People

Ke Cheng

Principal Investigator

Dr. Ke Cheng is a Randall B. Terry, Jr. Distinguished Professor in Regenerative Medicine in the Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences at NC State University and in the UNC/NCSU joint Department of Biomedical Engineering. He is an adjunct professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. He also serves as the co-director of the functional tissue engineering program at the Comparative Medicine Institute. Dr. Cheng’s formal education began with a B.S. degree in Pharmaceutical Engineering from the Zhejiang University, followed by a Ph.D. degree in Biological Engineering from University of Georgia and post-graduate training and junior faculty experiences at UCLA School of Medicine and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Cheng's research results has been published into publications in journals like Lancet, Nature BME, Nature Comms, Science Advances, J of Clinical Investigation, Circulation, Circulation Research, Biomaterials and others. His work has been directly translated into two successful Investigation New Drug (IND) applications and licensed to several biotech companies. Dr. Cheng is Associate Editor of J Cell Mol Med and editorial board member of Circulation Research. He is a Fellow of AIBME and AHA. He is also a chartered member of the NIH BMBI Study Section (2019-2023).

Dashuai Zhu

Postdoctoral Scientist

Dashuai received his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Nankai University, China and then he became a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences at NC State University. His researches focuses on myocardial repair and regeneration after ischemic insults by using of biomedical engineering techniques. Dashuai has lots of animal handling experiences, including surgery, medication/treatment, as well as histological processing and pathological evaluation. In his free time, he enjoys movies and swimming.

Xuan Mei

Postdoctoral Scientist

Xuan received his Ph.D. degree from the College of Chemistry at Beijing University of Chemical Technology, China in 2019. His research focuses on the development of functionalized 2D nanomaterials for biomedical applications, including drug delivery, cellular imaging and cancer diagnostics. Xuan has lots of experience on the synthesis of nanomaterials as well as conducting basic surgeries and related analyses for small animals. In his free time, he enjoys reading, playing basketball and Switch.

Mengrui Liu

Postdoctoral Scientist

Mengrui received her Ph.D. degree from College of Pharmacy at Shandong University, China in 2019. Her research focuses on the design and application of nano-scale drug delivery systems for cancer therapy. She was also trained the modulation of tumor microenvironment in Dr. Leaf Huang’s Lab at UNC. Mengrui has lots of experience in the synthesis of multifunctional nanomaterials, nanoparticle preparation and mice model establishment. Outside lab, she enjoys reading, hiking, and traveling with her family and friends.

Uyen Dinh

Postdoctoral Scientist

Uyen is a postdoctoral scientist in the Comparative Biomedical Sciences program at the NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Biology (focused in Genetics), with minors in Chemistry and Studio Arts. Her undergraduate research thesis, "Genetics of Speciation in Drosophila Ananassae from Southeast Asia and the South Pacific Islands", under the guidance of Dr. Malcolm Schug. Before returning to school to pursue her Ph.D. degree she worked for about two years for Eton Bioscience, a DNA sequencing company in the RTP area. Her current research focuses on developing a therapeutic to treatment pulmonary fibrosis. In her free time she enjoys spending time with Sterling, her Husky puppy, traveling, and working out.

Zhenhua Li

Postdoctoral Scientist

Zhenhua is an Associate Professor in the College of Chemistry & Environmental Science of Hebei University. He received his Ph.D. degree in Inorganic Chemistry from the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry (CIAC), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jilin, China. His research Interests focused on the synthesis and characterization of functionalized nanomaterials and their applications in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. His academic profile can be referred to by the Orcid number: 0000-0001-9751-0864 (http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9751-0864). Outside of the lab, he enjoys self-driving roadtrips with his family and friends.

Shiqi Hu

Postdoctoral Scientist

Shiqi received her Ph.D. degree from the College of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Zhejiang University, China in 2017. She has lots of experience on anticancer drug delivery systems and tumor microenvironment, including polymer synthesis, nanoparticles preparation and establishment of cancer models.

Chi Zhang

Visiting Scientist

Chi received his Ph.D. degree from the Secondary Military Medical University, Shanghai, China. He currently works in the Sixth Hospital of Shanghai as an attending doctor. His research direction mainly focuses on the nano-materials and MSC treatment of ortheopaedic diseases. Chi has lots of experiences in the clinical setting of bone disease such as bone nonunion and HO, among others. Outside of the lab, Chi enjoys the family time with his daughter and wife and travelling with his friends.

Xianyun Wang

Visiting Scientist

Xianyun received her Ph.D. degree from the Fuwai Cardiovascular Hospital of Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China. Currently she works in the First Hospital of Hebei Medical University as an associate researcher. Her research direction mainly focuses on the basic and clinical translational research of stem cell therapy on cardiovascular diseases. Xianyun has lots of experiences in the document preparation of clinical research from stem cell treatment and in quality control of stem cell applications in the hospital setting. Outside of the lab, Xianyun enjoys the video chatting with her daughter and husband and travelling with her family and friends.

Mengjie Xie

Visiting Scientist

Mengjie Xie received his Bachelor's degree in Clinical Medicine from the Health Science Center, Peking University, in 2018 and is currently a postgraduate student in Beijing Hospital, majoring in Obstetrics. He has completed a clinical intership and has lots of experience in internal medicine, surgery, gynaecology and obstetrics.

Guojun Yang

Visiting Scientist

Guojun received her Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Medicine from Xiangya School of Medicine, Central South University with a minor in psychiatry in 2014. Now she is a Ph.D. and M.D. student of Peking Union Medical College, Tsinghua University. Her research work focuses on cartilage tissue engineering and its clinical application. In her free time, she enjoys jogging and swimming.

Sichen Zhang

Visiting Scientist

Sichen received her Master's degree from China Medical University. She is a Ph.D. student of China Union Medical Collage and works for Beijing Hospital as an attending doctor. Her research focuses on stem cells therapy for female primary ovarian insufficiency. Sichen has more than eight years of clinical experiences, especially in the management of female diseases, child birth, and gestational complications. She enjoys sports, especially swimming, and travelling with her husband and son.

Kristen Popowski

PhD student

Kristen is a Ph.D. student in the Comparative Biomedical Sciences program at NC State University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research focuses on the use of pulmonary stem cells for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her cat, Oliver.

Junlang Li

PhD Candidate

Junlang received his Bachelor’s degree in Biological Science from Nankai University in 2019 and is currently a Ph.D. student in the Joint Biomedical Engineering Program at UNC-Chapel Hill & NC State University. His undergraduate research focused on tissue-engineered vascular graft(TEVG) in Dr. Deling Kong’s lab and he conducted his thesis, "Bisphosphonates’ Effect on Development of TEVGs" under the guidance of Dr. Christopher Breuer at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. In Dr. Cheng’s lab, his research focuses on therapeutic strategies for mesenchymal stem cell-based cardiac regeneration. Outside of the lab, he likes playing the guitar, working out, and watching soccer and NBA games.

Blanca López de Juan Abad

Research Associate

Blanca received her Master’s degree in Comparative Biomedical Sciences from the College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed her thesis, "Evaluation of Factors That Influence Dose Variability of Marek's Disease Vaccines" under the guidance of Dr. Isabel Gimeno. In lab, she supports various research projects including the use of stem cell therapy for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis as well as studying treatment of other pulmonary diseases using stem cell derivatives. Outside of the lab, she enjoys reading and spending time with her friends, family, and her cat, Ayla.

Halle Lutz

Research Associate

Halle received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with minors in Chemistry and Chinese. Her undergraduate research thesis, "Cell-Mediated Drug Delivery as a Treatment to Inhibit Restenosis," led her to joining Dr. Cheng’s lab at NC State University. Her research now focuses on the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis using stem cells. Outside of the lab, Halle enjoys reading, hiking, and playing with her dog, Yeti.

Arianna George

Undergraduate Student

Arianna is a 4th year student at NC State University with double majors in Biochemistry and Human Biology and minors in Art and Design. She works under the guidance of Dr. Uyen Dinh and Kristen Popowski to research the use of pulmonary stem cells for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis. Outside of the lab, she enjoys hiking, working out, and watching Netflix.

Cheng Lab Alumni

- Adam Vandergriff: Research Scientist *** - Eric Henry: Process Scientist, BioMedomics Inc. *** -Tyler Allen: Postdoc Scientist, Duke University Medical School *** -James De Andrade: Professor, Técnica Cirúrgica Veterinária; Semiologia de Pequenos Animais - ICA - UFVJM *** -Jinying Zhang: Professor and Deputy Director, Cardiovascular Medicine, Zhengzhou University 1st Affiliated Hospital *** -Deliang Shen: Associate Professor, Cardiovascular Medicine, Zhengzhou University 1st Affiliated Hospital *** -Junnan Tang: Attending Physician, Cardiovascular Medicine, Zhengzhou University 1st Affiliated Hospital *** -Li Qiao: Attending Physician, Cardiovascular Medicine, Hebei University 2nd Affiliated Hospital *** - Yongjun Li: Professor and Director, Cardiovascular Medicine, Hebei University 2nd Affiliated Hospital *** - Feiran Liu: Resident, Beijing Hospital *** - Ke Huang: Postdoc, Duke University *** - Teng Su: Duke University *** - Wei Liu: Associate Professor, Dalian University of Technology ***