Provost’s Lecture Series

Hongjun Wang

A ‘Small’ Size Can Make a ‘Big’ Impact – Noble Metal Nanoparticles for Cancer Theranostics

Cancer remains the second leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths annually. As part of our ongoing research, our group has been working on the development of multifunctional nanocarriers to address some of the unmet clinical challenges in cancer therapy and diagnosis. Taking advantage of the unique plasmonic effect, biocompatibility and multifunctionality of noble metals (such as gold), various nanostructures (from solid to highly porous) have been designed and fabricated to load therapeutics and subsequently modify with targeting molecules for improved treatment efficacy and specificity along with in situ detection. In this talk, I will summarize our progress and demonstrate the potential of such nanoparticles in the treatment of solid tumors (e.g., breast cancer) and blood tumors (e.g., lymphoma).  

Hongjun Wang
Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering and Science; Director, Semcer Center for Healthcare Innovation; Inaugural Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award, 2023

Dr. Hongjun Wang received his first Ph.D., in polymer chemistry and physics, from the Institute of Polymer Chemistry at Nankai University in Tianjin, China. He then worked at a Dutch biomedical company, IsoTis NV, and received his second Ph.D., in biomedical engineering, from the Institute for Biomedical Technology at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. He was a research fellow at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Department of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School prior to joining Stevens Institute of Technology as an assistant professor in biomedical engineering. He rose to full professor and served as the inaugural chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering (2018-2022). He is the director of the Semcer Center for Healthcare Innovation. He also holds a professor appointment in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Stevens. The research interests of his group mainly focus on the creation of functional and physiologically relevant tissue substitutes for in vivo implantation to regenerate damaged ones or as an in vitro testing platform for therapeutic evaluation, and the use of multifunctional nanostructures for cancer therapy and diagnosis. His group has contributed dozens of book chapters and invited reviews, a number of patent applications, more than 100 invited talks and seminars and more than 125 peer-reviewed papers in Advanced Materials, Nature Comm, Small, PNAS, ACS Nano and Biomaterials. He is a recipient of multiple awards and recognitions, including an honorable Master of Engineering from Stevens in 2022, the Schaefer School Doctoral Advisor Award (2022), Jess N. Davis Award for Excellence in Research (2021), the Provost’s Award for Academic Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Development (2017) and the New Jersey Innovators Award (2016). Dr. Wang was also elected as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.