Lei was born and raised in Linyi City, Shandong (China). He obtained his Bachelor (2010) and Master (2013) degrees in Chemical Engineering from Tianjin University (Tianjin, China). Under the supervision of Prof. Ligong Chen, Lei’s BS and MS research focused on developing novel antihistamines, UV light absorbents, and fluorescent sensors. In fall 2013, Lei moved to Gainesville, FL, to attend the University of Florida (UF), where he pursued his Ph.D in 2018. At UF, Lei worked with Prof. Ronald Castellano on supramolecular chemistry and physical organic chemistry. In his Ph.D studies, a series of self-assembling oligothiophenes functionalized with various hydrogen bonding (HB) units (along with their HB-incapable comparators) were synthesized and explored as donor materials for organic photovoltaic (OPV) applications. Their structure-function-property relationships were systematically studies. In another project, novel donor-acceptor-donor based thienyl-pyridyl oligomers were explored with their photophysical properties change upon addition of external stimuli, such as Bronsted acid and metal ions. Excellent selectivity and sensitivity toward Cu2+ were observed, indicating their great potential for further development as sensors. In Feb. 2019, Lei is excited to join the Barnes group at Washington University in St. Louis as a postdoctoral associate.