Welcome to Mao Group

Research Interests

Biochemical nanotechnology:

Fabrication of desired nanostructures is the key for nanotechnology. It promises great potential for technological applications and a necessary platform for the basic nanoscience. Currently there is no general method for parallel fabrication of structures with feature sizes of 5-100 nm. To meet this challenge, we will use self-assembled DNA structures as templates and use soft lithography as the primary tool to develop novel nanofabrication methods, such as the general fabrication of nanowire networks.

Higher ordered DNA structure:

How is DNA duplex organized in cell? Our understanding of this issue is far from complete. There are at least three features about DNA organization:

  1. DNA is highly condensed to allow long linear DNA molecules to reside in a very tiny space, the nucleus.
  2. DNA adopts dynamic structure to facilitate DNA replication, RNA transcription, etc.
  3. DNA is highly ordered to avoid random tangling between DNA molecules.

To address this problem, we will fabricate nano/microstructured systems to mimic the nuclear environment of the cell and develop experimental and theoretical methods for structural analysis.

DNA nanotechnology applied in biosystem:

DNA nanostructures with functionalized group can be applied to many interactions in biosystem. The specific organized multicovalent functional molecules were investigated to bind to the cancer cell for delivery.

Major techniques in our group include:

DNA/RNA manipulation (gel electrophoresis, labeling, hybridization, PCR and footprinting), soft lithography, atomic force microscopy (AFM), electron microscopy (EM), cryogenic electron microscopy (cryoEM), fluorescence spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, microfluidics, cell culture, and chemical synthesis.