Chemistry at Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ryan C. Bailey

associate Professor of Chemistry

Professor Bailey received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Eastern Illinois University in 1999. He then went on Northwestern University, obtaining his Ph.D. in 2004. While at Northwestern, Ryan was the recipient of an American Chemical Society graduate student fellowship. Following a joint post-doctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology and the Institute for Systems Biology, he joined the faculty at Illinois in 2006. Ryan is also affiliated with the University of Illinois' Institute for Genomic Biology


With the sequencing of the human genome, researchers are armed with the fundamental blueprint for human life. It is becoming increasingly clear that the programming architecture which executes the genetic code is tremendously complex and that single biological measurements are incapable of truly describing even the simplest system. To further the understanding of biological processes, hierarchical levels of data (DNA, mRNA, proteins, metabolites) must be measured simultaneously from homogeneous sample populations and in near real-time in response to environmental stimuli. The requirement of measuring large numbers of biological parameters on increasingly small sample sizes is not currently possible given today's diagnostic technology.

As medicine strives to become more personalized and predictive, new technologies are needed to perform high-throughput multiparameter analysis on blood and routinely available pathology samples (e.g. skinny needle biopsies). My group takes an interdisciplinary approach towards developing new bioanalytical tools to understand the onset and progression of disease. Areas of particular interest include cancer metastasis and immunotherapy, which due to tissue heterogeneity and immune cell diversity, represent challenges that necessitate single cell investigation.

We are exploring multi-dimensional surface receptor gradients to stratify heterogeneous tissues, spatially separating cells according to disease state. Once identified, genomic and proteomic analysis of single altered cells will reveal the molecular perturbations responsible for disease progression and differentiation. Single-cell genomic and proteomic characterization, however, is not currently feasible using available analytical approaches. To facilitate these studies, we are currently developing integrated arrays of label-free biological sensors based upon high-Q optical resonators. Features such as high sensitivity and real-time detection enable investigation of dynamic processes such as the temporal secretion patterns of effector molecules from individual T-cells in response to tumor-specific antigen stimulation.

A related long-term goal of the group is the comparative analysis of protein diversity within individual cells. In order for this to be realized in a practical manner, new technologies must be developed that allow for cellular contents to be cataloged in a high-throughput fashion. Promising platforms for these efforts are arrays of metallic nanopores, and we are investigating both the electrokinetic transport and nanoscale plasmonic properties of these materials.


Photonics-on-a-Chip: Integrated Waveguides as Enabling Detection Elements for Lab-on-a-Chip Biosensing Applications, A.L. Washburn and R.C. Bailey, Analyst, 2011, 136, 227-236.

Sizing up the Future of MicroRNA Analysis, A.J. Qavi, J.T. Kindt, and R.C. Bailey, Anal. Bioanal. Chem., 2010, 398, 2535-2549.

Efficient Bioconjugation of Protein Capture Agents to Biosensor Surfaces Using Aniline-Catalyzed Hydrazone Ligation, J.-Y. Byeon, F.T. Limpoco, and R.C. Bailey, Langmuir, 2010, 26, 15430-15435.

Characterization of the Evanescent Field Profile and Bound Mass Sensitivity of a Label-Free Silicon Photonic Microring Resonator Biosensing Platform, M.S. Luchansky, A.L. Washburn, T.A. Martin, M. Iqbal, L.C. Gunn, and R.C. Bailey, Biosensors & Bioelectronics, 2010, 26, 1283-1291.

Multiplexed Detection and Label-Free Quantitation of MicroRNAs Using Arrays of Silicon Photonic Microring Resonators, A.J. Qavi and R.C. Bailey, Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed., 2010, 49, 4608-4611. (* Selected by the Editors as a “Hot Paper”; Highlighted in the cover story of the September 2010 issue of Genome Technology magazine.)

Silicon Photonic Microring Resonators for Quantitative Cytokine Detection and T-cell Secretion Analysis, M.S. Luchansky and R.C. Bailey, Anal. Chem., 2010, 82, 1975-1981.

Label-Free Biosensor Arrays based on Silicon Ring Resonators and High-Speed Optical Scanning Instrumentation, M. Iqbal, M.A. Gleeson, B. Spaugh, F. Tybor, W.G. Gunn, M. Hochberg, T. Baehr-Jones, R.C. Bailey, and L.C. Gunn, J. Sel. Topics Quantum Electron., 2010, 16, 654-661.

Quantitative Multiplexed Detection of Five Protein Biomarkers Using Arrays of Silicon Photonic Microring Resonators, A.L. Washburn, M.S. Luchansky, A.L. Bowman, and R.C. Bailey, Anal. Chem., 2010, 82, 69-72. (* Highlighted in the December 21, 2009 issue of Chemical & Engineering News.)

Label-Free Quantitation of a Cancer Biomarker in Complex Media Using Silicon Photonic Microring Resonators, A.L. Washburn, L.C. Gunn, and R.C. Bailey, Anal. Chem., 2009, 81, 9499-9506. (* Highlighted in the January 2010 issue of Photonics Spectra.)

New Multiparameter Bioanalytical Technologies for Applications in Personalized Medicine, Drug Discovery, and Fundamental Biology, R.C. Bailey, Bioanalysis, 2009, 1, 1043-1047.

Direct Biophotolithographic Method for Generating Substrates with Multiple Overlapping Biomolecular Patterns and Gradients, C.R. Toh, T.A. Fraterman, D.A. Walker, and R.C. Bailey, Langmuir, 2009, 25, 8894-8898 .

Label-Free Technologies for Quantitative Multiparameter Biological Analysis, A.J. Qavi, A.L. Washburn, J.-Y. Byeon, and R.C. Bailey, Anal. & Bioanal. Chem., 2009, 394, 121-135. (* Selected as the "Hot Article" for the issue)

Active Learning in the Introductory Graduate Student Analytical Chemistry Course: Getting Students to "Think Analytically", A. Scheeline and R.C. Bailey, in Active Learning: Models from the Analytical Sciences (ed. Mabrouk, P. A.) 248-258 (American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 2007)


  • Outstanding Young Alumnus, Eastern Illinois University, 2009
  • 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, 2009
  • National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award, 2007
  • Teaching Excellence Award, UIUC School of Chemical Sciences, 2008
  • Faculty Ranked as Excellent by Their Students, UIUC Center for Teaching Excellence, 2007
  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation New Faculty Award, 2006
  • Northwestern University Presidential Fellowship, 2003
  • Division of Analytical Chemistry Graduate Fellowship (American Chemical Society), 2003



Photo of Ryan C. Bailey