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Kenji Yokoi, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor in Nanomedicine, Institute for Academic Medicine
Assistant Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist


Dr. Yokoi received his M.D. degree in 1992 and Ph.D. degree in 1997 from the Kanazawa University, School of Medicine and Graduate School of Medicine respectively. Dr. Yokoi completed his postgraduate research fellowship at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. He then accepted a position as an instructor in the Department of Cancer Biology at MD Anderson and as an instructor of general and cardiothoracic surgery for Kanazawa University Hospital in Japan.

He was appointed to the position of assistant professor in the department of cancer biology at MD Anderson in 2007 and then as an assistant member in the department of nanomedicine in The Methodist Hospital Research Institute in 2011. Dr. Yokoi has also held the position of visiting scientist in the department of cancer biology at MD Anderson since 2011 and guest researcher for the Cancer Research Institute of Kanazawa University since 2008-present.

Description of Research

Dr. Yokoi’s develops novel therapies and imaging techniques for cancer using nanotechnologies. His basic research program defines the structure-permeability of tumor associated vessels to nanoparticles using various orthotopic mouse models of cancer. The over goal of these studies is to develop personalized therapy for cancer based on selection strategies that define the optimal drug loaded nanoparticles for a patient, based on the biodistribution properties of nanoparticles.

Areas Of Expertise

Cancer Biology Drug delivery Nanotechnology Imaging Nanomedicine
Education & Training

PhD , Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medicine
Postdoctoral Fellowship , University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Macrophage polarization contributes to the anti-tumoral efficacy of mesoporous nanovectors loaded with albumin-bound paclitaxel
Leonard, F, Curtis, LT, Ware, MJ, Nosrat, T, Liu, X, Yokoi, K, Frieboes, HB & Godin, B 2017, Frontiers in Immunology, vol 8, no. JUN, 693. DOI:

Computational analysis of drug transport in tumor microenvironment as a critical compartment for nanotherapeutic pharmacokinetics
Ziemys, A, Klemm, S, Milosevic, M, Yokoi, K, Ferrari, M & Kojic, M 2016, Drug Delivery, vol 23, no. 7, pp. 2524-2531. DOI:

Enhanced performance of macrophage-encapsulated nanoparticle albumin-bound-paclitaxel in hypo-perfused cancer lesions
Leonard, F, Curtis, LT, Yesantharao, P, Tanei, T, Alexander, JF, Wu, M, Lowengrub, J, Liu, X, Ferrari, M, Yokoi, K, Frieboes, HB & Godin, B 2016, Nanoscale, vol 8, no. 25, pp. 12544-12552. DOI:

A specifically designed nanoconstruct associates, internalizes, traffics in cardiovascular cells, and accumulates in failing myocardium: A new strategy for heart failure diagnostics and therapeutics
Ruiz-Esparza, GU, Segura-Ibarra, V, Cordero-Reyes, AM, Youker, KA, Serda, RE, Cruz-Solbes, AS, Amione-Guerra, J, Yokoi, K, Kirui, DK, Cara, FE, Paez-Mayorga, J, Flores-Arredondo, JH, Guerrero-Beltrán, CE, Garcia-Rivas, G, Ferrari, M, Blanco, E & Torre-Amione, G 2016, European Journal of Heart Failure, vol 18, no. 2, pp. 169-178. DOI:

The protein kinase promiscuities in the cancer-preventive mechanisms of NSAIDs
Norvaisas, P, Chan, D, Yokoi, K, Dave, B & Ziemys, A 2016, European journal of cancer prevention : the official journal of the European Cancer Prevention Organisation (ECP), vol 25, no. 1, pp. 77-84. DOI:

Liposomal doxorubicin extravasation controlled by phenotype-specific transport properties of tumor microenvironment and vascular barrier
Yokoi, K, Chan, D, Kojic, M, Milosevic, M, Engler, D, Matsunami, R, Tanei, T, Saito, Y, Ferrari, M & Ziemys, A 2015, Journal of Controlled Release, vol 217, pp. 293-299. DOI:

Capillary collagen as the physical transport barrier in drug delivery to tumor microenvironment
Ziemys, A , Yokoi, K & Kojic, M 2015, Tissue barriers, vol 3, no. 3, pp. e1037418. DOI:

Microfluidic cytometric analysis of cancer cell transportability and invasiveness
Liu, Z, Lee, Y, Jang, JH, Li, Y, Han, X, Yokoi, K, Ferrari, M, Zhou, L & Qin, L 2015, Scientific Reports, vol 5, 14272. DOI:

Retinal synaptic regeneration via microfluidic guiding channels
Su, PJ, Liu, Z, Zhang, K, Han, X, Saito, Y, Xia, X, Yokoi, K, Shen, H & Qin, L 2015, Scientific Reports, vol 5, 13591. DOI:

A new imaging platform for visualizing biological effects of non-invasive radiofrequency electric-field cancer hyperthermia
Corr, SJ, Shamsudeen, S, Vergara, LA, Chak-Shing Ho, J, Ware, MJ, Keshishian, V, Yokoi, K, Savage, DJ, Meraz, IM, Kaluarachchi, W, Cisneros, BT, Raoof, M, Nguyen, DT, Zhang, Y, Wilson, LJ, Summers, H, Rees, P, Curley, SA & Serda, RE 2015, PLoS ONE, vol 10, no. 8, e0136382. DOI:

RSPO2 enhances canonical wnt signaling to confer stemness-associated traits to susceptible pancreatic cancer cells
Ilmer, M, Boiles, AR, Regel, I, Yokoi, K, Michalski, CW, Wistuba, II, Rodriguez, J, Alt, E & Vykoukal, J 2015, Cancer Research, vol 75, no. 9, pp. 1883-1896. DOI:

Enhanced gene delivery in porcine vasculature tissue following incorporation of adeno-associated virus nanoparticles into porous silicon microparticles
McConnell, KI, Rhudy, J, Yokoi, K, Gu, J, Mack, A, Suh, J, La Francesca, S, Sakamoto, J & Serda, RE 2014, Journal of Controlled Release, vol 194, pp. 113-121. DOI:

Capillary-wall collagen as a biophysical marker of nanotherapeutic permeability into the tumor microenvironment
Yokoi, K , Kojic, M, Milosevic, M, Tanei, T, Ferrari, M & Ziemys, A 2014, Cancer Research, vol 74, no. 16, pp. 4239-4246. DOI:

Multivalent presentation of MPL by porous silicon microparticles favors T helper 1 polarization enhancing the anti-tumor efficacy of doxorubicin nanoliposomes
Meraz, I, Hearnden, CH, Liu, X, Yang, M, Williams, L, Savage, DJ, Gu, J, Rhudy, JR, Yokoi, K, Lavelle, EC & Serda, RE 2014, PLoS ONE, vol 9, no. 4, e94703. DOI:

Serum biomarkers for personalization of nanotherapeutics-based therapy in different tumor and organ microenvironments
Yokoi, K, Tanei, T, Godin, B, van de Ven, AL, Hanibuchi, M, Matsunoki, A, Alexander, J & Ferrari, M 2014, Cancer Letters, vol 345, no. 1, pp. 48-55. DOI:

Porous silicon nanocarriers for dual targeting tumor associated endothelial cells and macrophages in stroma of orthotopic human pancreatic cancers
Yokoi, K , Godin, B, Oborn, CJ, Alexander, JF, Liu, X, Fidler, IJ & Ferrari, M 2013, Cancer Letters, vol 334, no. 2, pp. 319-327. DOI:

Modeling the tumor microenvironment as a biobarrier in cancer nanotherapeutics
Frieboes, HB, Yokoi, K, Dave, B, Hussain, F & Godin, B 2012, . in Mass Transport of Nanocarriers. Pan Stanford Publishing Pte. Ltd. pp. 137-183. DOI:

Discoidal porous silicon particles: Fabrication and biodistribution in breast cancer bearing mice
Godin, B, Chiappini, C, Srinivasan, S, Alexander, JF, Yokoi, K, Ferrari, M, Decuzzi, P & Liu, X 2012, Advanced Functional Materials, vol 22, no. 20, pp. 4225-4235. DOI:

NGAL expression is elevated in both colorectal adenoma-carcinoma sequence and cancer progression and enhances tumorigenesis in xenograft mouse models
Sun, Y, Yokoi, K, Li, H, Gao, J, Hu, L, Liu, B, Chen, K, Hamilton, SR, Fan, D, Sun, B & Zhang, W 2011, Clinical Cancer Research, vol 17, no. 13, pp. 4331-4340. DOI:

Identification and validation of Src and Phospho-Src family proteins in circulating mononuclear cells as novel biomarkers for pancreatic cancer
Yokoi, K, Hawke, D, Oborn, CJ, Jang, JY, Nishioka, Y, Fan, D, Kim, SW, Kim, SJ & Fidler, IJ 2011, Translational Oncology, vol 4, no. 2, pp. 83-91. DOI: