Laboratory for Materials in Medicine Pan Research Group at Illinois
Bioengineering at Illinois Engineering for Life University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



Although our major focus is to solve complex biological issues, we also deeply care about nature’s sustainability issues. We are excited to apply bioengineering, materials science, and analytical tools to help solve prevalent issues affecting the Earth’s environment. In one such recent example, in response to this ecological threat, our team has developed a highly efficient, environmentally friendly, bio-digestible, and commercially amenable powder dispersant. This tiny, nanometer-sized agent is uniquely “dual functioning” — for simultaneous collection and removal of crude oil and petroleum distillates with remarkable efficiency. More importantly, this agent does not leave any residual footprint because it is degraded in the environment and in living systems — and any incidental biological uptake is not harmful to living organisms. Emerging chemical contaminants such as pharmaceutical residues in water resources continue to threaten the homeostasis of our ecosystem. We have developed a ‘smart-filter’ comprising tunable, biodegradable, and commercially amenable pharmaceutical-nano-carbon-scavengers (PNCSs) based on carbon dots to efficiently and safely remediate pharmaceutical residues. Our ongoing enquiries are focused on developing DNA-cleaving agents for remediation of hazardous hospital waste.

Key recent publications

  1. Mater. Chem. A, 6, 22951-22957 (2018)
  2. Scientific Reports 7, 41880 (2017)
  3. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 9, 13, 11528 (2017)
  4. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 9, 21147–21154 (2017)
  5. Chem Commun. 52:7513, (2016).