Kun Lu

Kun Lu, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
1104 Michael Hooker Research Center
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


The overarching goal of Dr. Lu’s lab is to better understand health effects of environmental exposure and individual response by integrating the microbiome, exposome, omics profiling, and biomarker development. Dr. Lu’s lab is working on a number of important environmental chemicals ranging from heavy metals to pesticides, as well as others with significant public health concerns.

The current emphasis is being placed on microbiome research and exposome mapping. Dr. Lu’s lab aims at answering how gut microbiome interacts with environmental exposure, how gut microbiome affects disease susceptibility, and how host factors crosstalk with microbiome to influence its response. Another focus of Dr. Lu’s lab is to map exposome for human disease, with the goals of characterizing all exposures over the lifespan via high-resolution mass spectrometry, understanding the health impact of the exposome, and designing strategies to reduce exposure-associated adverse effects.

Dr. Lu’s lab combines both systems-level and targeted approaches in research.  In particular, Dr. Lu’s lab utilizes highly integrated system-level approaches including DNA sequencing, metabolomics, proteomics and lipidomics, coupled with the application of diverse cell, animal and disease models to interrogate the pathogenesis of human disease.

Kun Lu in the Gillings News

Research Activities

Omics profiling (metabolomics, proteomics, lipidomics)
DNA adducts
Biomarker development
Chronic inflammation
Children's health
Learn about the Biomarker Mass Spectrometry Facility

Key Publications

Gender-specific Effects of Organophosphate Diazinon on the Gut Microbiome. Gao Bei, Bian Xiaoming, Mahbub Ridwan, and Lu Kun (2016). Environ. Health Perspect, EHP202.

Sex-specific Effects of Arsenic on the Trajectories and Function of the Gut Microbiome. Chi Liang, Bian Xiaoming, Gao Bei, Ru Hongyu, Tu Pengcheng, and Lu Kun (2016). Chem. Res. Toxicol., 29(6), 949-951.

Arsenic Exposure Perturbs the Gut Microbiome and Its Metabolic Profile in Mice: An Integrated Metagenomics and Metabolomics Analysis. Lu Kun, Abo Ryan, Schlieper Katherine, Graffam Michelle, Levine Stuart, Wishnok John, Swenberg James, Tannenbaum Steven, and Fox James (2014). Environ. Health Perspect., 122(3), 284-291.

Serum Metabolomics in a Helicobacter Hepaticus Mouse Model of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Reveals Important Changes Originating in the Microbiome, Serum Peptides, and Intermediary Metabolism. Lu Kun, Knutson Charles, Wishnok John, Fox James, and Tannenbaum Steven (2012). Journal of Proteome Research, 11(10), 4916-4926.

Distribution of DNA Adducts Caused by Inhaled Formaldehyde is Consistent with Induction of Nasal Carcinoma but not Leukemia. Lu Kun, Collins Leonard, Ru Hongyu, Bermudez Edilberto, and Swenberg James (2010). Toxicological Sciences, 116(2), 441-451.


  • PhD, Material Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2009
  • MS, Material Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2006
  • MS, Polymer Chemistry and Physics, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, 2002
  • BS, Polymer Chemistry and Physics, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, 1999