Biochemist Kaiyu Fu brings multidisiplinary approach to research

Author: Caroline Crawford

One of the aspects that drew Kaiyu Fu (’18 Ph.D.) assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, to the University of Notre Dame as a chemistry doctoral student is the beauty and environment of the campus. 

Kaiyu Fu

Now that he has returned as a faculty member after completing doctoral research at Stanford University, he appreciates how he “can always find a pathway to relax” and combat his stress with a walk in nature. In his free time, he also enjoys taking photographs of the beautiful scenery around campus.

Besides the campus environment, however, working with undergraduate and graduate students is one area that he is particularly excited about. He appreciates the emphasis that Notre Dame places on teaching and believes that the instruction he received at Notre Dame had a profound influence on him as a graduate student. He looks forward to making a similar impact on his students.

Photograph Taken by Kaiyu Fu

“It is a privilege to teach the next generation,” he said.

In addition to teaching, Fu is passionate about his research. He is developing real-time biosensors that can track biomarkers, or signs of disease, within the body. One device he has designed is versatile and can be applied to various kinds of biomolecular detection. He believes that it will eventually be possible for his technology to be implanted into any solid organs or tissues. 

One example of a way in which Fu envisions his work being used is in early detection, monitoring, and medical strategizing for patients with neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. His device could be implanted directly into the brain to measure the chemical releases from neurons. He hopes that his device can be used in different modalities in addition to neurological detection and hopes to “have all these sensors distributed to large populations to eventually help more people across the world.”

Fu appreciates bringing a multidisciplinary approach to his research and to the University in general. His unique background and grounding in a variety of disciplines, from studying polymers to analytical chemistry to nanotechnology, have demonstrated the importance of implementing a multidisciplinary approach when solving problems. His research combines different fields such as electrochemistry, nanoscience, and synthetic biology. He believes in the importance of solving problems from different angles and that by having researchers from a variety of disciplines work together, they can reach innovative solutions. 

“I think I can become the bridge to connect the people in the College of Science to the people outside of the College of Science to build more interdisciplinary teams,” he explained.