Dr. Moon received his Ph.D. in Inorganic and Materials Chemistry from Pohang University of Science and Technology in August 1999, where he studied surface modifications and characterizations. At MIT, Dr. Moon studied the conjugated polymer brushes and the effect of unique surface structures on chemical sensing under Prof. Tim Swager. After seven-year industrial research experience, Dr. Moon joined the Department of Chemistry at FIU. His current research focuses on the development of novel fluorescent materials for sensitive and reliable detection of target molecules and substances.
Our research interest has focused on redesigning and controlling the self-assembly of CPs to maximize their performance in aqueous environments. Our group has developed novel synthetic and fabrication methods for biodegradable CPs and conjugated polymer nanoparticles (CPNs) and used the polymeric materials for cellular imaging, sensing, and delivery of biologically active substances. Current research focus is to invent functional materials for 1) therapeutic delivery to target tissues 2) monitoring of biological events at intracellular organelles, and 3) in vitro diagnostic platforms for fast and sensitive detection of cancer cells, bacteria, or glycosaminoglycan.
My research interests are to develop biomedical polymeric materials, specifically for 1) fluorescent imaging of cancers, 2) targeted delivery of therapeutic agents, and 3) monitoring of biological events. I am a materials chemist by training with significant independent biomedical research experience before joining the FIU faculty at 2008. After finishing my postdoctoral training at MIT under Prof. Timothy Swager, who is a pioneer in the field of conjugated polymers (CPs) for ultrasensitive detection of chemical and biological interests, I joined a company as a principal investigator to develop highly sensitive biosensors for nucleic acids, proteins, bacteria, and pathogens detection. My research at FIU has focused on the design and synthesis of new π-electron conjugated materials for biological and biomedical applications. My group has developed novel synthetic and fabrication methods for CPs and conjugated polymer nanoparticles (CPNs) and used the polymeric materials for cellular imaging and small interfering RNA (siRNA) delivery applications. We have investigated the relationship between the chemical properties of the CPNs and their biological functions to further improve cellular labeling and delivery efficiency. Currently I am conducting a project to develop multiphoton polymer probes for sensitive and specific cancer labeling. By modulating self-assembly processes of biodegradable CPs, I am also developing efficient dene/drug delivery nanoparticles under support from NSF CAREER award. Because the nature of my research projects is highly interdisciplinary, I have very strong collaboration components on my research activities. I also served as students’ PhD committee from chemistry, physics, biomedical engineering, materials engineering, and electric engineering. I have a long and steady record of student support and mentoring. Currently I have two doctoral students, three undergraduate students, and two postdoctoral fellows (will join in Oct and Nov 2016) working on the projects mentioned above. Two graduate students successfully defended this year. I am a co-advisor of the FIU Chem club. As an outreach activity under the NSF award, we were able to invite total ~200 high school students (mostly underrepresented minority) from local community to offer one-day college experience including facility tour, attending a lecture, and conducting an experiment at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The ultimate goal of the outreach program is to contribute to increase the number of minority in STEM by offering early college-level science experience. Overall, I have active research program for developing new multifunctional biomaterials for disease therapeutics and am enthusiastic on the minority education with a solid track record for minority training.