University of Waterloo
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Professor Lu’s research programs cross disciplines in physics, chemistry, environment, climate, biology and medicine, particularly focusing on femtomedicine and cancer therapy, as well as the sciences of atmospheric ozone depletion (the ozone hole) and global climate change (“global warming”).
The advent of femtosecond (1fs=10-15 s) time-resolved laser spectroscopy made it possible to observe molecular reactions directly (femtochemistry), for which Professor Ahmed Zewail at Caltech (Lu’s former postdoctoral advisor) won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1999. Since 2004, Lu has applied this cutting-edge technique to study important biological processes in relation to diseases and their treatments, particularly in the field of oncology. This innovative approach has led to the creation of a brand-new research field, where the femtosecond time-resolved laser spectroscopy was successfully incorporated with molecular biology and cell biology methods to advance our understanding of human diseases and their treatments. Lu coined the term “femtomedicine” (FMD) on his breakthroughs in 2010 [QB Lu, Reviews in Mutation Research 704, 190–199(2010)]. Through his research in FMD, Lu has discovered a novel molecular mechanism of DNA damage and a new family of non-platinum-based halogenated molecules, called FMD compounds. The latter have a unique molecular mechanism of action, generating a destroying effect in the intracellular environment of cancerous cells while having a protective effect on healthy/normal cells. FMD compounds therefore naturally and selectively target and kill cancer cells. They are effective in treating a variety of in vitro cancer cell lines and in vivo animal cancer models while exhibiting no systemic and radiation toxicities toward normal cells/tissues. These findings were recently published in the Cell Press and Lancet’s EBioMedicine, and in AACR’s Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Lu is now translating findings arising from fundamental FMD studies into cancer therapies in the clinic. The success will lead to novel targeted chemotherapies and radiotherapies with minimal side effects and better targeting to treat a variety of cancers.
Lu also made important discoveries for the sciences underlying ozone depletion and global climate change. His theories have fundamentally challenged the previous “conclusions” by the Novel Prize winners in the formation of the ozone hole and global warming (1995 Nobel Chemistry and 2007 Novel Peace awards) and provided the best predictions that agree with up-to-date observations. His pioneering contributions were summarized in his monographic book entitled New Theories and Predictions of the Ozone Hole and Climate Change published recently by World Scientific Inc. (New Jersey, London, Singapore, Beijing, etc., 2015) pp.1-308.
Zhang, Q.R. and Lu, Q.B. New combination chemotherapy of cisplatin with an electron‑donating compound for treatment of multiple cancers, (Springer Nature’s) Scientific Reports 11:788(2021).
Lu, Q.B. Reaction Cycles of Halogen Species in the Immune Defense: Implications for Human Health and Diseases and the Pathology and Treatment of COVID-19. Cells 9: 1461(1-18) (2020).
Hu, Y., Honek, J., Wilson, B. and Lu, Q.B. Design, synthesis and photocytotoxicity of upconversion nanoparticles: Potential applications for near-infrared photodynamic and photothermal therapy. J Biophotonics. 2019: e201900129 (1-11).
Goetze, R.G., Buchholz, S.M., Ou, N., Zhang, Q.B., Patil, S., Schirmer, M., Singh, S.K., Ellenrieder, V., Hessmann, E., Lu, Q.B. and Neesse, A. Preclinical evaluation of1,2-Diamino-4,5-dibromobenzene in genetically engineered mouse models of pancreatic cancer. Cells 8: 563(1-14) (2019).
Luo, T., Zhang, Q.R. and Lu, Q.B. Combination of Near Infrared Light-Activated Photodynamic Therapy Mediated by Indocyanine Green with Etoposide to Treat Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer. Cancers 9: 63(1-17) (2017).
Wang, C.R., Mahmood, J., Zhang, Q.R., Vedadi, A., Warrington, J., Ou, N., Bristow, R.G., Jaffray, D.A., and Lu, Q.B., In Vitro and In Vivo Studies of a New Class of Anticancer Molecules for Targeted Radiotherapy of Cancer. Mol. Cancer Ther. 15, pp. 640-650 (2016).
Lu, Q.B., Zhang, Q.R., Ou, N., Wang, C.R. and Warrington, J. In vitro and in vivo Studies of Non-Platinum-Based Halogenated Compounds as a New Class of Potent Antitumor Agents for Natural Targeted Chemotherapy of Cancers. EBioMedicine 2, pp. 544-553 (2015).
Lu, Q.B. Cosmic-Ray-Driven Electron-Induced Reactions of Halogenated Molecules Adsorbed on Ice Surfaces: Implications for Atmospheric Ozone Depletion and Global Climate Change. Physics Reports 487, pp. 141-167 (2010).
Wang, C.R., Nguyen, J. and Lu, Q.B. Bond Breaks of Nucleotides by Dissociative Electron Transfer of Nonequilibrium Prehydrated Electrons: A New Molecular Mechanism for Reductive DNA Damage. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131, pp. 11320-11322 (2009).
Lu, Q.B. and Sanche, L. Effects of Cosmic Rays on Atmospheric Chlorofluorocarbon Dissociation and Ozone Depletion. Phys. Rev. Lett. 87, pp. 078501(1)-078501(4) (2001).
Please see Google Scholar for a complete list of Professor Lu's publications.
Examples of news stories that have featured Professor Lu's research:
1997 PhD Physics, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
1989 MSc Physics, The Chinese Academy of Science, Xicheng District, Beijing, China
1986 BSc Physics, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou, Fujian Province, China
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Office of Indigenous Relations.