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Yuliang Zhao, PhD

Full Affiliate Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist


Dr. Yuliang Zhao earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Science from the Tokyo Metropolitan University in 1999. He held faculty appointments at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing before becoming a member of Houston Methodist Research Institute in 2011. Dr. Zhao also holds adjunct faculty appointments at Peking University (Beijing), the Medical School of Jilin University (Changchun), and Sichuan University (Chengdu).

As the the founder and Director of CAS Key Lab for Biomedical Effects of Nanomaterials & Nanosafety, he directs a research program that is developing a new generation of cancer chemotherapeutics using low-toxic nanoparticles. Dr. Zhao has also been a member of nine study sections and review boards in China and Europe. He is the founder and Director of Research Center for Cancer Nanotechnology at Tianjin Cancer Hospital in China. He has served as the Associate Editor and editorial board member of seven scientific research journals since 2006.

Description of Research

Dr. Zhao's research program focuses on nanotoxicology, cancer nanotechnology, and nanochemistry. He is developing molecular dynamics modeling for designing low-toxic nanosurfaces for cancer nanotechnology applications, and for lowering the toxicity of nanomaterials in living systems. A major aim of his research is to understand the mechanisms of nanotoxicity of engineered nanoparticles in vivo. In addition, a major research goal is to characterize the structure-function relationships between the tumor microenvironment (like extracellular matrices) and engineered nanoparticles that inhibit tumor growth and metastasis. Dr. Zhao's research team at CAS collaborates with Dr. Mauro Ferrari, Dr. Ye "Tony" Hu and other faculty members of the Department of Nanomedicine at the Research Institute in the research of cancer nanotechnology and nanotechnology based biomarker identification.

Areas Of Expertise

Nanotoxicology Cancer nanotechnology Chemistry Nanoscale molecular dynamics modeling
Education & Training

Postdoctoral Fellowship , Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo
PhD , Tokyo Metropolitan University

Biodistribution, excretion, and toxicity of polyethyleneimine modified NaYF4: Yb,Er upconversion nanoparticles in mice via different administration routes
Yu, J, Yin, W, Peng, T, Chang, YN, Zu, Y, Li, J, He, X, Ma, X, Gu, Z & Zhao, Y 2017, Nanoscale, vol 9, no. 13, pp. 4497-4507. DOI:

Au Nanoclusters and Photosensitizer Dual Loaded Spatiotemporal Controllable Liposomal Nanocomposites Enhance Tumor Photodynamic Therapy Effect by Inhibiting Thioredoxin Reductase
Gao, F, Zheng, W, Gao, L, Cai, P, Liu, R, Wang, Y, Yuan, Q, Zhao, Y & Gao, X 2017, Advanced Healthcare Materials, vol 6, no. 7, 1601453. DOI:

mTOR Signaling in Parkinson’s Disease
Lan, AP, Chen, J, Zhao, Y, Chai, Z & Hu, Y 2017, NeuroMolecular Medicine, vol 19, no. 1. DOI:

Size-Dependent Ag2S Nanodots for Second Near-Infrared Fluorescence/Photoacoustics Imaging and Simultaneous Photothermal Therapy
Yang, T, Tang, YA, Liu, L, Lv, X, Wang, Q, Ke, H, Deng, Y, Yang, H, Yang, X, Liu, G, Zhao, Y & Chen, H 2017, ACS Nano, vol 11, no. 2, pp. 1848-1857. DOI:

Protein-directed synthesis of Bi2S3 nanoparticles as an efficient contrast agent for visualizing the gastrointestinal tract
Zu, Y, Yong, Y, Zhang, X, Yu, J, Dong, X, Yin, W, Yan, L, Zhao, F, Gu, Z & Zhao, Y 2017, RSC Advances, vol 7, no. 28, pp. 17505-17513. DOI:

A highly sensitive SERS-based platform for Zn(ii) detection in cellular media
Zhuang, H, Wang, Z, Zhang, X, Hutchison, JA, Zhu, W, Yao, Z, Zhao, Y & Li, M 2017, Chemical Communications, vol 53, no. 11, pp. 1797-1800. DOI:

Functionalized Nano-MoS2 with Peroxidase Catalytic and Near-Infrared Photothermal Activities for Safe and Synergetic Wound Antibacterial Applications
Yin, W, Yu, J, Lv, F, Yan, L, Zheng, LR, Gu, Z & Zhao, Y 2016, ACS Nano, vol 10, no. 12, pp. 11000-11011. DOI:

Bifunctional Platinated Nanoparticles for Photoinduced Tumor Ablation
Guo, Z, Zou, Y, He, H, Rao, J, Ji, S, Cui, X, Ke, H, Deng, Y, Yang, H, Chen, C, Zhao, Y & Chen, H 2016, Advanced Materials, vol 28, no. 46, pp. 10155-10164. DOI:

Gold Nanomaterials in Consumer Cosmetics Nanoproducts: Analyses, Characterization, and Dermal Safety Assessment
Cao, M, Li, J, Tang, J, Chen, C & Zhao, Y 2016, Small, vol 12, no. 39, pp. 5488-5496. DOI:

Qureshi, WA, Zhao, R, Wang, H, Ji, T, Ding, Y, Ihsan, A, Mujeeb, A, Nie, G & Zhao, Y 2016, Science Bulletin, pp. 1-10. DOI:

Comparison of cellular effects of starch-coated SPIONs and poly(Lactic-co-glycolic acid) matrix nanoparticles on human monocytes
Gonnissen, D, Qu, Y, Langer, K, Öztürk, C, Zhao, Y, Chen, C, Seebohm, G, Düfer, M, Fuchs, H, Galla, HJ & Riehemann, K 2016, International Journal of Nanomedicine, vol 11, pp. 5221-5236. 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:

C60(OH)22: A potential histone deacetylase inhibitor with anti-angiogenic activity
Sun, C, Wang, L, Gao, D, Pan, Y, Zhao, Y, Chen, C & Guo, M 2016, Nanoscale, vol 8, no. 36, pp. 16332-16339. DOI:

Single-pulse enhanced coherent diffraction imaging of bacteria with an X-ray free-electron laser
Fan, J, Sun, Z, Wang, Y, Park, J, Kim, S, Gallagher-Jones, M, Kim, Y, Song, C, Yao, S, Zhang, J, Zhang, J, Duan, X, Tono, K, Yabashi, M, Ishikawa, T, Fan, C, Zhao, Y, Chai, Z, Gao, X, Earnest, T & Jiang, H 2016, Scientific Reports, vol 6, 34008. 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:

Protein-Nanoreactor-Assisted Synthesis of Semiconductor Nanocrystals for Efficient Cancer Theranostics
Yang, T, Wang, Y, Ke, H, Wang, Q, Lv, X, Wu, H, Tang, Y, Yang, X, Chen, C, Zhao, Y & Chen, H 2016, Advanced Materials, pp. 5923-5930. DOI:

Mesoporous Bamboo Charcoal Nanoparticles as a New Near-Infrared Responsive Drug Carrier for Imaging-Guided Chemotherapy/Photothermal Synergistic Therapy of Tumor
Dong, X, Yin, W, Yu, J, Dou, R, Bao, T, Zhang, X, Yan, L, Yong, Y, Su, C, Wang, Q, Gu, Z & Zhao, Y 2016, Advanced Healthcare Materials, vol 5, no. 13, pp. 1627-1637. DOI:

Nitric oxide-generating L-cysteine-grafted graphene film as a blood-contacting biomaterial
Du, Z, Dou, R, Zu, M, Liu, X, Yin, W, Zhao, Y, Chen, J, Yan, L & Gu, Z 2016, Biomaterials Science, vol 4, no. 6, pp. 938-942. DOI:

SERS-based sensing technique for trace melamine detection - A new method exploring
Zhuang, H, Zhu, W, Yao, Z, Li, M & Zhao, Y 2016, Talanta, vol 153, pp. 186-190. DOI:

Hesperetin liposomes for cancer therapy
Wolfram, J, Scott, B, Boom, K, Shen, J, Borsoi, C, Suri, K, Grande, R, Fresta, M, Celia, C, Zhao, Y, Shen, H & Ferrari, M 2016, Current Drug Delivery, vol 13, no. 5, pp. 711-719.