Welcome to the Xu Research Group @ Department of Chemistry, LSU
We are a group of Chemists who use Physical measurement techniques to study the behavior of Biomacromolecules.
Therefore, you can see that our research is highly interdisciplinary and sits among the three main subjects of chemistry, physics, and biology. Within the Department of Chemistry, we are a part of the Macromolecular Division, as we measure the interactions and the physicochemical properties of a wide range of macromolecules. Our research provides fundamental knowledge and guidelines for the rational design of macromolecules so that new materials can be synthesized or formulated to serve a specific purpose. At the moment, there are two major research projects in our group. One of the projects looks at the phase behavior of colloid/polymer systems (i.e., colloid-polymer interactions) so that they can be used as delivery systems for personal/home care products. The other project investigates the physical stability and viscosity of concentrated protein solutions (i.e., protein-protein interactions), such knowledge will greatly benefit the formulation development of biopharmaceutical products.
To this point, you might wonder what do these projects have in common except that they will benefit the formulation development of various products? Well, if you read more about each project from the Research page, you will know that the macromolecules are extremely crowded in both scenarios. For example, the concentration of protein solutions that we are interested in is greater than 100 mg/mL. Did I mention that we are a bunch of small-angle scattering enthusiasts? If not, you should also know that small-angle scattering is a powerful technique perfectly suited for characterizing the structures of macromolecules, even when they are extremely crowded in solution. Knowing the structural transition of macromolecules with changing external environments, we will be able to understand and predict their behaviors under various conditions.
Unlike NMR and MassSpec, small-angle scattering facilities are large, and most of them are situated in national labs. Lucky for us, we have a small angle X-ray scattering beamline at the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices (CAMD), right here at LSU. For small angle neutron scattering experiment, we will travel as a group to two national facilities: the NIST Center for Neutron Research in Gaithersburg, Maryland; and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Knoxville, Tennessee. If possible, we might even travel to other continents for neutron experiments (ANSTO in Australia, ILL in France, and ESS in Sweden).
If you are interested in learning more about the projects, please feel free to contact me.