Materials and Catalytic Chemistry; Renewable Energy; Nanomedicine
Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ph.D. (1994); National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Northwestern University, 1994-1997; National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 1999 - 2004; Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, 2000 - 2002; DuPont Educational Aid Award, 2000; Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator Award, 2000 - 2002; Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award, 2000 - 2002; Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, 2001-2006; “Top Ten Chemist” Based on per Article Citations in 1999-2009; AAAS Fellow, 2011; UNC Kenan Distinguished Professorship, 2011; Member, NIH NANO Study Section, 2012-2016
The Lin group works on a variety of interdisciplinary research projects concerning sustainability and human health. Ongoing projects range from metal-organic frameworks, to renewable energy, to nanomedicine, and to catalysis. While addressing fundamental chemical problems, our research efforts are highly relevant to important societal issues, such as the environment and sustainability (catalysis and actinide sequestration); alternative renewable energy (solar fuels and biofuels); and human health (nanomedicine and metallopharmaceuticals). Below are brief descriptions of our ongoing research projects.
Our group pioneered the rational design of functional solids based on metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). We have designed a large number of MOFs and explored their applications in nonlinear optics, asymmetric catalysis, gas storage/separation, and solar energy utilization. Current efforts are particularly focused on using MOFs as single-site solid asymmetric catalysts, storage media for hydrogen and methane, and sensory materials; for gas separations and carbon dioxide capture; and for light-harvesting and photocatalysis.
Our research efforts in renewable energy target three different forms of alternative energy: solar, bio, and nuclear. We are currently exploring new concepts for achieving artificial photosynthesis by integrating different functional components into hierarchically ordered molecular solids. We have developed strong expertise in light harvesting, water oxidation, and proton reduction. Our biofuel research involves designing new catalytic systems for highly efficient conversion of cheap, non-edible feedstocks to biodiesel and for increasing the performance of biofuels. Finally, our contributions to nuclear energy focus on developing novel sorbents for efficient extraction of uranium from seawater. By extracting uranium from seawater, which contains 1000 times more uranium than all terrestrial ores, we can ensure the availability of affordable, carbon-neutral power for many generations to come.
We have been developing hybrid nanomaterials (including nanoscale metal-organic frameworks, silicas, polysilsequioxanes, and degradable polymers) for biomedical imaging and drug delivery. We exploit the unique capability of nanoparticles to disproportionally accumulate in diseased tissues via the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect or active targeting. These nanoparticles combine the attractive features of both inorganic and organic materials, making them promising platforms for translation to clinical use. Ongoing research efforts include designing nanoscale multimodal imaging contrast agents (magnetic resonance, computed tomography, and optical imaging) for early diagnosis of cancers and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as targeted delivery of potent drugs (including metallopharmaceuticals) for cancer therapy. Strong emphasis is placed on preclinical evaluations of these systems to enable their clinical translation.
Catalysis is another major effort in our lab, and one which cuts across many different research directions in the group. We are designing new highly enantioselective catalysts for a variety of organic transformations, and applying this expertise to solar and bio-energy generation. By taking advantage of our multidisciplinary expertise, we are not only discovering new homogeneous catalysts but also developing novel strategies for heterogenization of these relevant catalytic systems. To further improve these catalysts, we are interested in elucidating the mechanisms and fundamental issues concerning many of these interesting catalytic reactions.