Hua-Zhong (Hogan) Yu

Professor, Joint Affiliations with 4D Labs and Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry


  • B. Sc. & M.Sc. - Shandong University
  • Ph. D. - Peking University (Beijing)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow - California Institute of Technology
  • Postdoctoral Fellow - NRC Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences


Bioanalytical Chemistry and Physical Chemistry

The research work conducted in my group at Simon Fraser University spans a broad range of analytical, physical, and materials chemistry. In particular, we are interested in surface modification with self-assembled monolayers, fabrication/characterization of nanostructured materials, and development of biosensing devices. Active projects include:

DNA surface chemistry and aptamer-based electronic biosensors. A thorough understanding of DNA surface chemistry is critical to the fabrication of DNA microarrays for high-throughput gene analysis and of aptamer (nucleic acid receptor)-based biosensors for ultrasensitive protein detection. We have developed an electrochemical method that is simple and versatile for quantifying DNA-modified surfaces, which also allowed detailed investigations of cation / DNA interactions on surface. We have been exploring chip-based methodologies for measuring the electrochemical signals induced in “deoxyribosensors” (rationally designed DNA conformational switches using aptamer sequences) upon analyte binding. These synthetic DNA-based biosensors have considerable commercial potential as replacement of animal-produced antibody probes for near-patient clinical testing.

Disc-based bioanalytical and materials chemistry. We previously invented a method for using compact discs (CD) as inexpensive, high-quality gold substrates suitable for the preparation of self-assembled monolayers and fabrication of electrode microarrays. We also developed an efficient protocol to activate the plastic CD base as biochip substrate (e.g., microfluidic DNA microarrays), which leads to the success of reading disc-based bioassays with standard optical drives of ordinary laptop/desktop computers. In addition, our demonstration of “templated” electrodeposition of inorganic oxide thin films on micropatterned CD-R substrates is a prime example of innovation in research that has significant potential for practical applications.

Molecular modification of semiconductors and electrical characterization. Our method of silicon surface modification with Si-C bonded monolayers and the systematic characterization by various analytical techniques has won us a leading position in this rapidly developing field. In particular, we took an important step of directly measuring the electrical properties of organic monolayers on silicon with a non-invasive Hg electrode, and observed molecular rectification behaviors.This work represents a new route toward functional nanoscale electronic devices. Since silicon as electrode material is compatible with existing microelectronic technologies, DNA biosensors may be fabricated in the same manner as computer chips in the future.


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