Victor H. Perez-Luna

  • Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering
  • Director of Undergraduate Affairs in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering


Ph.D. from University of Washington (Chemical Engineering, 1995)
M.S. from Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico (Chemical Engineering, 1989)
B.S. from Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico (Chemical Engineering,1987)

Research Interests

Professor Pérez-Luna’s research interests are in the areas of surface chemistry, biosensors, biomaterials, hydrogels for biomedical applications, and nanotechnology. His current projects include:


In collaboration with Professors Joseph Stetter and William Buttner from the Department of Chemistry, we are developing a multianalyte biosensor based on an array of 256x360 i mp edance sensors (more than 90,000 detectors in an area smaller than 2 cm 2). This array (IIT ChemArray) provides images where each pixel represents individual i mp edance measurements in the vicinity of a thin glass layer that separates the electrodes from the sa mp le being measured. By attaching antibodies to this glass surface, we can make this sensor specific for particular biological agents (proteins, viruses and bacteria) without the need of expensive and bulky instruments. By combining microfluidics technology, photolithography, surface chemistry, and multivariate analysis of data; this will be developed into a highly portable detector of biological agents. This system will be capable of detecting biological agents ranging from a few nanometers to a few microns. The applications of this device can enco mp ass biomedical assays, food safety, environmental monitoring, and homeland security among others.

Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications

Our group has an interest in the use of hydrogels for biomedical applications such as drug delivery and pharmaceutical engineering. We have developed a method for 2-D and 3-D patterning of hydrogels based on interfacial photopolymerization. This method allows varying the co mp osition in selective regions in 3-D for the creation of hydrogel systems having a co mp lex geometry on the microscopic scale. Currently, we are exploring this rapid prototyping method for tissue engineering applications in collaboration with Biomedical Engineering's Professor Eric Brey.

Our group is also involved in the synthesis of various hydrogel macromers with different functionalities such that they can be crosslinked, degradable, and/or thermoresponsive. We are also involved in the synthesis of poly(ethylene glycol) polymers with specific moieties that can interact with cell membrane lipid bilayers.

Metallic Nanoparticles

Metallic nanoparticles have interesting optical properties that make them attractive for a variety of applications. Their unique optical properties depend strongly on their morphology and degree of aggregation. Currently there is a strong interest in exploiting the dependence between aggregation and optical properties for a variety of colorimetric assays (detection of DNA hybridization, protein-ligand interactions, enzymatic activity, etc). However, their full potential has not been developed and they also have enormous potential in surface enhanced spectroscopy such as Raman scattering and Fluorescence. However, in order to fully exploit this potential it is necessary to tailor their surface properties so that specific molecules can be positioned at precise nanoscale distances and orientations on the particles. For this purpose, our group is exploring surface modification and stabilization methods for spherical and anisomeric (e.g.; nanorods) nanoparticles. With a proper understanding of the surface modification process of anisomeric nanoparticles a large number of technologies based on metallic nanoprobes can be developed for applications in analytical chemistry and biomedicine. Among our many developments in this area, we have created hybrid biopolymer-metal nanoparticle materials that can be used for sensing applications. We have also found that these hybrid materials, when grafted to surfaces provide a unique way to immobilize nanoparticles on surfaces while allowing the immobilized nanoparticles to retain their mobility. This is probably the first example demonstrating the potential to exploit aggregation-based assays using nanoparticles that retain their mobility in the immobilized state.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

American Chemical Society

American Vacuum Society


Perez-Luna V. H., “Surface Plasmon Resonance”, In: Surfaces and Interfaces for Biomaterials Pankaj Vadgama, Ed., Woodhead Publishing Ltd., (2005).

Perez-Luna V. H., Aslan K. and Betala P., “Colloidal Gold”, In: Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. H. S. Nalwa, Ed., American Scientific Publishers, (2004).

Yang S., Perez-Luna V. H. and Gabriel P. L?pez, “Two-dimensional patterning of proteins”, In: Protein Architecture: Interfacing Molecular Assemblies and Immobilization Biotechnology Y. Lvov and H. Mohwald, Eds., Marcel Dekker, Inc. (1999).

Victor Perez Luna

Contact Information

312.567.3963 312.567.8874 Room 127 Perlstein Hall