nm to 1600 nm).
  • Change their fluorescence precisely upon interaction with target molecules.
  • Can be encapsulated in a variety of materials to tailor functional sensors.
  • Can be integrated into various form factors for portable, implantable and wearable sensors.
A diagram depicting carbon nanotubes and their polymer structure.

Advanced Nanomaterials

Materials at the nanoscale exhibit properties atypical to their constituent small molecules. Nanotechnology-based research has been employed to enhance the material functions in diverse areas such as biomedicine, textiles, cosmetics, agriculture, energy storage, specialty material etc. We are interested in developing functional nanomaterials for their applications in biomedical sciences and textiles research.

A diagram showing the building blocks of nanoparticles.