Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
Delaware State University, USA
Cheng-Yu Lai was born in Taipei, Taiwan. His interest in science led him toward a career in chemistry. Upon graduating Summa cum Laude from National Chung-Hsing University, Taiwan with B.S. and M.Sc. degrees in chemistry, he started his doctoral studies in the United States, in the Chemistry Department at Iowa State University. His research focus was on mesoporous silica nanospheres (MSN) applied in catalysis, sensing and drugdelivery. Upon receiving his Ph.D. in 2004, Dr. Lai continued his professional preparation as a postdoctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute, where he investigated the potential of “vaults”, naturally-occurring nanostructures, for drug-delivery. After finalizing his postdoctoral studies in 2007, Dr. Lai spent five years as a senior scientist at DuPont CR&D before accepting an Associate Professor position in the Department of Chemistry at
Delaware State University in 2012. His current focus is on nanomaterials for renewable energy and biomedical applications.
Dr. Lai’s current research interests are centered on synthetic porous hybrid organicinorganic materials and on bio-renewably sourced materials for applications in catalysis and
biotechnology. Specifically, our research directions are highlighted below.
(a). Our interest in catalysts goes mano-a-mano with applications in renewable energy research and is focused on generating smart catalysts that combine large surface area of
porous materials with selective arrangement of catalytic groups, to efficiently convert biomass to both biofuels and highly demanded chemicals. Recently, we are interested to
translate our findings to using nano-fibrils derived from bio-sourced cellulose as catalyst support.
(b). We are studying different synthetic pathways to inverse opals, based on silica and titania, utilizing moderate-temperature, energy-efficient fabrication processes which make
inverse silica or titania opals attractive systems for sensing applications.
(c) We are investigating the ability of porous materials to function as multi-drug delivery carriers that eliminate both cancer and cancer stem cells through a multifunctional carrier
strategy; the carrier contains imaging features for tumor (and carrier) accurate localization.