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Meet the Team

Hu Group Photo

We strive to foster an inclusive, supportive group culture where researchers of diverse backgrounds are equally welcomed & respected.

​Principal Investigator

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Xiaoran Hu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Postdoc, Cornell & Caltech

Ph.D., Tufts University

B.S., Nanjing University

xhu156 [at] | (315)443-9489

Affiliation: BioInspired Institute | Upstate Cancer Center

Biography: Xiaoran joined the faculty at Syracuse University in 2022. Xiaoran grew up in Henan province in China and received a B.S. in chemistry from Nanjing University in 2010. During his doctoral studies with Prof. Samuel Thomas at Tufts (2012-2017), Xiaoran developed strategies to photo-control polymer self-assembly. Xiaoran then conducted his postdoc research in polymer mechanochemistry in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Caltech (2017-2021), mentored by Prof. Maxwell Robb. After that, Xiaoran furthered his postdoctoral training in biomaterials and drug delivery with Profs. Shaoyi Jiang in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering and Geoffrey Coates in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University (2021-2022). ​Honors and Awards 2024 Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator Award, American Chemical Society. 2024 ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces Family Journals Early Career Forum. 2024 Thieme Chemistry Journals Award, Thieme Publishing Group. 2018 Finalist, ACS Eastman Chemical Student Award in Applied Polymer Science, American Chemical Society. 2016 Graduate Student Research Competition Award, Tufts University. 2016 Graduate Research Excellence at Tufts Fellowship, Tufts University. 2016 Graduate Student Travel Award, Tufts University.

Postdoctoral Scholars

Xuancheng Fu

Xuancheng Fu, Ph.D. 

Ph.D., Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

B.S., Jilin University, China

Xuancheng was raised in Jilin, China. He received his Ph.D. degree from ICCAS under the guidance of Professor Shu Wang, developing light-responsive biomaterials. Before joining Syracuse, Xuancheng was a lecturer at Beijing Sports University, where he conducted research on Point-of-Care Testing methods for doping detection. Xuancheng is interested in developing advanced materials systems for gene therapy applications. (NetID: xfu122)

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Ramarani Sethy, Ph.D. 

Ph.D., Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan

B.S., Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Thiruvananthapuram

Ramarani, originally from Odisha, India, completed her PhD at NAIST, Japan, under Prof. Tsuyoshi Kawai, specializing in stimuli-responsive chiral conjugated luminescent materials. Following her doctoral studies, she advanced her research in mechanofluorochromic and magneto-responsive systems during a postdoctoral appointment in France. In April 2024, Ramarani joined Syracuse University as a postdoctoral researcher. Beyond the lab, she enjoys hiking, yoga, traveling, and crafting with wool.

Graduate & Undergraduate Students

Cijun Zhang

Cijun Zhang ✉ University Graduate Fellow

Doctoral Student, 2021-present

B.S., Nankai University, China

Cijun grew up in Hebei, China. Cijun conducted undergraduate research in the total synthesis of Seco-dendrobine alkaloids with Prof. Guangxin Liang. After graduation, he worked as a research assistant in Dr. Ran Hong's lab at Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry (SIOC) CAS to study the total synthesis of erythrina and gelsedine alkaloids. Cijun started his graduate study at SU under the supervision of Prof. Ivan Korendovych in 2021 and conducted research in the directed evolution of enzymes and catalytical peptides. He transferred to the Hu Lab in May 2023 to study organic materials chemistry. Cijun is also known as a certified chess master in China with the title of Chinese Chess Association Master earned in 2010, and he is pursuing FIDE International Master in chess tournaments. His other interests are poetry, fencing, and board games. Cijun interested in physical organic and materials chemistry (NetID: czhang54)

Bowen Xu

Bowen Xu 

Doctoral Student, 2022-present

M.S., University of Southern California

B.E., Hefei University of Technology, China

Bowen was raised in Xi'an, China. He studied materials science and machine learning and received a master's degree from USC before moving to Syracuse. Bowen is interested in developing biomaterials for drug delivery applications. Outside of the lab, Bowen is an energetic person who likes basketball, skiing, and travel. (NetID: bxu102)

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Franklin Boyu Zhu

Bio '25 (Joined 2023)

2024 SOURCE Fellow

Luke Gregory Westbrook

Luke Westbrook

Biochem '25 (Joined 2023)

Michelle Wu

Michelle Wu

Pub Health '24 (Joined 2023)

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Seth Brown

Medchem '26 (Joined 2024)

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Max Lancer

Chem '26 (Joined 2024)

2024 SOURCE Fellow

JOIN US We're recruiting graduate students (~3 x, 24Fall) with interest in one or several of the following areas: synthetic organic materials chemistry, physical organic chemistry, polymers, biomaterials, and drug delivery. See Contact page for more details. 

Alumni James Peden Undergraduate Researcher 2023 Diego Silva Undergraduate Researcher 2023 Timothy Garcia Undergraduate Researcher 2024

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