Chang Lu, the Fred W. Bull Professor in Virginia Tech’s Department of Chemical Engineering within the College of Engineering, has been elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows.

Membership in the College of Fellows honors innovation and outstanding contributions to engineering medicine, practice, or education, as described by the institute.

Lu was selected for pivotal contributions in several subfields of biomedical engineering, including low-input and single-cell omic analysis, gene delivery, microfluidic cytometry, and droplet microfluidics. He is a pioneer on microfluidic genome-wide analysis and his research has removed major roadblocks in applying next-generation sequencing-based technologies to profile patient samples.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering held a remote induction ceremony on March 30 for the class of 2020 fellows, including Lu.

Lu and his team of researchers recently developed a low-input technology that allows characterization of the epigenome, called microfluidic oscillatory washing-based chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing, or MOWChIP-seq. This method has provided a new way to characterize the epigenome using tiny quantities of patient tissue samples. Previous approaches have required tens of millions of cells per assay, while Lu’s new method has used as few as 100 cells. Lu and his former student hold a U.S. patent on the technology.

Another innovative method developed by Lu and his team, microfluidic diffusion-based reduced representation bisulfite sequencing, or MID-RRBS, has applications for deciphering disease processes, such as schizophrenia, cancer, and inflammation that involve epigenetic mechanisms.

In his early works, Lu developed a unique “flow-through electroporation” method that eliminated the use of expensive power equipment in exchange for a simple DC power supply. His research largely relates to life science and his breakthroughs will benefit future studies with direct relevance to precision medicine.

Lu's group published a number of high-impact papers in top journals, including Nature Methods, Nature Biomedical Engineering, Nature Protocols, and Science Advances in recent years. His lab has been involved in research supported by funding at a total of $17 million.

Lu has previously been honored with a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Early Career Award, a Teaching for Tomorrow Award from Purdue University, and a Dean’s Award for Research Excellence from Virginia Tech. He has also been recognized as a Faculty Fellow at Virginia Tech.

Lu earned his bachelor’s degree from Peking University and his master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Written by Tina Russell