Meet Hang Lu, director of the Bioengineering (BioE) Graduate Program, researcher in three interdisciplinary research institutes - IBB, IEN, and IDEaS, and Love Family Professor at the Georgia Tech School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
What is your field of expertise and why did you choose it?
I was trained as a chemical engineer, but also did my postdoctoral training in neurogenetics in a medical school environment. Chemical engineering is a fairly comprehensive and versatile discipline; many successful chemical engineers in industry and academia have been applying the fundamentals of chemical engineering to solve a variety of important problems in energy, environment, food, and medicine. I found that these principles also can help basic research in other disciplines including neuroscience and biotech, which I was fascinated by even in my younger years. I was glad to find a way to put these fields together.
What makes Georgia Tech research institutes unique?
Being in the interdisciplinary space is something I really enjoy. Georgia Tech is at the forefront of interdisciplinary research and teaching. Since coming to Georgia Tech, I have had the pleasure to work with multitudes of collaborators in several different colleges, and to train students in an interdisciplinary environment such as our Bioengineering graduate program.
What impact is your research having on the world?
Most of my lab work focuses on engineering information-rich experimental systems to understand the development and function of the brain. We develop lab-on-a-chip and other miniaturized systems that enables genetic and drug screens several orders of magnitude faster than conventional techniques. We develop algorithms to mine information too subtle or complex for human vision from large-scale microscopy data. Ultimately, these engineered tools enable better understanding of mechanisms underpinning normal functions and diseases in the brain.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you are not working on your research or teaching?
I enjoy listening to and making (mostly classical) music.