Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Dow Science Complex 342

Dr. Chai is a professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Central Michigan University


  • B.S., Chemistry, Anhui Normal University, China 
  • M.S., Yunnan University, China 
  • Ph.D., The University of Akron

Research Fields

  • Analytical Chemistry, Instrumental Analysis, NMR Spectroscopy 
  • NMR and AFM in Polymer and Supramolecular Chemistry

Current Reserach Projects

  • Synthesis of Drug Trees. We use “Lego” chemistry to incorporate small pharmaceutical drugs into a dendrimeric structure via biodegradable linkages using biocompatible building blocks such as glycerol or 1,3-propanediol, and succinic acid, etc. This design generates an intrinsic treelike structure with known amount of drug entities, vividly named as “DrugTree,” which can potentially serve as a new platform for controlled drug release and delivery. These dendritic drugs are expected to be more efficient and low toxic in medical therapies. 
  • Synthesis of Bio-Dendrimers. In this project, materials from natural resources, for instance, the metabolism pathway intermediates or products, as building blocks to fabricate a group of fully biocompatible dendrimers for biomedical application such as tissue engineering and drug delivery. 
  • Synthesis of Dendrimer-Drug Bioconjugates. Using commercially available poly(amido amine) (PAMAM) and poly(propylene imine) (PPI) dendrimers, small pharmaceutical drugs are conjugated on the surface of the dendrimers. This dendrimer-drug conjugated system will potentially minimize the toxicity and enhance the efficacy of the small drugs by localizing and slowly-releasing them to a specific area such as the tumor spot in medical therapies. 
  • NMR Analysis of Supramolecular Systems. This research project aims at applying NMR spectroscopy to investigate supramolecular systems including dendrimer-based self-assemblies, host-guest systems of cyclodextrins and metal-ligand complexes as well as nanoparticles, etc. The techniques used here are multidimensional, multinuclear, dynamic and diffusion NMR experiments. 
  • AFM Analysis of Synthetic and Bio-Nanostructures. This research is focused on applying atomic force microscopy (AFM) to probe the nanostructures of synthetic and natural materials such as dendrimer based metal nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes and bacterial biofilms via topographic imaging as well as the force measurement between the material surface and AFM tip.


  • Chai, M.; Jensen, A. W.; Abdelhady, H. G.; Tomalia, D. A. AFM Analysis of C60 and a PAMAM-C60 Nanoconjugates. J. Nanosci. Nanotech. 2007, 7, 1-5. 
  • Chai, M.; Holley, A. K.; Kruskamp, M. J. Encapsulating Fluorescein Using Adipic Acid Self-assembly on the Surface of PPI-3 Dendrimer. Chem. Comm. 2006, 2, 168-170. 
  • Tang, S.; Martinez, L. J.; Sharma, A.; Chai, M. Synthesis and Characterization of Water-Soluble and Photostable L-DOPA Dendrimers. Org. Lett. 2006, 8(20), 4421-4424. 
  • Tang, S.; June, S. M.; Howell, B. A.; Chai, M. Synthesis of Salicylate Dendritic Prodrugs. Tetrahedron Lett. 2006, 47(44), 7671-7675. 
  • Rankin, G. O.; Sun, H; Hubbard, J. L.; Chai, M. Synthesis of Enatiopure N-(3,5-Dichlorophenyl)-2-hydroxysuccinimides (NDHS) and N-(3,5-Dichlorophenyl)-2-hydroxysuccinimide-O-sulfates (NSC), Synthesis, 2002, 15, 2165.