Lab of ImmunoEngineering and ImmunoTheranostics VCU School of Pharmacy

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Our Team


We are a team of talented and passionate scientists with diverse background and common motivation to improve human health via research and innovation.

Principle Investigator


Guizhi (Julian) Zhu


Assistant Professor (2018 - present) 
Department of Pharmaceutics , School of Pharmacy , Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA. 

Associate Member, Developmental Therapeutics Program, Massay Cancer Center 

Postdoc fellow (2014 - 2018) 
Laboratory of Molecular Imaging and Nanomedicine, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), NIH, Bethesda, MD. (Advisor: Dr. Shawn Chen) 

Ph.D. (2008 - 2013) 
Medical Sciences - Physiology & Pharmacology 
Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. (Advisor: Dr. Weihong Tan) 

B.S. (2004 - 2008) 
Biotechnology, Nankai University, Tianjin, China

Our Team


Ting Su

Post Doctoral Fellow | PhD, Sichuan University, China


Dr. Ting Su graduated from Tianjin University, China, in 2012 with a B.S. in Materials Chemistry. Ting attained her M.S. and Ph.D. from Sichuan University in Dr. Bin He's lab, where she focused on the development of biodegradable polymers and controlled drug delivery system in cancer therapy.

She joined Julian’s lab to continue her postdoctoral training since late 2018, where she focuses on the development of immunotherapeutic nanoparticles based on polymer materials.

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Furong Cheng, PhD

Postdoc

PhD, Sichuan University

Dr. Cheng graduated from Beijing University of Chemical Technology in 2013 with a B.S. in Biomedical Materials. He obtained his M.S. and Ph.D from Sichuan University in the labs of Dr. Xianglin Luo and Dr. Bin He, where he focused on the development of biomedical polymers and their application in chemotherapy. He joined Dr. Zhu’s lab in October 2019, where he focuses on the development of polymer material-based immune drug delivery.

Yu Zhang

Post Doctoral Fellow | PhD, Lanzhou University, China


Dr. Zhang graduated from Hunan University, China, in 2011 with a B.A. in Chemistry. He attained his PhD from the Lanzhou University in 2016, where he focused on the development of rare-earth nanomaterial for biological applications in the lab of Dr. Yu Tang. Dr. Zhang then pursued the first stage of his postdoctoral training at the Chinese Academy of Sciences under the guidance of Dr. Xiaohong Fang and Dr. Weihong Tan.

Yu’s project at the Chinese Academy of Sciences focused on the DNA-functionalized nanoprobes for biomarker biosensing and bioimaging in vivo. Yu joined Dr. Zhu’s Lab in January 2019 to develop DNA-functionalized nanovaccines for cancer immunotherapy.

Tingting Shen

Post Doctoral Fellow | PhD, Lanzhou University, China


Dr. Shen graduated from Lanzhou University in 2011 with a B.A. in Chemistry. She attained her PhD from the Lanzhou University in 2016, where she focused on the development of rare-earth doped nanomaterial for multi-color adjustment in the lab of Dr. Yu Tang. During her postdoctoral training at Hunan University, Dr. Shen's research was focused on DNA-functionalized inorganic nanomaterials for photodynamic therapy.

She joined the Dr. Guizhi Zhu’s Lab in January 2019 study DNA-RNA functionalized nanovaccines for cancer immunotherapy.

Wenjie Chen

Post Doctoral Fellow | PhD, Macquarie University, Australia


Dr. Chen has a BSc degree from China Pharmaceutical University, China, before he started research on the non-viral gene delivery systems in Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. In Spring 2015 he moved to Macquarie University to pursue his doctoral career, supported by iMQRES scholarship. Dr. Chen finalized his PhD in Fall 2018 in biomaterial, in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, where he focused on the development of photo-induced nanomaterial used for gene/drug delivery in the lab of Prof. Ewa Goldys.

After a short postdoctoral training at the University of Minnesota, then he joined Dr. Zhu Lab in spring 2019. His current research interests include nucleic acid delivery, nanomedicine based cancer immunotherapy and gene therapy.

Shurong Zhou

Graduate Student | MS, Peking University, China


Shurong Zhou graduated from Peking University in 2019, where she obtained her B.S. and M.S.
in pharmaceutical sciences. During her research training for master program, she worked on
constructing a novel delivery system for oral protein delivery.

She joined Dr. Zhu’s lab for further
study on immunotheranostics and drug delivery for cancer immunotherapy.

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Jialong Qi, MS

Visiting scholar

Peking Union Medical College, Tsinghua University

Jialong graduated from Lanzhou University in 2012 with a B.A. in School of Public Health, followed by a M.S. degree from Xiamen University under the mentorship of Prof. Ningshao Xia, where he focused on the development of diagnostic reagents and anti-HIV neutralization monoclonal antibodies. In 2017, he moved to Peking Union Medical College, Institute of Medical Biology Chinese Academy of Medical Science to for doctoral study, where he focused on the regulation of tumor microenvironment in the lab of Prof. Yanbing Ma. He joined Dr. Zhu’s lab to study drug delivery systems and mechanisms for cancer immunotherapy.

 

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Nadia Tasnim Ahmed, M.Pharm. MS

Graduate student

Nadia has received her professional pharmacy degree from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. She also has an M.Pharm degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the same place. Later she attended the University of South Florida to obtain a master's degree in Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology. There her work was on developing a targeted dual drug delivery system for lung cancer therapy. She joined Dr. Zhu’s lab as a doctoral student to study drug and gene delivery for cancer immunotherapy.

Kush Shah

Undergraduate Student | VCU Honors College, USA


Kush is a junior in the Honors College at VCU as a double major in Biology and Psychology with a minor in Chemistry. Kush joined the lab to learn more about the field of nano therapy based cancer immunotherapy.

Janét Cole

Undergraduate Student | VCU, USA


Janét is a senior at VCU with a major in Biology. Janét joined the lab to learn more on cancer and explore nanomedicine based cancer immunotherapy.

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Moazan graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2020 with a B.S. in Professional Sciences and minors in Chemistry, Biology and Economics. He joined the lab to further expand on the basic knowledge he amassed during his undergraduate tenure, specifically in regard to the mechanisms of how immunotherapeutics and nucleic acid therapeutics can be utilized as a form of treatment for cancer. 

Lujun Hu

Visiting Scholar | PhD, Jiangnan University, China


Dr. Lujun Hu received his B.S. degree from Southwest University, China, and M.S. degree from the Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Sichuan, China. He graduated from Jiangnan University, China, with a PhD degree in Dr. Wei Chen’s lab, where he focused on the detection of bifidobacteria on the basis of aptamers and high-throughput sequencing.

He joined Dr. Zhu’s lab in April 2019 to develop diagnostics and prognostics in cancer immunotherapy.

Weinan Wang

Visiting Scholar | PhD, Peking University, China


Dr. Weinan Wang graduated from Changchun University of Chinese Medicine (CCUCM) in 2007 with a B.S. in Natural Product Chemistry. He attained his PhD from Peking University in 2013, where he focused on development of multiple analysis strategies to monitor the chemical variations of different natural compounds in dark tea during processing under the supervision of Prof. Pengfei Tu. He then became a faculty of CCUCM after graduation and joined Prof. Zhidong Qiu’s group to proceed researches on natural product discovery with different analytical techniques, including LC-MS (Orbit-Trap, Q-TOF, QQQ), NMR, IR, SERS etc.

He joined Dr. Zhu’s lab in May 2019 to develop analysis strategies for the discovery of molecular probe to facilitate the individualized mouse "patient" stratification and therapy response monitoring during cancer immunotherapy.

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