Jianjun CHENG, Ph.D.

Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Laboratory


Email: chengjianjun@westlake.edu.cn

Website: https://www.cheng-lab.com/

Jianjun CHENG, Ph.D.

Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Laboratory


Email: chengjianjun@westlake.edu.cn

Website: https://www.cheng-lab.com/

“It is a great honor and privilege to have the opportunity of working with a group of distinguished colleagues in natural science and engineering for the development of Westlake University to a leading institute in research and education, and a global center of innovation in science and technology.”


Jianjun Cheng obtained a B.S. degree in Chemistry at Nankai University in 1993, a M.S. degree in Chemistry at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1996, and a Ph.D. degree in Materials Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2001 with Professor Timothy Deming. He was a Senior Scientist at Insert Therapeutics, Inc. from 2001 to 2004, and a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at MIT with Professor Robert Langer from 2004 to 2005. He joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in 2005, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2011 and Full Professor in 2015 (distinguished promotion). In 2016, he was appointed as Hans Thurnauer Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at UIUC. He joined the Westlake University as Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Dean of School of Engineering in August, 2021.

Cheng is the co-inventor of 41 issued patents and co-authored over 200 publications. Cheng’s research has made translational impact. Two nanomedicine systems he co-developed has made to clinical trials. He received a Prostate Cancer Foundation Competitive Award in 2007, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2008, a Xerox Award for Outstanding Research at UIUC in 2010, a NIH Director’s New Innovator Award in 2010, the Willett Faculty Scholar Award in 2013, and the UIUC Distinguished Promotion Award in 2015. He was appointed as an Associate of Center for Advanced Study at UIUC in 2014. In 2015, he was selected as one of the four inaugural Faculty Entrepreneurial Fellows in the College of Engineering, UIUC. He has also been on the list of Teacher Ranked As Excellent By Students for five times at UIUC. Cheng is Editor-in-Chief of Biomaterials Science, Royal Society of Chemistry, UK. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2015), a Fellow of American Chemical Society-Division of Polymer Chemistry (2015), a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (2016), and a Fellow of National Academy of Inventors (2020).


The Cheng Research Group at Westlake University is interested in polymer chemistry, polypeptide biomaterials in terms of synthesis, development and application, nanomedicine, drug and gene delivery, cell labeling and cancer targeting, self-healing materials.

Representative Publications

1. Yang, Y., Ying, H., Li, Z., Wang, J., Ferguson, A., Zhang, Y., Cheng, J.* “Near quantitative synthesis of urea macrocycles enabled by bulky N-substituent”, Nature Communications 2021, 12, 1572.

2. Xia, Y., Song, Z., Tan, Z., Xue, T. Wei, S., Zhu, L., Yang, Y., Fu, H., Jiang, Y., Lin, Y., Lu, Y., Ferguson, A.L., Cheng, J.* “Accelerated polymerizaton of N-carboxyanhydrides catalyzed by crown ether” Nature Communications 2021, 12, 372.

3. Lv, S., Kim, H., Feng, L., Song, Z., Yang, Y., Baumgartner, R., Tseng, K.-Y., Dillon, S., Leal, C., Yin, L., Cheng, J.* “Unimolecular Polypeptide Micelles via Ultra-fast Polymerization of N-Carboxyanhydrides”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 19, 8570-8574.

4. Song, Z.; Fu, H.; Baumgartner, R.; Zhu, L.; Shih, K.; Xia, Y.; Nieh, M., Chipot, C.; Lin, Y.; Cheng, J.* “Enzyme-mimetic, self-catalyzed polymerization of polypeptide helices”, Nature Communications, 2019, 10, 5470.

5. Song, Z.; Fu, H.; Wang, J.; Hui, J.; Xue, T.; Pacheco, L.A.; Yan, H.; Baumgartner, R.; Wang, Z.; Xia, Y.; Wang, X.; Yin, L.; Chen, C.; Rodríguez-Lópezd, J.; Ferguson, A.; Lin, Y.; Cheng, J.* “Synthesis of polypeptides via bioinspired polymerization of in situ purified N-carboxyanhydrides”, PNAS, 2019, 116, 10658-10663

6. Chen, C.; Fu, H.; Baumgartner, R.; Song, Z.; Lin, Y.; Cheng, J.* “Proximity-Induced Cooperative Polymerization in “Hinged” Helical Polypeptides”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019, 141, 8680-8693

7. Wang, H.; Song, Z.; Lao, Y.; Xu, X.; Gong, J.; Cheng, D.; Chakraborty, S.; Park, J.S.; Li, M.; Huang, D.; Yin, L.*; Cheng, J.*; Leong, K.W.* “Nonviral Gene Editing via CRISPR/Cas9 Delivery by Membrane-Disruptive and Endosomolytic Helical Polypeptide”, PNAS, 2018, 115, 4903-4908

8. Lv, S. Wu, Y., Cai, K. He, H. Li, Y.; Lan, M.; Chen, X.; Cheng, J.*; Yin, L. “High Drug Loading and Sub-Quantitative Loading Efficiency of Polymeric Micelles Driven by Donor-Receptor Coordination Interactions” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018, 140, 1235–1238

9. Zhang, Y.; Cai, K.; Li, C.; Guo, Q.; Chen, Q.; He, X.; Liu, L.; Zhang, Y.; Lu, Y.; Chen, X.; Sun, T.; Huang, Y.; Cheng, J.*; Jiang, C. “Macrophage Membrane-Coated Nanoparticles for Tumor-Targeted Chemotherapy”, Nano Lett., 2018, 18, 1908-1915

10. Song, Z., Fu, H.; Wang, R.; Pacheco, L.; Wang, X.; Lin, Y.; Cheng, J.* “Secondary structures in synthetic polypeptides from N-carboxyanhydrides: design, modulation, association, and material applications”, Chemical Society Reviews, 2018, 47, 7401-7425.

11. Wang, H.; Wang, R.; Cai, K.; He H.; Liu, Y.; Yen, J.; Wang, Z.; Xu, M.; Sun, Y.; Zhou, X.; Yin, Q.; Tang, L.; Dobrucka, I.; Dobrucki, L.; Chaney, E.; Boppart, S.; Fan, T.; Lezmi, S.; Chen, X.*; Yin, L.*; Cheng, J.* “Selective In Vivo Cell Labeling Mediated Cancer Targeting”, Nature Chemical Biology, 2017, 13, 415-424.

12. Baumgartner, R., Fu, H.; Song, Z.; Lin, Y.*; Cheng, J.* “Cooperative polymerization of α-helices induced by macromolecular architecture”, Nature Chemistry, 2017, 9, 614–622

13. Xiong M.; Bao Y.; Xu, X.; Wang, H.; Han, Z.; Wang, Z.; Liu, Y.; Huang, S.; Song. Z; Chen, J.; Peek, R.M. Jr., Yin, L.; Chen, L.; Cheng, J. *“Selective Killing of Helicobacter pylori with pH-Responsive Helix-Coil Conformation Transitionable Antimicrobial Polypeptides”. PNAS, 2017, 114, 12675-12680

14. Song, Z.; Mansbach, RA; He, H.; Shik, KC; Baumgartner, R.; Zheng, N.; Ba, X.; Huang, Y.; Mani, D.; Nieh, MP; Ferguson, AL; Yin, L.; Cheng, J.* “Modulation of Polypeptide Conformation through Donor-Acceptor Transformation of Side-Chain Hydrogen Bonding Ligands”, Nature Communications., 2017, 8, 92

15. Song, Z.; Han, Z.; Lv, S.; Chen, C.; Chen, L.; Lin, Y.; Cheng, J. “Synthetic polypeptides: from polymer design to supramolecular assembly and biomedical application”. Chemical Society Reviews, 2017, 46, 6570-6599

16. Xiong, M.; Han, Z.; Song, Z.; Yu, J.; Ying, H.; Yin, L; Cheng, J.* “Bacteria-Assisted Activation of Antimicrobial Polypeptides via Random Coil-to-Helix Transition”, Angew Chem. Int. Ed., 2017, 56, 10826-10829

17. Xia, H.; Fu, H.; Zhang, Y.; Shih, K.; Ren, Y.; Anuganti, M.; Nieh, M; Cheng, J.*; Lin, Y. “Supramolecular Assembly of Comb-like Macromolecules Induced by Chemical Reactions that Modulate the Macromolecular Interactions in-situ”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139, 11106–11116

18. Wang, H.; Gauthier, M.; Kelly, J. R.; Miller, R.J.; Xu, M.; O’Brien, W.D.; Cheng, J.* “Targeted Ultrasound Assisted Cancer-Selective Chemical Labeling and Subsequent Cancer Imaging via Click Chemistry”, Angew Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 5452-5456