Home ยป News

Wei Group News

For the most recent group-related updates, follow us on Twitter! WeiGroup@Purdue

12/2022  4th and final PhD defense of the year!  Qi Wang (PhD #32) demonstrates the catalytic power of Ag‒Fe3O4 catalysts for C(sp2)‒H heteroarylation.

11/2022  Excited to welcome our newest group member, Brooke Steeno!  She is an Organic student in Chemistry and will be working on pyridylthiazoles for biochemical imaging.

10/2022 A month capped at both ends by successful PhD defenses!  Dr. Aiga Yermembetova vaults over the threshold with her findings on radiation-tolerant thin-film sensors; Dr. Ben Washer does the same with the stimuli-dependent rigidochromism of Cu(I)‒pyrazolate tetramers.

8/2022  Big welcome to Jordan Harriman!  She joins us through Purdue's MSE program and will be working on the scalable manufacturing of radiation-tolerant ion-selective electrodes.

8/2022  Bingyuan is selected as an intern by Honda Research Institute in Almaden, CA to participate in sensor manufacturing R&D.

7/2022  Wei Research Group gratefully acknowledges NSF for funding our newest project, "Rigidochromism of polynuclear metal‒azole macrocycles and networks."

6/2022  Our JACS paper is out! Yuichiro produced some beautiful cover art to match.

 Copper(I)‒Pyrazolate Complexes as Solid-State Phosphors: Deep-Blue Emission via a Remote Steric Effect

6/2022  Congratulations to PhD #29, Dr. Ramazan Oduncu! He succeeded in developing a greener process for spray-coating exfoliated graphene nanoplatelets.  After a long-delayed visit to his family in Turkey, Ramazan will start his new R&D position at Intel Corp.'s Hillsboro campus in Oregon.


5/2022  Big welcome to RJ Nicholas and Nosa Idahagbon! They will be taking over the cellulose nanofiber project from recent graduates Jake Wilkinson and Sally Feng, who will be moving on to a job at Marathon and grad. school at UC Santa Barbara, respectively.

5/2022  Badhu is selected as an intern by Sartorius Stedim N.A. to work on drug delivery research in their Boston Smartlabs facility.

1/2022  Alex goes on sabbatical at UCLA in the laboratories of Prof. Paul Weiss.

1/2022  Yuichiro Watanabe returns to Japan as an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Polymer Chemistry at Kyoto University. Best of luck Prof. Watanabe, we know you will go on to do great things!

12/2021  Congrats to Bingyuan for passing her MSE prelim defense!

11/2021 We welcome Prof. Yiwen Li, a visiting scholar from Hubei Univ. in China.

10/2021  Happy to welcome back Qingshan Wei (Asst. Prof. of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State and former Wei group alum) for an Analytical Chemistry Seminar!  Qingshan spoke about sensors for plant health based on cell-phone optics.


8/2021  A warm welcome to Noelia Zambrano, a senior from Univ. Santiago de Cali in Colombia! Noelia is supported by a 7-month Nexo Global scholarship through the Colombia Purdue Partnership to work on hemin conjugates and dithiocarbamates.

5/2021  We are excited to launch the SMARTWATCH project, a joint effort with Aptima, Inc., Sentinel Occupational Safety, and the Myung and Bohn labs at Notre Dame.

4/2021  Congratulations to Yurichiro Watanabe for winning Purdue's Outstanding Postdoctoral Mentor Award!!  Wei group members unanimously agree that your recognition is richly deserved!

Yuichiro Postdoc mentor award

1/2021  Several new students joined our research group this year:  Sebastian Calderon and Jake Wilkinson from Chemistry, and Bingyuan Zhao from MSE. Sebastian is working on solid polyelectrolyte composites for Li-ion battery applications, Jake is developing new chemistries for modifying cellulose nanofibers, and Bingyuan has joined our low-cost sensor team. We also welcome Syeda Aqsa Bukhari as a visiting scholar from NUST (Islamabad, Pakistan), who is investigating exfoliated graphene as substrates for electrochemical sensors.

2020   ... COVID-induced hiatus, the year when no news is good news... well, almost. Alex receives Purdue's Presidential Safety award for taking his job seriously as Departmental Safety Chair.

7/2019  Alex thanks NIH for the opportunity to create a new training program with Mingji Dai, in affiliation with the Purdue Institute of Drug Discovery.

6/2019  Congratulations to Drs. Lu Lin and Miran Mavlan on their successful defenses! We deeply appreciate their contributions toward antimicrobial photodynamic therapy and nano-cellulose chemistry.

2019 PhDs 

5/2019 Zach Hernandez (B.S.) graduates in style. Congratulations!

10/2018 We are proudly welcome our three newest group members: Khomid. Kholikov, Badhu Sivasubramanian, and Qi Wang! Khomid and Badhu will continue our studies on hemin acquisition pathways for targeted antimicrobial photodynamic therapies, while Qi will explore new ideas in electrochemistry using magnetic gold and silver nanoparticles.

9/2018 Yuichiro Watanabe returns to the Wei group, this time as a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow! He will be spearheading our newest project, the development of a continuous-flow reactor for organic reactions in externally applied fields. Welcome back, Dr. Watanabe!

8/2018 Wei Group has moved out of WTHR 413 (now undergoing renovations). The WTHR 430/440 complex has become the center of our research universe, however the amount of time spent in Birck is increasing...

7/2018 It was a pleasure to host Ravi Khatri, a visiting student from IIT Madras. Ravi worked with Aiga on designing a mixer for our gas sensor projects.

5/2018 Congratulations to Dr. Ana Morales and Wanna Sungnoi (B.S.) on their degrees! Ana is now a research chemist at Kemin, and Wanna has started her graduate studies at the Univ. of Missouri.

2/2018 Wei research group makes a big shift in direction: We have become heavily involved in the design and manufacturing of low-cost sensors, with projects supported by new group members Ramazan Oduncu (MSE), Benjamin Washer (Chemistry), and Aiga Yermembetova (MSE). Welcome also to undergrad Abbey Gohmann, who is working with Ana and Zach on GaPpIX conjugates.

1/2018 We enjoyed spending the holiday seasons with Juan Pablo Gallo Ramirez, a visiting graduate student from Univ. Antioquia (Medellin, Colombia). Juan explored new ways to turn scrap gold into nanoparticles.

8/2017 Welcome to Dr. Xiuying (Sue) Liu, a visiting scholar from the College of Chemistry at Bohai University, in China. Sue is working with Taehoo on aptamer-functionalized Ag nanoparticles, for the detection of cortisol.

7/2017 It was a pleasure to host Maria Mercado, a visiting student from Univ. Puerto Rico-Mayaguez. She worked on antimicrobial photodynamic therapy with Ana Morales.

5/2017 Congratulations to Ericka Kistler (M.S.) and Yan Yu (B.S.) on graduation! Ericka has accepted a job as primary chemistry lecturer at Kettering College Medical Center; Yan will begin graduate student life in the Chemistry Dept. at Cornell Univ.

5/2017 Welcome to Praneeth Ramesh, a visiting student from IIT Madras in India, and Taruna Jagtiani (Medical Lab. Sci.). Both are working on the design of gas sensors.

1/2017 Qingshan Wei is now an Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University, Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

12/2016 Congratulations to Dr. Nigam Arora! He succeeded in convincing his thesis committee that ligand-directed bacterial adhesion can be detected in 30 seconds or less.

10/2016 Welcome to Tae Hoo Chang, a graduate student from Materials Science and Engineering, and to Wanna Sungnoi, a junior in Chemistry. Tae Hoo will be developing chemical sensors in collaboration with Profs. Lia Stanciu and Chongli Yuan; Wanna is synthesizing custom dyes with Ericka.

8/2016 Hari Khatri is a postdoctoral research associate at the Univ. of Mississippi, working with our former colleague David Colby.

7/2016 Matt Casselman has joined UC Riverside's Dept. of Chemistry as an Asst. Teaching Professor. He even has his own website!

7/2016 We welcome Chuanzhou (Joey) Zhu, a visiting student from Nankai Univ. in China. Joey has taken a leading role in our roll-to-roll production of graphene-based sensors.

6/2016 More new group members to replace our recent graduates! A big welcome to Yuichiro Watanabe, a visiting student from Yamagata Univ., Japan, and undergrads Yan Yu and Shijie (Jay) Yuan. Yuichiro is developing novel methodcs of continuous-flow synthesis, while Yan and Shijie are synthesizing molecules to support our sensor projects.

6/2016 Naveen is a postdoctoral research associate in Materials Science and Engineering at Purdue, in the Sandhage lab.

5/2016 Congratulations to all our May graduates: Drs. Naveen Kadasala and Hari Khatri, and Sam Eleff, Maria Khlebnikova, and John Sides! Sam will be working for an engineering firm in Houston; John is programming computer software for a company in Indianapolis.

4/2016 Ericka and Sydney talk nanoparticles with young visitors at our NanoDays booth at the Birck Nanotech. Center:


12/2015 Congratulations to our recent graduates, Dr. Thora Maltais and Rong Duan (B.S.)! And a nice break in the weather for a December commencement.


11/2015 Giving thanks to all Wei group members for their hard work and dedication! Students get to stuff themselves and relax while the boss is put to work. For more merriment, click here.

Thanksgiving dinner


11/2015 Welcome to Dr. Kei Kondo, a JSPS Fellow from the Yoshizawa group at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, who is exploring some ideas for nano-encapsulataion.

10/2015 Wei group goes through a growth spurt-- joining the team are graduate students Erick Kistler, Miran Mavlan, and Matt Hewitt, and undergraduates Sydney McKown and David Wu. Welcome, everybody!

5/2015 We welcome Lu Lin from the PULSe program, who is investigating the effects of modified serum proteins on nanoparticle delivery.

5/2015 Brendan Law was awarded a summer undergraduate research fellowship from the Purdue Center for Cancer Research. Congratulations!

5/2015 Best of luck to Chenyi Mao (B.S.), who will continue his graduate studies in Chemistry at the Univ. of Washington (Seattle).

4/2015 Rong Duan makes the Dean's List, and earns a Jacobs Scholarship. Good job, Rong!

10/2014 Runhui Liu begins his tenure-track faculty position at East China Univ. of Science and Technology (ECUST) in Shanghai.

10/2014 Alex serves as guest editor (with Yasunari Zempo, Hosei Univ.) for a special focus issue on Organic Electronics in Science and Technology of Advanced Materials. It's open access, check it out!

9/2014 Prof. Marta Elena Londono from Escuela de Ingenieria de Antioquia (EIA), in Colombia, is spending her sabbatical with us to work on functionalized magnetic nanoparticles.

9/2014 We were awarded our second NSF grant on Scalable Nano-Manufacturing, in collaboration with Jeff YoungbloodPablo Zavattieri, and George Chiu, to develop scalable and sustainable methods of producing modified cellulose nanocrystals for thermoforming applications.

8/2014 Jon Mehtala is an Applications Specialist for Malvern Instruments, in Westborough, MA.

8/2014 Congratulations to our most recent PhDs, Drs. Andrew Evans and Oscar Morales! Andrew has started his position as an instructor in chemistry at Bethel University, in Tennessee.

6/2014 Chenyi Mao was awarded a summer undergraduate research fellowship from the Purdue Center for Cancer Research.

5/2014 Best of luck to Kaleb Mathieu (B.S.) and Anh Nguyen (M.S.), who will continue their Ph.D. studies at Ohio State Univ. and Univ. Arkansas, respectively.

3/2014 Jon's paper describing the synergistic effects of gold nanorod heating and cisplatin in an ovarian cancer model was selected as Research Article of the Month by Nanomedicine:

GNR cisplatin synergy

12/2013 Congratulations to Dr. Jon Mehtala and Dr. Matt Casselman! Matt is now a postdoctoral research associate at the Univ. of Kentucky.

7/2013 Prof. Yang Liu from Jilin Normal University in China is spending his sabbatical with us to work on magnetic nanoparticles.

7/2013 Best of luck to Jordan Bruce, who starts his M.D. program in Wisconsin this Fall!

4/2013 Congratulation to Kaleb and Siyuan on their Fesenmeyer and John Leighty Scholarships!

3/2013 Maria Khlebnikova was awarded a summer undergraduate research fellowship from the Purdue Center for Cancer Research.

1/2013 Alex joins the Editorial Advisory Board for Langmuir.

12/2012 Alex serves as guest editor for the Journal of Controlled Release (special issue on current challenges in drug delivery):

Journal of controlled release cover

7/2012 Wei group members survive a night in the woods with a giant raccoon, and each other:


5/2012 Two students from the PULSe program have joined our group, Nigam Arora and Jianxin (Jason) Wang. Welcome!

5/2012 Congratulations to Zhao Tang, B.S. 2012 with honors! Zhao will commence his graduate studies in Chemical Engineering this fall at Rice University, in Texas.

Zhao grad

4/2012 Pa Padungros starts his tenure-track position at Chulalongkorn Univ. in Bangkok, Thailand, while Hyon-min Song makes the commute between UCLA and KAUST in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Wei group goes international!

4/2012 Alexei Leonov is now a senior chemist at Cabot Microelectronics, in Chicago.

2/2012 We welcome Prof. Alvaro Duarte Ruiz, on sabbatical from the Univ. Nacional de Colombia in Bogota.

1/2012 Laura and Qingshan have begun their postdoctoral research positions at Johns Hopkins University and UCLA, respectively.

12/2011 Congratulations to Dr. Qingshan Wei and Dr. Panuwat Padungros on their Ph.D. defenses!

10/2011 Three graduate students have joined the group: Thora Maltais, Priya Murria, and Anh Nguyen. Welcome!

10/2011 Our article on self-assembled magnetic nanoparticle rings is featured on the cover of Journal of Materials Chemistry:

Journal of Materials Chemistry

9/2011 The Wei group welcomes Andrew Evans, who will continue our magnetic nanoparticle research.

8/2011 Kulbhushan Durugkar is a lead chemist at Dow Chemicals in Pune, India.

7/2011 Best wishes to Julie Conlon, who is managing director of clinical labs at Unity Healthcare (Lafayette, IN).

7/2011 Congratulations to Dr. David Lyvers and Dr. Laura Alberch on their succcessful Ph.D. defenses! David starts his position at the Birck Nanotechnology Center in August.

6/2011 Our article on the magnetomotive imaging of gold nanostars is featured in the ACS Nano Virtual Issue on Plasmonics:

Magnetomotive image

5/2011 Zhao is awarded a summer undergraduate research fellowship from the Purdue Center for Cancer Research.

4/2011 Qingshan is awarded a Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship.

3/2011 Hyon-min successfully defends his Ph.D. thesis. Congratulations, Dr. Song!

2/2011 Hyon-min's paper on nanostars for lymphangiography by photoacoustic tomography is featured as a Hot Article in J. Mater. Chem.:


2/2011 Quy's article on exchange bias in magnetic core-shell nanoparticles is featured in this month's issue of Argonne's Center for Nanoscale Materials Newsletter:

Echange bias

1/2011 Qingshan's Concept article on dynamic contrast (Chem.- Eur. J.) is featured on Wiley's Hot Topics website (magnetic materials):

Dynamic contrast

11/2010 Yan Zhao has a position at the Institute for Metals Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Shenyang, China).

11/2010 Three new members have joined our research group: Hari Khatri, Naveen Kadasala, and Dr. Mini Thomas. Welcome!

10/2010 Congratulations to Dr. Jie Liu on her successful thesis defense! Jie is conducting postdoctoral research in art conservation, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art!

9/2010 We welcome Dr. Zhenguo Chen, from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

7/2010 Congratulations to PhD graduate, Dr. Quy Ong! Quy leaves at the end of month to start his postdoctoral research at MIT and the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EFPL), in Switzerland.

9/2009 Our group is awarded a $1 million NIH Research Challenge Grant (RC1) to study tumor growth dynamics using multifunctional nanoparticles, in collaboration with the Boppart group at the University of Illinois. Of more than 20,000 proposals, fewer than 4% were selected to receive a Research Challenge grant.

7/2009 Our paper on gyromagnetic imaging is featured on the cover of JACS. Click here to experience the podcast!

Journal of the American Chemical Society

Read the related news release for more details.