Research Interests: Analytical Chemistry of Nucleic Acids and Biomarkers

One of the limiting factors for studying any biological system is how well and/or how fast the system can be monitored. The current research activities in the Chiu group focus on the development of analytical methods for addressing the challenges on measuring the variation in our nucleic acids (DNA or RNA) and other cellular biomarkers that are relating to our health.

For samples with limited complexity, the direct measurement of samples can save time and reduce the costs on reagents. For samples with higher complexity, in order to reduce the sample complexity, specific molecular probes as well as the activity of some unique enzymes have often been used as part of our developed methods. For the end point measurements in our developed methods, the use of different analytical techniques has been explored, which include fluorescence spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, etc.

To improve our data analysis, we have also explored the use of different statistical methods.

Highlights of Dr. Chiu’s and his group achievements include:

  1. First expressible enzyme-coding DNA reporting label for immunoassays;
  2. Tandem mass spectroscopic measurements of DNA adducts using high CID energy;
  3. Generation of unique mass signatures for microRNA analysis;
  4. Commercialized assay for identifying bacterial cell cultures using MALDI-TOF MS;
  5. Universal screening tool of cytotoxicity studies/risk assessment.

The ongoing research projects in Dr. Chiu’s group include:

  • Mass spectrometric epitranscriptomic study with Prof. B. Tannous at Harvard Medical School
  • Ion mobility mass spectrometry of isomeric biomarkers
  • Characterization and cytotoxicity of carbon nanodots with Profs. Z. Jia  and J. Wei at UNCG
  • High throughput tool for screening cytotoxicity with Profs. Z. Jia and N. Oberlies at UNCG
  • Biomarkers for evaluating psychological stress in various sub-populations

The above projects have been partially supported by NIH and UNCG.

Our current and recent research projects can be divided into two groups: Method development, and Biological/Clinical Studies. See the Research Tab above for more details.