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Haifa Shen, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Nanomedicine, Institute for Academic Medicine
Associate Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

Dr. Shen earned his M.D. from Zhejiang University Medical School of Hangzhou, China in 1985, and his Ph. D. from the University of Texas at Houston in 1997. After completing a four-year postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, he worked on cancer drug development in the pharmaceutical industry. He returned to the University of Texas at Houston Medical School as an Assistant Professor before becoming a member of Houston Methodist Research Institute in 2010. He is currently an Associate Professor of Nanomedicine in Houston Methodist Institute for Academic Medicine in Houston, Texas. He is also an Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology in Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, New York.

Description of Research

Dr. Shen's research interest is on development of effective cancer therapeutics. His research team has designed and developed (1) an injectable nanoparticle generator platform for targeted delivery and in situ activation of prodrugs at the tumor lesion, (2) an inflammatory tumor vasculature-targeted delivery system for small molecule inhibitors and therapeutic siRNA, and (3) a highly potent therapeutic cancer nanovaccine platform. Researchers in the lab are applying these technology platforms to treat multiple cancer types.

Areas Of Expertise

Drug delivery Experimental cancer therapy Cancer vaccine Nanotechnology
Education & Training

Postdoctoral Fellowship , National Cancer Institute (NCI)
PhD , The University of Texas at Houston, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Targeting autocrine CCL5-CCR5 axis reprograms immunosuppressive myeloid cells and reinvigorates antitumor immunity
Ban, Y, Mai, J, Li, X, Mitchell-Flack, M, Zhang, T, Zhang, L, Chouchane, L, Ferrari, M, Shen, H & Ma, X 2017, Cancer Research, vol 77, no. 11, pp. 2857-2868. DOI:

A Liposome Encapsulated Ruthenium Polypyridine Complex as a Theranostic Platform for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Shen, J, Kim, HC, Wolfram, J, Mu, C, Zhang, W, Liu, H, Xie, Y, Mai, J, Zhang, H, Li, Z, Guevara, M, Mao, ZW & Shen, H 2017, Nano Letters, vol 17, no. 5, pp. 2913-2920. DOI:

Lipopolyplex potentiates anti-tumor immunity of mRNA-based vaccination
Persano, S, Guevara, ML, Li, Z, Mai, J, Ferrari, M, Pompa, PP & Shen, H 2017, Biomaterials, vol 125, pp. 81-89. DOI:

Multi-step encapsulation of chemotherapy and gene silencing agents in functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles
Shen, J, Liu, H, Mu, C, Wolfram, J, Zhang, W, Kim, HC, Zhu, G, Hu, Z, Ji, LN, Liu, X, Ferrari, M, Mao, ZW & Shen, H 2017, Nanoscale, vol 9, no. 16, pp. 5329-5341. DOI:

Taking the vehicle out of drug delivery
Shen, J, Wolfram, J, Ferrari, M & Shen, H 2017, Materials Today. DOI:

Post-nano strategies for drug delivery: multistage porous silicon microvectors
Venuta, A, Wolfram, J, Shen, H & Ferrari, M 2017, Journal of Materials Chemistry B, vol 5, no. 2, pp. 207-219. DOI:

Enzyme-responsive multistage vector for drug delivery to tumor tissue
Mi, Y, Wolfram, J, Mu, C, Liu, X, Blanco, E, Shen, H & Ferrari, M 2016, Pharmacological Research, vol 113, pp. 92-99. DOI:

Strategies for improving drug delivery: nanocarriers and microenvironmental priming
Khalid, A, Persano, S, Shen, H, Zhao, Y, Blanco, E, Ferrari, M & Wolfram, J 2016, Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery, pp. 1-13. DOI:

Label-Free Isothermal Amplification Assay for Specific and Highly Sensitive Colorimetric miRNA Detection
Persano, S, Guevara, ML, Wolfram, J, Blanco, E, Shen, H, Ferrari, M & Pompa, PP 2016, ACS omega, vol 1, no. 3, pp. 448-455. DOI:

Targeted Delivery of Shear Stress-Inducible Micrornas by Nanoparticles to Prevent Vulnerable Atherosclerotic Lesions
Wong, WT, Ma, S, Tian, XY, Gonzalez, AB, Ebong, EE & Shen, H 2016, Houston Methodist DeBakey Cardiovascular Journal, vol 12, no. 3, pp. 152-156. DOI:

A pyruvate decarboxylase-mediated therapeutic strategy for mimicking yeast metabolism in cancer cells
Scott, B, Shen, J, Nizzero, S, Boom, K, Persano, S, Mi, Y, Liu, X, Zhao, Y, Blanco, E, Shen, H, Ferrari, M & Wolfram, J 2016, Pharmacological Research, vol 111, pp. 413-421. DOI:

Targeted Delivery of Shear Stress-Inducible Micrornas by Nanoparticles to Prevent Vulnerable Atherosclerotic Lesions
Wong, WT, Ma, S, Tian, XY, Gonzalez, AB, Ebong, EE & Shen, H 2016, Methodist DeBakey cardiovascular journal, vol 12, no. 3, pp. 152-156.

Theory and Experimental Validation of a Spatio-temporal Model of Chemotherapy Transport to Enhance Tumor Cell Kill
Wang, Z, Kerketta, R, Chuang, YL, Dogra, P, Butner, JD, Brocato, TA, Day, A, Xu, R, Shen, H, Simbawa, E, AL-Fhaid, AS, Mahmoud, SR, Curley, SA, Ferrari, M, Koay, EJ & Cristini, V 2016, PLoS Computational Biology, vol 12, no. 6, e1004969. DOI:

An injectable nanoparticle generator enhances delivery of cancer therapeutics
Xu, R, Zhang, G, Mai, J, Deng, X, Segura-Ibarra, V, Wu, S, Shen, J, Liu, H, Hu, Z, Chen, L, Huang, Y, Koay, E, Huang, Y, Liu, J, Ensor, JE, Blanco, E, Liu, X, Ferrari, M & Shen, H 2016, Nature Biotechnology, vol 34, no. 4, pp. 414-418. DOI:

E-selectin-targeting delivery of microRNAs by microparticles ameliorates endothelial inflammation and atherosclerosis
Ma, S, Tian, XY, Zhang, Y, Mu, C, Shen, H, Bismuth, J, Pownall, HJ, Huang, Y & Wong, WT 2016, Scientific Reports, vol 6, 22910. DOI:

A Micro/Nano Composite for Combination Treatment of Melanoma Lung Metastasis
Mi, Y, Mu, C, Wolfram, J, Deng, Z, Hu, T, Liu, X, Blanco, E, Shen, H & Ferrari, M 2016, Advanced Healthcare Materials, vol 5, no. 8, pp. 936-46. DOI:

Effective concentration of a multi-kinase inhibitor within bone marrow correlates with in vitro cell killing in therapy-resistant chronic myeloid leukemia
Mu, C, Wu, X, Ma, H, Tao, W, Zhang, G, Xia, X, Shen, J, Mai, J, Sun, T, Sun, X, Arlinghaus, RB & Shen, H 2016, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. DOI:

In vivo targeting of leukemia stem cells by directing parthenolide-loaded nanoparticles to the bone marrow niche
Zong, H, Sen, S, Zhang, G, Mu, C, Albayati, Z, Gorenstein, DG, Liu, X, Ferrari, M, Crooks, PA, Roboz, G, Shen, H & Guzman, M 2016, Leukemia. DOI:

Silicon nanoparticles and microparticles
Mu, C & Shen, H 2016, . in Methods in Pharmacology and Toxicology. vol. 39, Methods in Pharmacology and Toxicology, vol. 39, Humana Press Inc. pp. 153-183. DOI:

Radio-photothermal therapy mediated by a single compartment nanoplatform depletes tumor initiating cells and reduces lung metastasis in orthotopic 4T1 breast tumor model
Zhou, M, Zhao, J, Tian, M, Song, S, Zhang, R, Gupta, S, Tan, D, Shen, H, Ferrari, M & Li, C 2015, Nanoscale, vol 46, no. 7, pp. 19438-19447. DOI: