Associate Professor, School of Chemistry, Sun Yat-sen University, China
Challenges? My current research focuses on the design of porous organic-framework-confined enzymatic cascades for biosensing. In short, the cascading enzymes are organized within a well-designed MOF, COF, and HOF (metal-, covalent-, and hydrogen-organic framework) scaffolds, enabling the biosensing of the target biomarker via tandem biocatalysis. These porous and structurally explicit scaffolds can not only stabilize enzymes, but also ensure the efficiency of mass transfer. I think the biggest challenge facing this field is controlling the spatial distribution of multi-enzymes within a scaffold. If this challenge is addressed, I believe that it may offer new ways to mimic intracellular biocascades, enabling much higher efficiency and selectivity for next-generation biosensors.
Predictions? I envision that this enzymatic cascading scaffold will be found in devices in the next 5–10 years, serving as a portable biosensor for the point-of-care detection of disease-associated biomarkers. I believe this research direction is highly desirable in personalized medicine and continuous monitoring epidemics.
Secret to success? I think enthusiasm and patience have been the most important elements in the early part of my career: enthusiasm can stimulate a constant thirst for new knowledge and push me to explore the unknown research areas, whereas patience is essential to overcome the continuous barriers in the research journey.