Project Summary


Cancer remains a leading cause of death worldwide. Engineered nanomaterials for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer have attracted enormous interest in past decades, and they hold great promise for cancer therapy due to their unique properties such as nanoscale size, controlled drug release and their potential in targeted delivery. A wide range of nanomaterials have been developed for cancer therapy, ranging from inorganic, organic, polymer particles to lipids, proteins and other synthetic compounds. While only 1318 nanomedicine formulations in the field of cancer therapy entered clinical trials with most of them focusing on marketed products, such as liposomal or albumin-based systems. Currently only four nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems have been approved by the FDA (Doxil, DaunoXome, Marqibo, and Abraxane). This demonstrates the huge gap between laboratory research and clinical translation of drug delivery systems. One of the major challenges is the lack of reliable and fast platforms to evaluate and optimize the large libraries of nanomaterials. Researchers mainly rely on in vitro cell culture and in vivo animal models to evaluate the efficacy of nanomaterials. 2D cell culture systems are simple and convenient, but they are unable to capture the complexity of biological processes. In contrast, animal models have served as valuable platforms to explore the in vivo behaviour of targeting nanomaterials, but they are time-consuming, costly and often fail to recapitulate human organ functions. A number of projects are available that involve the development of tumour-on-a-chip, organs-on-a-chip for rapid preclinical evaluation of potential nanomaterials for targeted therapeutics.


Research Group

Zhao Group


Microfluidics, in vitro models, tumor-on-a-chip, organ chips, targeted delivery

Available Student Projects

PhD student position available upon discussion with Dr Chun-Xia Zhao

Project members

Lead Investigator

Professor Chun-Xia Zhao

Group Leader
Zhao Group

Researchers Involved

Haofei Wang

PhD Student
Zhao Group

Qi Sun

Masters Student
Zhao Group