Speaker: Zhen Gu, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, UNC and NCSU

Leverage Physiology for Bio-responsive Drug Delivery

Spurred by recent advances in materials chemistry, molecular pharmaceutics and nanobiotechnology, stimuli-responsive “smart” systems offer opportunities for precisely delivering drugs in dose-, spatial- and temporal-controlled manners. In this talk, I will discuss our ongoing efforts in developing physiological signal-triggered bio-responsive drug delivery systems, especially based on artificial cells or engineered cells. I will first present the glucose-responsive synthetic systems for biomimetic delivery of insulin for diabetes treatment. Bio-responsive microneedle patches and vesicle fusion-mediated synthetic beta cells will be emphasized. I will further discuss the local and targeted delivery of immunomodulatory therapeutics for enhanced cancer therapy. Our latest study utilizing platelets for targeted delivery of immune checkpoint inhibitors will be specifically introduced.


Prof. Zhen Gu received his B.S. degree in Chemistry and M.S. degree in Polymer Chemistry and Physics from Nanjing University. In 2010, he obtained Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles, under the guidance of Prof. Yi Tang in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He was a Postdoctoral Associate working with Prof. Robert Langer at MIT and Harvard Medical School during 2010 to 2012. He is currently a Jackson Family Endowed Chair Associate Professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. He also holds joint positions in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Department of Medicine at UNC. His group studies controlled drug delivery, bio-inspired materials and nanobiotechnology. He has published over 120 research papers and applied over 40 patents. He is a co-founder of two start-up companies. He serves as an Associate Editor for Nano Research. Prof. Gu is the recipient of the Sloan Research Fellowship (2016), Young Investigator Award of the Controlled Release Society (CRS, 2017), Alcoa Foundation Research Achievement Award (2017), Pathway Award of the American Diabetes Association (ADA, 2015) and Young Innovator Award in Cellular and Molecular Engineering of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES, 2015). MIT Technology Review listed him in 2015 as one of the global top innovators under the age of 35 (TR35). His invention- “Smart Insulin Patch” was featured by Nature and selected as one of the top 10 annual research images by Science.

Seminar Flyer_Zhen Gu

Date(s) - Jan 18, 2018
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


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