Lu Wei

2018 Regional Award Winner — Post-Doc

Lu Wei

Current Position:
Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Caltech (previously, Columbia University)

Physical Chemistry

Recognized for: Developing novel imaging techniques that allow simultaneous visualization of larger number of distinctive biological species inside cells.

Areas of Research Interest and Expertise: Optical Bio-imaging, Chemical Biology, Nonlinear Coherent Spectroscopy and Microscopy, Physical Chemistry


PhD, Columbia University
BS, Nanjing University, China

Dr. Wei is a physical chemist working at the interface of physics, chemistry and chemical biology who has developed transformative optical microscopy technologies, which have widespread impact in biophysics and biophotonics. Traditional fluorescence-based microscopy techniques while being quite powerful, have fundamental limitations. One major limitation when applying fluorescence microscopy to the study of complex biological systems is the ability to only resolve 2-5 molecular targets at a time. This means that researchers can only obtain a limited picture of the molecular species that are involved in a biological process. To address this limitation, Dr. Wei has developed a novel multiplex imaging technique using nonlinear Raman scattering microscopy coupled with the novel chemical design of new Raman probes. Her method allows for simultaneous imaging of a large number of molecular species (more than 20 targets) and as a result, represents a major breakthrough in the field of optical imaging. In addition to bio-imaging, Dr. Wei has further demonstrated the high impact of her work by collaborating with Material Scientists at Columbia University that innovatively used nonlinear Raman imaging technique to probe the dynamics of electrolyte concentrations in lithium ion batteries.

"Scientific advances are constantly driven by novel technical development. Excitements in my research originate from all the moments that we realize we could utilize fundamental physical/chemical principles and creatively turn them into new imaging tools that would allow people to have better ways to visualize and understand processes in the complex systems."

Key Publications:

  1. L. Wei, Z. Chen, L. Shi, R. Long, A. V. Anzalone, L. Zhang, F. Hu, R. Yuste, V. W. Cornish and W. Min, Super-multiplex vibrational imaging, Nature, 2017, 544, 465–470.

  2. L. Wei and W. Min, Electronic pre-resonance stimulated Raman scattering microscopy, J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2018, 9, 4294–4301.

  3. Q. Cheng, L. Wei, Z. Liu, N. Ni, Z. Sang, B. Zhu, W. Xu, M. Chen, Y. Miao, L. -Q Chen, W. Min and Y. Yang, Operando and Three-Dimensional Visualization of Anion Depletion and Lithium Growth by Stimulated Raman Scattering Microscopy. Nat. Comm.2018, 9, 2942.

  4. F. Hu, C. Zeng, R. Long, Y. Miao, L. Wei, Q. Xu and W. Min, Optical super-multiplexing with engineered polyynes.Nat. Methods, 2018, 15, 194–200.

Other Honors:

2017 PHYS Division Young Investigator Award, American Chemical Society
2015 Hammett Award, Department of Chemistry, Columbia University
2015 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad, Ministry of China
2014 Best Poster Award, Kavli Futures Symposium: The Novel Neuro Technologies
2013 Fellowship for Best Poster Award, Cold Spring Harbor Asia Conference
2011 Blanche R. & David Kasindorf Fellowship, Columbia University

In the Media:

Nature - A larger palette for biological imaging

Nature Methods - Good vibrations for super-multiplexed imaging

C&EN - New dyes enable super-multicolor imaging - New microscopy method breaks color barrier of optical imaging

Optics & Photonics News - Expanding Bioimaging's Palette

Physics Today - Ion-transport visualization points toward a better battery