Lu elected fellow of leading scientific organization

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Dr. Peter Lu, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Photochemical Sciences at Bowling Green State University, has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), a preeminent scientific organization.

Nominated by the society’s Division of Biological Physics, Lu was selected “for his significant contributions to the quantitative understanding of protein dynamics, in particular, in enzymatic reactions by developing novel single-molecule spectroscopy and methodology.”

According to the APS, “the criterion for election is exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise; e.g., outstanding physics research, important applications of physics, leadership in or service to physics, or significant contributions to physics education. Fellowship is a distinct honor signifying recognition by one's professional peers.”

“Dr. Lu’s election to the society places him among an elite group of scientists around the world, and I’m especially pleased to see him receive this honor,” said Dr. Mike Ogawa, vice president for research and economic development. “Peter’s groundbreaking work in single molecule spectroscopy has added great strength to Bowling Green State University’s Center for Photochemical Sciences. Importantly, Peter is not only a great researcher but is also a great colleague.”

Lu has been with BGSU since 2006. An expert in biochemical nanoscience, he concentrates on the motions and properties of single molecules of proteins and enzymes as they perform their biological functions. “We are trying to obtain molecular-level understanding of protein function and dysfunction related to disease diagnosis and treatment and drug development,” he said.

Using sophisticated equipment and techniques he and his team have pioneered, they can observe and measure the interactions of single molecules of enzymes with other enzymes and proteins to gain a better understanding of complex metabolic processes over time, and the effects of the immediate environment on those processes.

A senior editor for the journal Nano Reviews since 2009, Lu has been invited to serve on international committees related to nanotechnology and single-molecule science. Maintaining his strong record of productivity, Lu and his fellow researchers had seven publications in 2014 in prestigious journals. For example, The Scientist magazine published a special report in December introducing the Lu lab’s single-molecule ion channel research and highlighting their recent paper on neuronal protein dynamics that was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

In 2012, Lu was invited to write a perspective for Science magazine on single-molecular enzymology and protein dynamics. He also had a chapter published in the proceedings of the 2010 Nobel Symposium on Single Molecule Spectroscopy in Chemistry, Physics and Biology.

His projects are supported by federal funding organizations including the Department of Energy and Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Lu joined the faculty in Photochemical Sciences in 2006 following 11 years with the Pacific Northwest national Laboratory, where he had risen to the position of senior scientist and then chief scientist. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Peking University, and his Ph.D. from Columbia University, in 1991.

BGSU presented him the Olscamp Research Award in 2009, its highest award for faculty scholarship.