Chun Wang

Headshot of Chun Wang

Chun Wang

Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies,
Department of Biomedical Engineering


Nils Hasselmo Hall
Rm 7-116
312 Church St SE




  • BS, Chemistry, Nankai University, China, 1992

  • MS, Bioengineering, University of Utah, 1998

  • PhD, Bioengineering, University of Utah, 2001

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Postdoctoral Fellow, Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2004

Research Interests

My laboratory works on developing polymeric materials for biomedical application. We are particularly interested in the design and characterization of novel polymers to address unmet challenges in drug delivery. We currently work on the following projects:

  1. We developed “Liquid Polymer Matrices” (LPM), a unique class of biodegradable polymers that can be injected or implanted, which enables easy loading and controlled release of both hydrophobic and hydrophilic bioactive cargos as well as combination drugs. We are currently using LPM to deliver multi-component immunotherapeutics including cancer vaccines and working toward clinical translation of this technology.
  2. We developed “Oncolytic Polymers”, a new class of synthetic polymeric biomaterials with intrinsic and target-modulated toxicity toward cancer cells. We are currently attempting to elucidate its anti-tumor mechanism and to optimize its efficacy by combining with other cancer therapies.
  3. We created polymer wafers with tailored composition and structure that enable delivery of proteins and genes through the oral mucosa while preserving the bioactivity of these therapeutic agents. These wafers may be particularly useful in improving global implementation of mucosal vaccination against infectious diseases.
Teaching Subjects
BMEn 3311/3315 (Spring) - Biomaterials/Biomaterials Lab
BMEn 8001 (Fall) - Polymeric Biomaterials
Honors and Awards

Dow Corning Graduate Student Outstanding Research Award, Controlled Release Society, 1998

Capsugel Award for Innovative Aspects of Controlled Drug Release, Controlled Release Society, 1999

Individual National Research Service Award (postdoctoral), National Institutes of Health, 2002

CAREER Award, National Science Foundation, 2006

Early Career Translational Research Award, Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, 2007

McKnight Land-Grant Professorship, University of Minnesota, 2007-2009


Selected Publications

W. Chen, Y. Hong, T. Zhang, D. Kong, M. Zhang, Q. Zhang, C. Wang
Star-shaped Poly(2-aminoethyl methacrylate)s as Non-viral Gene Carriers: Exploring Structure-Function Relationship
Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 181, 721-727 (2019)

M. Zhang, W. Chen, Y. Hong, H. Chen, C. Wang
External temperature control of lymphatic drainage of thermo-sensitive nanomaterials
Biomater Sci. 7, 750-759 (2019)

A. Tabet, C. Wang
Gels without Vapor Pressure: Soft, Nonaqueous, and Solvent-Free Supramolecular Biomaterials for Prospective Parenteral Drug Delivery Applications
Adv. Healthcare Mater. 8, 1800908 (2018)

W. Lin, S. Hanson, W. Han, X. Zhang, N. Yao, H. Li, L. Zhang, C. Wang.
Well-defined star polymers for co-delivery of plasmid DNA and imiquimod to dendritic cells
Acta Biomaterialia 48, 378–389 (2017)

M. Zhang, Y. Hong, W. Chen, C. Wang.
Polymers for DNA Vaccine Delivery
ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering DOI: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.6b00418 (2016)

W. Wang, R. Siegel, C. Wang
Nanocomposite polymers with “slimy” surfaces that refresh following abrasion
ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering 2(2), 180–187 (2016)

X. Zhong, D. Panus, W. Ji, C. Wang
Modulating polyplex-mediated gene transfection by small-molecule regulators of autophagy
Molecular Pharmaceutics 12, 932–940 (2015)

D. Cross, X. Jiang, W. Ji, W. Han, C. Wang
Injectable hybrid hydrogels of hyaluronic acid crosslinked by well-defined synthetic polycations: Preparation and characterization in vitro and in vivo
Macromolecular Bioscience 15(5), 668-681 (2015)

R. N. Palumbo, W. Han, X. Zhong, D. Panus, W. Ji, C. Wang
Tissue and cellular distribution of naked and polymer-condensed plasmid DNA after intradermal administration in mice
Journal of Controlled Release 159, 232-239 (2012)

R. N. Palumbo, X. Zhong, C. Wang
Polymer-mediated DNA vaccine delivery via bystander cells requires a proper balance between transfection efficiency and cytotoxicity
Journal of Controlled Release 157, 86-93 (2012)

W. Ji, D. Panus, R. N. Palumbo, R. Tang, C. Wang
Poly(2-aminoethyl methacrylate) with well-defined chain-length for DNA vaccine delivery to dendritic cells
Biomacromolecules 12, 4373-4385 (2011)

D. P. Cross, C. Wang
Stromal derived factor 1 alpha-loaded PLGA microspheres for stem cell recruitment
Pharmaceutical Research 28, 2477-2489 (2011)

R. Tang, W. Ji, C. Wang
pH-Responsive micelles based on amphiphilic block copolymers bearing ortho ester pendants as potential drug carriers
Macromolecular Chemistry & Physics 212, 1185-1192 (2011)

R. N. Palumbo, L. Nagarajan, C. Wang
Recombinant monomeric CD40 ligand for delivering polymer particles to dendritic cells
Biotechnology Progress 27, 830-837 (2011)

S. Choh, D. Cross, C. Wang
Facile synthesis and characterization of disulfide-crosslinked hyaluronic acid hydrogels for protein delivery and cell encapsulation
Biomacromolecules 12, 1126-1136 (2011)

R. Tang, W. Ji, D. Panus, R. N. Palumbo, C. Wang
Block copolymer micelles with acid-labile ortho ester side-chains: synthesis, characterization, and enhanced drug delivery to human glioma cells
Journal of Controlled Release 151, 18-27 (2011)

R. Tang, R. N, Palumbo, L. Nagarajan, E. Krogstad, C. Wang
Well-defined block copolymers for gene delivery to dendritic cells: probing the effect of polycation chain-length
Journal of Controlled Release 142, 229-237 (2010)

R. Tang, W. Ji, C. Wang
Amphiphilic block copolymers bearing ortho ester side-chains: pH-dependent hydrolysis and self-assembly in water
Macromolecular Bioscience 10, 192-201 (2010)

R. Tang, R. N. Palumbo, W. Ji, C. Wang
Poly(ortho ester amides): acid-labile temperature-responsive copolymers for potential biomedical applications
Biomacromolecules 10, 722-727 (2009)

C. Wang, P. T. Pham
Polymers for viral gene delivery
Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery 5, 385-401 (2008)

H. Zhang, D. Yee, C. Wang
Quantum dots for cancer diagnosis and therapy: biological and clinical perspectives
Nanomedicine 3, 83-91 (2008)

C. Wang, Q. Ge, D. Ting, D. Nguyen, H.-R. Shen, J. Chen, H. N. Eisen, J. Heller, R. Langer, D. Putnam
Molecularly engineered poly(ortho ester) microspheres for enhanced delivery of DNA vaccines
Nature Materials 3, 190-196 (2004)

C. Wang, N. Flynn, R. Langer
Controlled structure and properties of thermo-responsive nanoparticle-hydrogel composites
Advanced Materials 16, 1074-1079 (2004)

C. Wang, R.J. Stewart, J. Kopecek
Hybrid hydrogels assembled from synthetic polymers and coiled-coil protein domains
Nature 397, 417-421 (1999)