Our Team

About Us

We are a diverse group of researchers all interested in making advances in science and medical application using responsive polymer-based systems.

If you are interested in joining our group or learning more about what we do, contact us.

Dr. Michael Serpe

Michael J. Serpe received his B.S. at the University of Central Florida in 2000. He received his Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2004 with Professor Andrew Lyon. There he developed novel polymeric materials for applications in drug delivery, microoptic arrays, and photonics. After a one year conducting research in industry, he joined the group of Professor Stephen Craig at Duke University in 2006. There he used single-molecule force spectroscopy to investigate reversible polymer bridging between surfaces. 

He joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Alberta as an Assistant Professor in 2009 and was awarded early tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2013. On July, 1, 2018, Prof. Serpe was promoted to Full Professor. 

Prof. Serpe has been named a Grand Challenges Canada Rising Star in Global Health, received the 2013 Petro Canada Young Innovator Award, and has been named one of Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 by Avenue Magazine for 2013-2014.

Post Doctoral Fellows

Krista Fruehauf
Post Doctoral Fellow

Krista received her B.Sc. in physiology from the University of California, Santa Barbara (2015).  After that, she attended the University of California, Irvine where she earned her PhD in chemistry (2020).  She joined the Serpe lab (2021) to work on microgel systems with applications in sensing, imaging, and small molecule release.  Outside of the lab, she enjoys rock climbing, yoga, and the outdoors.

Graduate Students

Yu Wan
Ph.D. Candidate
Received his B.Eng from Soochow University. Currently researching the use of responsive polymers and artificial muscles. He is working on the development of new artificial muscle constructs by generating new stimuli-responsive polymers. Enjoys playing sports and watching movies.
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Qiming Shen
Ph.D. Candidate
B.Sc degrees in Chemistry from the University of Alberta in 2017. Current research focuses on developing polymer-based sensors. The sensor device is constructed by sandwiching a polymer layer between two layers of gold that is deposited on glass. By modifying either the polymer itself or the surface of gold layer to make the device specifically respond to certain analytes. The concentration of the analyte can be determined by the corresponding colour change. Enjoys badminton and board games.
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Lauren Huybregts
MSc. Student

Lauren received her BSc in Physical Sciences from Grant MacEwan University in 2016. Her research in the Serpe group has involved developing a slow-release fertilizer using chewing gum waste and studying the effects of her fertilizer on canola plants she grew in the basement of the Agriculture, Life & Environmental Sciences building at the U of A. When not experimenting with old gum and plants, Lauren enjoys playing the piano, crocheting, and looking for cool rocks wherever she travels.

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Alyssa Fu
Ph.D. Student
Alyssa received her B.Sc. in Chemistry at McGill University. Her current research includes sensor design and artificial muscle design and application. She enjoys all sports and making new friends.
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Feng Gao
Ph.D. Student

Completed a B. Sc at the University of Alberta. Research Project: Au Nanoarray based SPR enhancement. Outside the lab and studying, he is playing Hearthstone.

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Changhao Fang
Ph.D. Student

Completed his B.Sc. Honors in Biochemistry at the University of Alberta. His current research focuses on developing stimuli-responsive polymer-based biomaterials for controlled drug delivery and tissue engineering applications. He enjoys swimming, listening to music, reading and video gaming when not in the lab.

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Faisal Hossain
Ph.D. Student

Faisal received his B.Sc. (Honours with distinction) in 2015 and MS in 2016 in Chemistry from the University of Chittagong, Bangladesh. Later he earned an M.Eng. in Materials Chemistry from the Kanazawa University, Japan in 2018.  His current PhD research in the Serpe group includes the determination of phosphate and naphthenic acid in water. Faisal enjoys playing cricket and video games.

Haley Hunter
Ph.D. Student

Completed an Honours B.Sc degree in biochemistry from the University of Alberta in 2019.  Her current research project involves the development of an acetylcholine biosensor. The sensors are based upon the surface modification of optical etalon devices, which are fabricated by “sandwiching” a single pNIPAm layer between 2 thin gold layers.  When not in the lab she enjoys getting active and spending time with her family.

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Nicholas Balasuriya
Ph.D. Student

Nicholas completed his BSc. majoring in Chemistry at the University of Alberta in 2018. His research studies the use of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-based sensor arrays for monitoring ions in water and for detecting hormones such as Progesterone and Estradiol in biological matrices for biomedical applications. Outside of the lab, he is a hockey fan and collects model aircrafts as a hobby. 

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Xiaochen Dong
Ph.D. Student

Xiaochen received his B.Sc. degree in chemistry from the University of Alberta in 2020. He is interested in the sensor projects (designs and applications) based on pNIPAm microgels. He is a big fan of badminton and video games. 

Madeline Tuai
MSc. Student

Madeline completed a B.Sc in chemistry at Thompson Rivers University in 2020. Her research interest is in the design and applications of pNIPAm microgel sensors for the detection of ions in water. She also enjoys listening to music, reading, and cooking.

Md Reazul Islam
Ph.D. Student