Wei Shen

Wei Shen

Wei Shen

Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering


Nils Hasselmo Hall
Room 7-118
312 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455


  • BS, Chemical Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, China, 1992

  • PhD, Chemical Engineering (minor in biology), California Institute of Technology, 2004

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Biology, California Institute of Technology, 2005-2006

Research Interests

The Shen Research Lab focuses on engineering biomaterials and using these materials to investigate cell-microenvironment interactions and to model diseases, with ultimate goals of understanding, detecting, and curing human diseases. The ongoing projects include a topographically patterned material platform to study Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (CMD), a nanoparticle platform for antiviral therapy, and oxygen-releasing materials for cell-based therapy.

Selected Publications

Panja, S.;  Siehr, A.;  Sahoo, A.;  Siegel, R. A.; Shen, W., Biodegradable Elastomers Enabling Thermoprocessing Below 100° C. Biomacromolecules 2021. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.1c01197

Siehr, A.;  Flory, C.;  Callaway, T.;  Schumacher, R. J.;  Siegel, R. A.; Shen, W., Implantable and Degradable Thermoplastic Elastomer. ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering 2021, 7 (12), 5598-5610.

Reisman, L.;  Siehr, A.;  Horn, J.;  Batiste, D. C.;  Kim, H. J.;  De Hoe, G. X.;  Ellison, C. J.;  Shen, W.;  White, E. M.; Hillmyer, M. A., Respirometry and Cell Viability Studies for Sustainable Polyesters and Their Hydrolysis Products. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 2021, 9 (7), 2736-2744.

Xu, B.;  Siehr, A.; Shen, W., Functional skeletal muscle constructs from transdifferentiated human fibroblasts. Sci Rep 2020, 10 (1), 22047.

Zhang, M.;  Xu, B.;  Siehr, A.; Shen, W., Efficient release of immunocaptured cells using coiled-coils in a microfluidic device. RSC Advances 2019, 9 (50), 29182-29189.

Zhang, M.;  Kiratiwongwan, T.; Shen, W., Oxygen-releasing polycaprolactone/calcium peroxide composite microspheres. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater 2019.

Xu, B.;  Zhang, M.;  Perlingeiro, R. C. R.; Shen, W., Skeletal Muscle Constructs Engineered from Human Embryonic Stem Cell Derived Myogenic Progenitors Exhibit Enhanced Contractile Forces When Differentiated in a Medium Containing EGM‐2 Supplements. Advanced Biosystems 2019, 1900005.

Siehr, A.;  Xu, B.;  Siegel, R. A.; Shen, W., Colloidal stability versus self-assembly of nanoparticles controlled by coiled-coil protein interactions. Soft Matter 2019, 15 (36), 7122-7126.

Selvaraj, S.;  Mondragon-Gonzalez, R.;  Xu, B.;  Magli, A.;  Kim, H.;  Laine, J.;  Kiley, J.;  McKee, H.;  Rinaldi, F.;  Aho, J.;  Tabti, N.;  Shen, W.; Perlingeiro, R. C., Screening identifies small molecules that enhance the maturation of human pluripotent stem cell-derived myotubes. Elife 2019, 8.

Xu, B.;  Magli, A.;  Anugrah, Y.;  Koester, S. J.;  Perlingeiro, R. C. R.; Shen, W., Nanotopography-responsive myotube alignment and orientation as a sensitive phenotypic biomarker for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Biomaterials 2018, 183, 54-66.

Zhang, M., Shen, W. (2017) Efficient Release of Affinity-Captured Cells Using a Coiled-Coil-Based Molecular Trigger. Macromolecular Bioscience, 2017, 17, 1600330.

Song, W., Kaufman, D. S., Shen, W. (2015) Efficient generation of endothelial cells from human pluripotent stem cells and characterization of their functional properties. J Biomed Mater Res A, 104: 678-687.

Riesberg, J. J., Shen, W. (2015) A biological approach to assembling tissue modules through endothelial capillary network formation. Journal of Tissue Engineering And Regenerative Medicine, 9:1084-1087.

Wang X, Riesberg JJ, Shen W. (2012) “Reversible Regulation of Bioactive Ligands Presented on Immobilized Gold Nanoparticles.” Soft Matter, 8: 2812-2815.

Yang Liu, Xintong Wang, Dan Kaufman, Wei Shen, "A Synthetic Substrate to Support Early Mesodermal Differentiation of Human Embryonic Stem Cells," Biomaterials, accepted (2011).

Yang Liu, Bo Liu, Jeremiah J. Riesberg, Wei Shen, "In Situ Forming Physical Hydrogels for Three-dimensional Tissue Morphogenesis," Macromolecular Bioscience, DOI: 10.1002/mabi.201100119 (2011). *This paper has been featured on the materials science news site of Wiley-VCH, MaterialsViews.com, in an article written by Hilary Gallagher, titled, "The Revolving Door Approach: Physically Stabilized Hydrogels that Permit Cell Movement."

Bo Liu, Yang Liu, Jeremiah J. Riesberg, and Wei Shen, “Dynamic Presentation of Immobilized Ligands Regulated through Biomolecular Recognition,” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 132:13630-13632 (2010).

Bo Liu, Yang Liu, Andrew K. Lewis, and Wei Shen, “Modularly Assembled Porous Cell-Laden Hydrogels,” Biomaterials, 31: 4918-4925 (2010).

Bo Liu, Andrew K. Lewis, and Wei Shen, “Physical hydrogels photo-cross-linked from self-assembled macromers for potential use in tissue engineering,” Biomacromolecules, 10: 3182-3187 (2009).

I. V. Larina, W Shen, O. G. Kelly, et al., “A membrane associated mCherry fluorescent reporter line for studying vascular remodeling and cardiac function during murine embryonic development,” The anatomical record, 292: 333-341(2009). 

Wei Shen, Julia A. Kornfield, and David A. Tirrell, “Dynamic properties of artificial protein hydrogels assembled through aggregation of leucine zipper peptide domains,” Macromolecules, 40: 689-692 (2007). 

Wei Shen, Julia A. Kornfield, and David A. Tirrell, “Structure and mechanical properties of genetically engineered protein hydrogels assembled through aggregation of leucine zipper peptide domains,” Soft Matter, 3: 99-107 (2007).

Wei Shen, Kechun Zhang , Julia A. Kornfield, and David A. Tirrell, “Tuning the erosion rate of artificial protein hydrogels through control of network topology,” Nature Materials, 5: 153-158 (2006).

Wei Shen, Rob G.H. Lammertink, Jill K. Sakata, Julia A. Kornfield, and David A. Tirrell, “Assembly of an Artificial Protein Hydrogel through Leucine Zipper Aggregation and Disulfide Bond Formation,” Macromolecules, 38 (9): 3909 -3916 (2005).