Dr. Mei’s research involves organic materials synthesis and characterization. Current projects include three directions:

(1)   Fluorinated monomers for electrolyte in proton exchange membrane fuel cells

A series of diazonium (perfluoroalkyl)aryl sulfonyimide (PFSI) zwitterionic monomers have been synthesized from perfluoro-3, 6-dioxa-4-methyl-7-octene-sulfonyl fluoride (Nafion®), and perfluoro-3-oxa-4-pentenesulfonyl fluoride (POPF) monomers for the first time. With trifluorovinyl ether and diazonium precursors, the partially-fluorinated diazonium monomers can be further polymerized and will provide chemically bonding with carbon electrode in proton exchange membrane fuel cells. A systematic study of the synthesis and characterization of these diazonium PFSI monomers has been conducted.

(2)   Theranostic nanoparticles for simultaneous detection and treatment of cancer

The long-term goal is to develop the theranostic nanoparticles (NPs) that will improve diagnostic and therapeutic efficacy for cancer. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Two of the major challenges in cancer therapy are enhancing detection methods to diagnose early-stage cancer and increasing drug specificity to spare healthy cells. Our hypothesis is that the NPs incorporating QDs, FOL, and anticancer drugs can provide the novel theranostic solutions for the simultaneous diagnosis and targeted treatment of cancers.