Qingguo Xu, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Pharmaceutics
Faculty/Staff picture [View Image]
  •   Smith Building, Room 454C
  • School of Pharmacy - Dept of Pharmaceutics
    410 N 12th Street
    P.O. Box 980533
    Richmond, VA 23298-0533
  •  (804) 828-6431
    (804) 828-8359
Dr. Xu has experience in materials science, drug delivery, nanotechnology, and physiochemical characterization of mucosal and tissue barriers to drug delivery systems. My lab focuses on translational medical research, and Dr. Xu is an inventor on 13 pending or awarded patents, at least three of which have been licensed to industry for commercialization. Dr. Xu runs active research program with two NIH (National Institutes of Health) grants (~$3.6M) and one FDA grant ($1.1M). Dr. Xu won prestigious awards, including Blick Scholar (VCU), Young Investigator of Controlled Release Society - Ocular Delivery, AOPT Young Investigator Travel Award, Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Award, AAPS/Genentech Innovation in Biotechnology Award, EBAA - Richard Lindstrom Research Award.

Area of Focus

  • OPEN POSITIONS: Postdoc fellowship positions are available in Prof. Qingguo Xu's lab. Passionate and driven researchers with a strong background in polymers, biomaterials, nanomedicine, drug delivery or other biomedical research are welcome to apply. Qualified applicants are asked to submit a cover letter with a brief description of research experience, interests and career goals (2 pages), a CV, and contact information for three references to qxu@vcu.edu. The positions will remain open until filled.
  • PhD candidates: We are welcoming self-motivated, talented PhD student candidate for our Pharmaceutical Sciences (PhD) program. VCU pharmacy ranks #17 by US News, and the PI has active NIH (R01) and FDA-funded nanomedicine / drug delivery research program. PhD students will get comprehensive training in translational nanomedicine.


  • Ph.D., Materials Science (University of Oxford, 2009)
  • M.A., Materials Science (Tianjin University, China, 2004)
  • B.A., Polymer Materials and Engineering (Tianjin University, China, 2002)

Post-Graduate Training

  • Postdoctoral fellow - Ophthalmology (Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2013)

Professional Experience

  • (2020 - Present) Affiliate Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • (2019 - Present) Member, Institute for Structural Biology, Drug Discovery and Development (ISB3D), School of Pharmacy, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • (2019 - Present) Blick Scholar Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • (2017 - Present) Affiliate Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, and Massey Cancer Center, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • (2017 - Present) Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • (2013 - 2017) Research Associate, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • (2008 - 2010) Process Scientist, Unilever R&D at Colworth, Bedford, United Kingdom

Professional and Scholarly Interests

  • Nanomedicine; Drug Delivery; Biomaterials; Ocular Diseases; Opioid Use Disorder; Pulmonary Drug Delivery and Aerosol

Research Interests

  • My research program focuses on applying engineering principles to advance our understanding of biological barriers to drugs and foreign body immune responses to biomaterials within the context of disease physiology, while developing cutting-edge nanotherapeutic-based treatments for ocular (eye) disorders, opioid use disorder (drug abuse), lung infections and other diseases.



  • Q. Xu, Q. Pan, NJ Boylan, B. Wang, L. Luo, WJ Stark, J. Hanes. Glucocorticosteroid-loaded nanoparticles for prevention of corneal allograft rejection and neovascularization, Patent pending, WO2016025215A1, Aug 4, 2015
  • J. Fu, J. Hanes, J. Kays, Y. Yu, M. Yang, J. Cleland, W. Stark, Q. Xu, J. Yang, Sunitinib formulations and methods for use thereof in treatment of ocular disorders, Patent pending, PCT/US2015/065894, Dec 15, 2015
  • B. Slusher, J. Hanes, A. Lee, Q. Xu, J. Fu, Glutaminase inhibitor discovery and nanoparticle-enhanced delivery to pancreatic tumors, Patent pending, PCT/US2015/039579, Jul 8, 2015
  • J. Hanes, Q. Xu, N. Boylan, Nanoparticles with enhanced mucosal penetration or decreased inflammation, Patent pending, WO2013090804A2, Jun 20, 2013
  • F. Kashiwabuchi, J. Hanes, H. Mao, P. McDonnell, H. Patel, Q. Xu, S. Zhang, Drug loaded microfiber sutures for ophthalmic application, Granted Patent number, US9,533,068, Jan 3, 2017
  • A. Bot, J. Peng, Q. Xu, S. Zhu, Aerated oil containing sucrose fatty acid ester and hydrophobin, Patent pending, WO 2013174585 A1, Nov 28, 2013
  • D. Aldred, A. Bot, P. Knight, J. Peng, J. Wieringa, Q. Xu, S. Zhu, Method for production of aerated water-in-oil emulsions and aerated emulsions, Granted Patent number, EP2833729 B1, Dec 9, 2015
  • A. Williams, Q. Xu, S. Zhu, Aerated chocolate composition and preparation thereof. Granted Patent number, EP2621287 B1, Apr 8, 2015
  • A. Bot, M. Hemelaar, Q. Xu, S. Zhu, Edible fat continuous product comprising sucrose fatty acid ester and particulate anti-spattering agent, Patent pending, WO2015036164 (PCT/EP2014066412), Mar 19, 2015

Recent Publications

  • Linssen R *, Chai G *, Ma J, Kummarapurugu A, van Woensel J, Nem R, Kaler L, Duncan G, Zhou L, Rubin B, Xu Q #, Neutrophil Extracellular Traps increase airway mucus viscoelasticity and impede particle transit, American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, 2020, doi.org/10.1165/rcmb.2020-0168OC
  • Xuan W, Moothedathu Raynold A, Meng T, Zheng J, Xu Q #, 3D engineering for optic neuropathy treatment, Drug Discovery Today, 2020, doi.org/10.1016/j.drudis.2020.09.034
  • Yang J, Luo L, Oh Y, Meng T, Xia S, Emmert D, Wang B, Suarez M, Eberhart C, Lee S, Stark W, Ensign L, Hanes J, Xu Q #, Sunitinib malate-loaded biodegradable microspheres for the prevention of corneal neovascularization in rats, Journal of Controlled Release, 2020, 327, 456-466.
  • Chai G, A Hanssan, T Meng, Lou L, Ma J, Simmers R, Rubin B, Zhou QT, Longest PW, Hindle M, Xu Q #, Dry powder aerosol containing muco-inert particles for excipient enhanced growth pulmonary drug delivery, Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, 2020, 29, 102262.
  • Chai G, Park H, Yu S, Zhou F, Li J, Xu Q, Zhou QT, Evaluation of co-delivery of colistin and ciprofloxacin in liposomes using an in vitro human lung epithelial cell model, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 2019, 569, 118616.
  • Qiu F, Meng T, Chen Q, Zhou K, Shao Y, Matlock G, Ma X, Wu W, Du Y, Wang X, Deng G, Ma J #, Xu Q#, Fenofibrate-loaded biodegradable nanoparticles for the treatment of experimental diabetic retinopathy and neovascular age-related macular degeneration, Molecular Pharmaceutics, 2019, 16, 1958-1970
  • Meng T, Kulkarni V, Simmers R, Brar V, Xu Q#, The therapeutic implications of nanomedicine for ocular drug delivery, Drug Discovery Today, 2019, doi.org/10.1016/j.drudis.2019.05.006
  • Udupa S, Nguyen S, Hoang G, Nguyen T, Quinones A, Pham K, Asaka R, Nguyen K, Elgogary A, Jung J, Xu Q, Fu J, Thomas A, Tsukamoto T, Hanes J, Slusher B, Cooper A, Le A. Upregulation of the glutaminase II pathway contributes to glutamate production upon glutaminase 1 inhibition in pancreatic cancer, Proteomics, 2019, doi.org/10.1002/pmic.201800451
  • Zhu X, He W, Du Y, Kraus C, Xu Q, Sun T, Yu J, Lu Y, Presence of posterior staphyloma in congenital cataract children, Curr Eye Res, 2019, doi.org/10.1080/02713683.2019.1637437
  • Luo L, Yang J, Oh Y, Hartsock M, Xia S, Kim Y, Ding Z, Meng T, Eberhart C, Ensign L, Thorne J, Stark W, Duh E, Xu Q#, Hanes J#, Controlled release of corticosteroid with biodegradable nanoparticles for treating experimental autoimmune uveitis, J Controlled Release, 2019, doi.org/10.1016/j.jconrel.2019.01.018
  • Wang B*, Tang Y*, Oh Y, Lamb N, Xia S, Ding Z, Chen B, Suarez M, Meng T, Kulkarni V, Eberhart C, Ensign L, Stark W, Hanes J, Xu Q#. Controlled release of dexamethasone sodium phosphate with biodegradable nanoparticles for preventing experimental corneal neovascularization, Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, 2019, doi.org/10.1016/j.nano.2019.01.001
  • C. Schneider*, Q. Xu*, N. Boylan*, J. Chisholm, B. Tang, B. Schuster, A. Henning, L. Ensign, E. Lee, P. Adstamonghonhul, B. Simons, X. Gong, S. Wang, T. Yu, M. Boyle, J. Suk, J. Hanes, Nanoparticles that do not adhere to mucus provide uniform and long-lasting drug delivery to airways following inhalation, Science Advances, 2017, 3(4): e1601556.
  • A. Elgogary*, Q. Xu*, B. Poore, J. Alt, S. Zimmermann, L. Zhao, J. Fu, B. Chen, S. Xia, Y. Liu, M. Neisser, C. Nguyen, R. Lee, J. Park, J. Reyes, T. Hartung, C. Rojas, R. Rais, T. Tsukamoto, G. Semenza, J. Hanes, B. Slusher, A. Le, Combination therapy with BPTES nanoparticles and metformin targets the metabolic heterogeneity of pancreatic cancer, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2016, 113(36):E5328-5336.
  • Q. Xu, L. Ensign, N. L. Boylan, A. Schon, X. Gong, J. Yang, N. Lamb, S. Cai, T. Yu, E. Freire, J. Hanes, Impact of surface polyethylene glycol (PEG) density on biodegradable nanoparticle transport in mucus ex vivo and distribution in vivo. ACS Nano, 2015, 9(9), 9217-9227.
  • Q. Pan*, Q. Xu*, N.J. Boylan, N.W. Lamb, D. Emmert, J. Yang, L. Tang, C.G. Eberhart, J. Hanes, W.J. Stark, Corticosteroid-loaded biodegradable nanoparticles for pretention of corneal allograft rejection in rats, J Control Release, 2015, 201, 32-40.
  • E. Nance, C. Zhang, T. Shih, Q. Xu, B. Schuster, J. Hanes, Brain-penetrating nanoparticles improve paclitaxel efficacy in malignant gliomas, ACS Nano, 2014, 8(10):10655-64.
  • Q. Xu, N. Boylan, B. Miao, S. Cai, H. Patel, J. Hanes, Scalable method to produce biodegradable nanoparticles that rapidly penetrate human mucus, J Control Release, 2013, 170, 279-286.
  • Q. Xu, N. Boylan, J. Suk, Y. Wang, E. Nance, J. Yang, P. McDonnell, R. Cone, E. Duh, J. Hanes, Nanoparticle diffusion in, and microrheology of, the bovine vitreous ex vivo, J Control Release, 2013,167, 76-84.
  • E. Nance, G. Woodworth, K. Sailor, T. Shih, Q. Xu, G. Swaminathan, D. Xiang, C. Eberhart, J. Hanes, A dense poly(ethylene glycol) coating improves penetration of large polymeric nanoparticles within brain tissue, Sci Transl Med, 4 (2012) 149ra119
  • D. White, S. Sengupta, M. Saxena, Q. Xu, J. Hanes, D Ding, H. Ji, and J. Mumm. Innate immune system regulation of retinal regeneration – immunomodulatory enhancement of photoreceptor replacement kinetics in zebrafish, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2017, doi/10.1073/pnas.1617721114
  • F. Kashiwabuchi, K. Parikh, R. Omiadze, S. Zhang, L. Luo, H. Patel, Q. Xu, L. Ensign, H. Mao, J. Hanes, P. McDonnell, Development of absorbable, antibiotic-eluting sutures for ophthalmic surgery, Transl Vis Sci Tech. 2017, 6(1): 1.
View graphic versionView graphic versionView graphic version