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Lab website is redirected to: Nanobrainlab.net

The Science

  • Brain biotransport: The burden of brain diseases has increased substantially over the last 25 years and will continue to grow in coming decades. Our brain is a complex system with blood flow and vessels that supply nutrients but restricts passage of most other molecules, and neuronal network that is maintained and modulated by the extracellular “chemical connectome”. The central question we pursue is: how does the molecular transport in the brain affect brain activity and function? By engineering new nanotechnologies, our long-term goal is to better understand the molecular transport and improve the treatment of brain diseases.
  • Respiratory infectious diseases diagnosis: Viral respiratory tract infection (VRTI) is the most common illness in humans and non-influenza-related VTRI costs over $40 billion annually in the United States alone. This includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is among the leading causes of pediatric death secondary to pneumonia worldwide and to date there is no available effective vaccine or antiviral therapy. Early and point-of-care (POC) diagnosis of RSV is critical to isolate infection reservoirs and inform treatment decisions. The central question we pursue is: how to diagnose infections with high sensitivity and specificity in the simplest and cost-effective way? By engineering novel and improving current point-of-care diagnostic tests, our long-term goal is to transform the current practice of infectious disease diagnosis.

What we do

The Nano-Thermal Bioengineering Laboratory (NT-BEL) focuses on fundamental understanding of biotansport issues for the brain and diagnostic systems, and develop nanotechnology-based approaches to better understand the brain and revolutionize point-of-care infectious disease diagnosis. Recent efforts focus on the laser-plasmonic nanoparticle interactions and its effects at the interface between biological systems and nanomaterials. Specifically, experimental techniques and methods have been developed to understand the effects of nanoparticle plasmonic heating on proteins and lipids immediately next to the nanoparticle. This has led to new enabling tools for optical protein manipulation and molecular uncaging for the brain, and innovative diagnostic methods.

Who we are

With the interdisciplinary nature of the work, our team consists of talented scientists with different backgrounds (engineering, biology, chemistry etc). We are affiliated with the Center for Advanced Pain Studies. The growth and success of our team members are our highest priority. We are always open to the most motivated individuals who can bring unique insight and expertise to join our laboratory.

We are hiring open-minded, ambitious PhD students to develop new nano-biotechnologies and tackle challenges in the brain.


  • 05/31/2021 Xie chen received Betty and Gifford Johnson Student Travel Award. Congratulations!
  • 04/29/2021 Dr. Peiyuan Kang has been selected as the winner of the Best Dissertation Award for the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
  • 04/29/2021 Dr. Qin received tenure and will be promoted to Associate Professor in fall 2021.
  • 03/05/2021 Xiaoqing Li and Yaning Liu were selected as a finalist for 2021 ASME-BED/SB3C Student Paper Competition PhD-level.
  • 02/05/2021 Journal paper led by Dr. Xiuying Li "Nanotransducers for Wireless Neuromodulation", was accepted by Matter, which is tentatively scheduled for publication in May 2021 issue of Matter.
  • 11/20/2020 Dr. Zhenhong Gao received FY2020 DoD CDMRP ALSRP Funding. Congratulations!
  • 08/25/2020 Dr. Haihang Ye received 2020 BMES Career Development Award. Congratulations!
  • 07/31/2020 Tiffany Leong received Jonsson Family Bioengineering Fellowship. Congratulations!
  • 05/18/2020 Dr. Zhenpeng Qin received Faculty Research Award from Jonsson school. Congratulations!
  • 05/01/2020 NT-BEL receives an NIH R01 grant for infectious diseases diagnostic project. Congratulations!
  • 04/29/2020 Our lab's Infectious Disease Diagnostic has been reported by local news. UT Dallas researcher behind advance in testing for infectious disease
  • 04/29/2020 Our lab's Infectious Disease Diagnostic has been reported by WFAA. UT Dallas researchers say they're in the final stages of creating rapid tests for respiratory viruses like COVID-19
  • 04/27/2020 NTBEL teamwork of Brain Neuromodulation and Infectious Disease Testing has been reported by UTD News Center.Researchers’ Method Holds Promise for Brain Study, Better Tests for Viruses
  • 04/14/2020 Dr. Hejian Xiong receives award from the Phospholipid Research Center for the project "Highly photosensitive phospholipid nanovesicles for near-infrared Iighttriggered local anesthesia". Congratulations!
  • 04/07/2020 Tiffany Leong passed her Ph.D. qualify exam. Congratulations!
  • 02/23/2020 Journal paper led by Dr. Haihang Ye "Signal amplification and quantification on lateral flow assays by laser excitation of plasmonic nanomaterials", was accepted by Theranostics.
  • 02/10/2020 Journal paper led by Dr. Hejian Xiong, Xiuying Li "Near-infrared Light Triggered-release in Deep Brain Regions Using Ultra-photosensitive Nanovesicles", was accepted by Angewandte Chemie.
  • 02/14/2020 Napat Dawkrajai received a Jonsson School Undergraduate Research Award for 2020.Congratulations!
  • 01/03/2020 Xiaoqing Li has been chosen by Drs. Maria-Jesus Blanco, Kalpana M. Merchant and Mabel Loza to receive a Keystone Symposia scholarship to attend the meeting on Brain Therapeutics: Disruptive Technologies and Opportunities, Feb 16 - Feb 19, 2020, in Eldorado Hotel & Spa in Santa Fe, NM, USA.Congratulations!
  • 10/17/2019 Journal paper led by Peiyuan Kang, "Transient Photoinactivation of Cell Membrane Protein Activity without Genetic Modification by Molecular Hyperthermia", was accepted by ACS Nano.
  • 09/10/2019 Hejian Xiong and Xiuying Li’s work won the poster award at the International Symposium on Phospholipids in Germany. Three awards were given among participants. Congratulations!
  • 07/03/2019 Journal paper led by Dr. Daipayan Sarkar and Peiyuan Kang, "Non-Arrhenius Reaction-Diffusion Kinetics for Protein Inactivation over a Large Temperature Range", was accepted by ACS Nano.
  • 05/03/2019 UTDesign Team 772 (Marisa Romero, Adrienne Phillips, Vinit Sheth, John Yoo, Michelle Chang, Austin Daneman) mentored by Yaning Liu and sponsored by Dr. Zhenpeng Qin, completed their senior design project "Laser-based Point-of-Care device for infectious disease diagnosis" and won the 3rd Place in Spring 2019 Expo. Congratulations!
  • 05/01/2019 Xiaoqing Li received Diversity Travel Grant to attend the 2019 Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. Congratulations!
  • 03/25/2019 Xiaoqing Li received Ph.D. Research Small Grants. Congratulations!
  • 02/21/2019 NT-BEL receives a CPRIT grant. Congratulations! Here is CPRIT news release
  • 12/07/2018 UTDesign Team 691 (Frederick Cossio, Alec Zobal, Craig Hartnell, Sukhmani Sandhu, John Jackson) mentored by Xiaoqing Li and sponsored by Dr. Zhenpeng Qin, completed their Senior Design project "Fully Automated Cranial Windows". Congratulations!
  • 11/19/2018 Journal paper led by Candace E. Benjamin, "Site Selective Nucleation and Size Control of Gold Nanoparticle Photothermal Antennae on the Pore Structures of a Virus", was accepted by JACS.
  • 08/24/2018 NT-BEL receives a CPRIT grant. Congratulations!
  • 08/06/2018 Journal paper led by Dr. Mohammad Rezaul Karim, "Ultrafast pulsed laser induced nanocrystal transformation in colloidal plasmonic vesicles", was accepted by Advanced Optical Materials.
  • 07/27/2018 2018 Summer STEM CAST Group (Kaitlyn Liu, Shirley Wu, David Ye, Andrew Zhang, Judy Zhou) won the third Prize in CAST STAR (Science Tech Academic Research) Awards. Congratulations!
  • 06/12/2018 Xiaoqing Li received the NEMB travel award.Congratulations!
  • 05/18/2018 NT-BEL receives a National Institute of Health (NIH) grant. Congratulations!
  • 01/20/2018 Xiaoqing Li passed her Ph.D. qualify exam. Congratulations!
  • 01/16/2018 Journal paper led by Dr. Xiuying Li, "Rock the nucleus: significantly enhanced nuclear membrane permeability and gene transfection by plasmonic nanobubble induced nanomechanical transduction", was accepted by Chemical Communications.
  • 12/12/2017 Our work on plasmonic vesicles is featured on Photonics.com
  • 11/28/2017 Our work on plasmonic vesicles is featured on TACC.
  • 10/15/2017 Yaning received Betty and Gifford Johnson Student Travel Award. Congratulations!
  • 10/10/2017 Journal paper led by Varsha, "Tuning the gold nanoparticle colorimetric assay by nanoparticle size, concentration, and size combinations for oligonucleotide detection", was accepted by ACS Sensors.
  • 09/29/2017 Journal paper led by Peiyuan, " Molecular Hyperthermia: Spatiotemporal Protein Unfolding and Inactivation by Nanosecond Plasmonic Heating", was selected as cover feature.
  • 07/07/2017 Journal paper led by visiting professor and collaborator Dr. Jaona Randrianalisoa, "Understanding the Collective Optical Properties of Complex Plasmonic Vesicles", was accepted by Advanced Optical Materials.
  • 06/29/2017 Journal paper led by Kanav (PhD student in Dr. Bischof lab), "Gold Nanorod Induced Warming of Embryos Enhances Viability", was accepted by ACS Nano (Dr. Qin as co-author).
  • 06/06/2017 Journal paper led by PhD student Peiyuan was accepted by Small.
  • 03/16/2017 Our work is being promoted on NSF social media for Brain Awareness Week. link
  • 03/01/2017 Peiyuan received UT Dallas PhD Small Grant. Congratulations!
  • 12/09/2016 Journal paper led by Dr. Xiuying Li was accepted by Advanced Functional Materials.
  • 11/07/2016 NT-BEL research by Dr. Xiuying Li on the brain will be featured at NSF's booth during SfN.
  • 08/25/2016 Dr. Qin is invited to participate in a Special Emphasize Panel (SEP) for NIH.
  • 08/18/2016 NSF news release on the brain project. NSF funds new integrative approaches to study the brain
  • 08/09/2016 Dr. Xiuying Li receives a postdoctoral fellowship to continue her research at NT-BEL. Congratulations!
  • 08/09/2016 NT-BEL receives a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. Congratulations!
  • 07/25/2016 NT-BEL welcomes several new members: Colin Mahar (new PhD student), Jaona Randrianalisoa (visiting professor), and Maud Serre (visiting student).
  • 07/21/2016 New article on quantifying gold nanoparticle heating generation
  • 07/02/2016 NT-BEL attended SB3C conference. Dr. Qin chaired the session for Thermal Treatment and Hyperthermia. Peiyuan gave a podium and poster presentation.
  • 06/27/2016 UTD news release features CPRIT grant.
  • 05/18/2016 NT-BEL receives a CPRIT grant. Congratulations! Here is CPRIT news release
  • 01/15/2016 NT-BEL will present several conference papers at 2016 ASME NanoEngineering in Medicine and Biology (NEMB) Conference. Dr. Qin will chair sessions on Nanoparticle Engineering and Temperature-sensitive Nanomedicine.
  • 10/07/2015 A conference paper from NTBEL was accepted at 2015 NIH-IEEE Strategic Conference on Healthcare Innovations and Point of Care Technologies for Precision Medicine (HI-POCT’15). Congratulations to Aravind and Peiyuan!
  • 08/18/2015 NT-BEL receives a UT System grant. Congratulations! Here is UTD news release
  • 08/17/2015 Jesse won the Second Prize in CAST STAR (Science Tech Academic Research) Awards. Congratulations!
  • 06/08/2015 NT-BEL receives a TexasMRC grant. Congratulations!
  • 06/05/2015 Welcome new member, Dr. Xiuying Li, to join NT-BEL as a postdoctoral fellow!
  • 05/22/2015 Welcome new Mechanical Engineering graduate student, Baileigh Darnell, to join NT-BEL!
  • 04/20/2015 ASME 2015 4th Global Conference on Nanoengineering for Medicine and Biology (NEMB): Dr. Qin presented an invited talk and chaired a session on Emerging Topics for Nanotherapeutics II.
  • 03/26/2015 After a few months of setup, NT-BEL is up and ready for experiments.
  • 01/02/2015 Welcome two new Mechanical Engineering graduate students, Aravind Revuru and Peiyuan (Alvin) Kang, to join our research group!
  • 10/30/2014 NT-BEL is actively looking a post-doctoral researcher with experience in nanomaterials (synthesis, bioconjugation and characterization), and its biomedical applications in drug delivery or cancer therapeutics. Interested candidates can send a cover letter, CV, top 3 publications and references to Dr. Qin (Zhenpeng.Qin@utdallas.edu).


  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • National Institute of Health (NIH)
  • Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)
  • Texas Medical Research Collaborative (TexasMRC)
  • UT Brain Initiative

© 2018 Zhenpeng Qin