At the Yan lab, we seek to develop and apply novel mass spectrometric methodologies in disease diagnosis, reaction monitoring, and development of new synthetic methods. In particular, we are motivated by the possibility of enabling new technology for next-generation approaches to precision medicine, and sustainable synthesis.
Our research interests span a range of topics, including i) metabolomics in brain research: we couple dual imaging modality (mass spectrometry imaging and fluorescence imaging) with liquid chromatography mass spectrometry to discover biomarkers and elucidate their biological mechanism in brain aging and brain cancer research. ii) point-of-care diagnostics: we are interested in the development of ambient ionization for fast analysis of enzymatic biomarkers, as well as the design and development of the interface to mini-mass spectrometer (mini-MS) for point-of-care diagnosis. iii) microdroplet reaction: mass spectrometry is universally considered as an analytical tool, however, its new feature was discovered: its use as a unique tool in synthesis. The uniqueness represents in its capabilities of dramatical acceleration of organic reactions and the driving of reactions that cannot occur in bulk. We aim to develop microdroplet reactors for acceleration, explore new reactivity, and study fundamentals of microdroplet acceleration. iv) reaction mechanistic study: reaction mechanisms play an essential role in the study of organic chemistry. We aim to develop new online mass spectrometric reaction monitoring system to explore unknown reaction mechanism, capture short-lived intermediates, study kinetics of fast reactions, and control process of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) synthesis. The central theme of all the topics above is about droplet chemistry.
This lab is a highly interdisciplinary research group. It provides students the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience in analytical, biological and synthetic chemistry.