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Mingdi Yan

image of Yan Mingdi
Professor Mingdi YanProfessor

Research Interests

Glyconanomaterials, Nanoantibiotics, Surface Functionalization, Graphene chemistry

Our research lies at the interface of Organic Chemistry, Nanomaterials and Nanomedicine, We develop new conjugation reactions that are general, efficient, can accommodate ligand diversity, maintain ligand bioaffinity, and give bioactive and stable interfaces. We have studied extensively the reactivities of perfluoroaryl azides as highly reactive singlet nitrene precursors as well as electron-deficient azides in metal catalyst-free cycloaddition reactions. We use these reactions to functionalize surfaces and nanomaterials, and synthesize antibiotic-conjugates and glyconanomaterials to target bacteria. Graphene functionalization is another focus of our research. We developed robust chemistry to functionalize pristine graphene, and to synthesize graphene composite materials for catalysis applications.


  • Ph D: Organic Chemistry, (1994), University of Oregon - Eugene, OR
  • BS: Polymer Physics, (1988), University of Science and Technology of China - P.R. China

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Outstanding Researcher Award (2009) - Columbia-Willamette Chapter of Sigma Xi
  • Outstanding Overseas Chinese Young Investigator Award (2007) - National Natural Science Foundation of China
  • Outstanding Mentor (2004) - 2003/2004 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science & Technology Winners

Selected Publications

  • Sundhoro, M., Jeon, S., Park, J., Ramström, O., Yan, M. (2017). Perfluoroaryl Azide Staudinger Reaction: A Fast and Bioorthogonal Reaction. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 56(40) 12117–12121.
  • Xie, S., Manuguri, S., Proietti, G., Romson, J., Fu, Y., Inge, A.K., Wu, B., Zhang, Y., Häll, D., Ramström, O., Yan, M. (2017). Design and Synthesis of Theranostic Antibiotic Nanodrugs That Display Enhanced Antibacterial Activity and Luminescence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(32) 8464-8469.
  • Xie, S., Zhang, Y., Ramström, O., Yan, M. (2016). Base-Catalyzed Synthesis of Aryl Amides from Aryl Azides and Aldehydes. Chemical Science, 7(1) 713.
  • Chen, X., Wu, B., Jayawardana, K.W., Hao, N., Jayawardena, H.S., Langer, R., Jaklenec, A., Yan, M. (2016). Magnetic Multivalent Trehalose Glycopolymer Nanoparticles for the Detection of Mycobacteria. Advanced Healthcare Materials, 5(16) 2007.
  • Park, J., Jin, T., Liu, C., Li, G., Yan, M. (2016). Three-Dimensional Graphene–TiO2 Nanocomposite Photocatalyst Synthesized by Covalent Attachment. ACS Omega, 1(3) 351–356.
  • Jayawardana, K.W., Wijesundera, S.A., Yan, M. (2015). Aggregation-Based Detection of M. Smegmatis Using D-Arabinose-Functionalized Fluorescent Silica Nanoparticles. Chemical Communications, 51(88) 15964.
  • Ramström, O., Yan, M. (2015). Glyconanomaterials for Combating Bacterial Infections. Chemistry - A European Journal , 21(46) 16310 - 16317.
  • Jayawardana Kalana, W., Jayawardena, H.S., Wijesundera Samurdhi, A., De Zoysa, T., Sundhoro, M., Yan, M. (2015). Selective Targeting of Mycobacterium Smegmatis with Trehalose-Functionalized Nanoparticles. Chem Commun (Camb), 51(60) 12028-31.
  • Park, J., Yan, M. (2013). Covalent Functionalization of Graphene with Reactive Intermediates. Accounts of Chemical Research, 46(1) 181-189.
  • Liu, L.H., Yan, M. (2010). Perfluorophenyl Azides: New Applications in Surface Functionalization and Nanomaterial Synthesis. Accounts of Chemical Research, 43(11) 1434-1443.