Feng Zhao

Feng Zhao


Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Graduate Program Director, Biomedical Engineering


Zhao's lab seeks to address the challenges associated with engineering completely biological cardiovascular tissues for regenerative medicine applications. We are developing innovative cell therapies using stem cell sheets to create 3D scaffold-free tissue constructs with the structural similarity, necessary mechanical characteristics, and sufficient immuno-compatibility to facilitate functional in vivo integration. We are also trying to recreate biomimetic microenvironment for 3D tissue development by precisely manipulating biomaterials, oxygen tension, and hydrodynamic culture conditions. The underlying mechanisms that regulate the tissue development are under ongoing investigation by the experimental replication of in vivo cell-cell and cell-environment interactions.

Links of Interest

Research Interests

  • Stem cell therapies
  • Naturally derived biomaterials
  • Cell sheet engineering
  • 3D scaffold-free tissue fabrication
  • Cardiovascular tissue regeneration
  • Neural Tissue Engineering

Selected Publications (* Corresponding Author)

  • Zhang L, Xing Q, Qian Z, Tahtinen M, Zhang Z, Shearier E, Qi S, Zhao F*. Hypoxia created human mesenchymal stem cell sheet for prevascularized three-dimensional tissue construction. Advanced Healthcare Materials. Accepted.
  • Xing Q, Qian Z, Kannan B, Tahtinen M, Zhao F*. Osteogenic differentiation evaluation of an engineered extracellular matrix based tissue sheet for potential periosteum replacement. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 2015; 7:23239–23247. Read More
  • McCarthy C, Ahrens D; Joda D, Curtis T, Bowen P, Guillory R, Liu S, Zhao F, Megan F, Jeremy G. Fabrication and short-term in vivo performance of a natural elastic lamina - polymeric hybrid vascular graft. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 2015; 7:16202–16212. Read More
  • Xing Q, Yates K, Tahtinen M, Shearier E, Qian Z, Zhao F *. Decellularization of fibroblast cell sheets for natural extracellular matrix scaffold preparation. Tissue Engineering, 2015; 21:77-87. Read More
  • Bowen PK, Guillory RJ, Shearier ER, Seitz JM, Drelich J, Bocks M, Zhao F, Goldman J. Metallic zinc exhibits optimal biocompatibility for bioabsorbable endovascular stents. Materials Science and Engineering: C. 2015;56: 467–472. Read More
  • Xing Q, Zhang L, Redman T, Qi S, Zhao F*. Nitric oxide regulates cell behavior on an interactive cell-derived extracellular matrix scaffold. Journal of Biomedical Material Research: Part A. 2015; 103A: 3807–3814. Read More
  • Xing Q, Vogt C, Leong KW, Zhao F *. Highly aligned nanofibrous natural extracellular matrix scaffold derived from fibroblast cell sheets. Advanced Functional Materials, 2014; 24:1-9. Read More
  • Liu X, Kirby M, Zhao F. Motion analysis and removal in intensity variation based OCT microangiography. Biomedical Optics Express, 2014; 5:3833-3847. Read More
  • Xing Q, Vogt C, Yates K, Qian Z, Frost MC, Zhao F *. Increasing Mechanical Strength of Gelatin Hydrogels by Divalent Metal Ion Removal. Scientific Reports, 2014;4:4706. Read More
  • Adams TNG, Janorkar A, Zhao F, and Minerick AR. Characterizing the Dielectric Properties of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells and the Effects of Charged Elastin-like Polypeptide Copolymer Treatment. Biomicrofluidics, 2014; 8:054109. Read More
  • Zhao Y, Xing Q, Janjanam J, He K, Long F, Low KB, Tiwari A, Zhao F, Shahbazian-Yassar R, Friedrich C, Shokuhfar T. Facile electrochemical synthesis of antimicrobial TiO2 nanotube arrays. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 2014;9:5177–5187. Read More
  • Xu Y, Yan M, Gong Y, Chen L, Zhao F, Zhang Z. Response of endothelial cells to decellularized extracellular matrix deposited by bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, 2014; 7: 4997–5003. Read More
  • Vogt C, Xing Q, He W, Li B, Frost MC, Zhao F *. Fabrication and characterization of a nitric oxide-releasing nanofibrous gelatin matrix. Biomacromolecules, 2013;14:2521–2530. Read More
  • Zhao F *. Manipulating mesenchymal stem cells for vascular tissue engineering. JSM Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering, 2013;1:1012.
  • Xing Q, Yates K, Bailey A, Vogt C, He W, Frost MC, Zhao F *. Effects of Local Nitric Oxide Release on Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Attachment and Proliferation on Gelatin Hydrogel Surface. Surface Innovations, 2013;1:224-232. Read More
  • Ho YP, Grigsby C, Zhao F, Leong KW. Tuning physical properties of nanocomplexes through microfluidics-assisted confinement. Nano Letters, 2011;11:2178-2182. Read More
  • Zhao F, Veldhuis JJ, Duan Y, Yang Y, Christoforou N, Ma T, Leong KW. Low oxygen tension and synthetic nanogratings improve the uniformity and stemness of human mesenchymal stem cell layer. Molecular Therapy, 2010;18:1010–1018. Read More
  • Xing Q, Zhao F, Chen S, DeCoster MA, and Lvov YM. Porous biocompatible three dimensional scaffolds of cellulose microfiber/gelatin composites for cell culture. Acta Biomaterialia, 2010; 6:2132-2139. Read More
  • Zhao F and Ma T. Low-oxygen pretreatment enhances endothelial cell growth and retention under shear. Tissue Engineering, 2009; 15: 135-146. Read More
  • Zhao F, Grayson WL, Ma T. Perfusion affects the tissue developmental patterns of human mesenchymal stem cells in 3D Scaffolds. Journal of cellular physiology, 2009; 219: 421-429. Read More
  • Zhu AP, Zhao F, and Ma T. Photo-initiated grafting of gelatin/N-maleic acyl-chitosan to enhance endothelial cell adhesion, proliferation and function on PLA surface. Acta Biomaterialia, 2009;5: 2033-2044. Read More
  • Zhao F, Chella R and Ma T. Effects of shear stress on 3-D human mesenchymal stem cell construct development in a versatile perfusion bioreactor system: experiments and hydrodynamic modeling. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 2007; 96: 584-595. Read More
  • Zhu AP, Zhao F, and Fang N. Regulation of vascular smooth muscle cells on poly (ethylene terephthalate) film by o-carboxymethylchitosan surface-immobilization. Journal of Biomedical Material Research A, 2008;86A: 467-476. Read More
  • Grayson WL, Zhao F, Bunnell B, Ma T. Hypoxia enhances proliferation and tissue formation of human mesenchymal stem cells. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 2007;358 (3): 948-953. Read More
  • Zhao F, Grayson WL, Ma T, Bunnell B, and Lu WW. Effects of hydroxyapatite in 3-D chitosan-gelatin polymer network on human mesenchymal stem cell construct development. Biomaterials, 2006;27: 1859-1867. Read More
  • Grayson WL, Zhao F, Izadpanah R, Bunnell B, Ma T. Effects of hypoxia on human mesenchymal stem cell expansion and plasticity in 3D constructs. Journal of Cellular Physiology, 2006;207: 331-339. Read More
  • Zhao F and Ma T. Perfusion bioreactor system for human mesenchymal stem cell tissue engineering: dynamic cell seeding and construct development. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 2005;91: 482-493. Read More
  • Zhao F, Pathi P, Grayson WL, Xing Q, Locke BR, Ma T. Effects of oxygen transport on 3-D human mesenchymal stem cell metabolic activity in perfusion and static cultures: experiments and mathematical model. Biotechnology Progress, 2005;21: 1269-1280. Read More
  • Zhao F, Lu WW, Wong CT, Cheung KMC, Luk KDK, Yao KD, Leong JCY. Surface modification of injectable strontium-containing bioactive bone cement for vertebroplasty. Journal of Biomedical Material Research B, 2004;69B: 79-86. Read More
  • Lu WW, Zhao F, Luk KDK, Yin YJ, Cheung KMC, Cheng GX, Yao KD, Leong JCY. Controllable porosity hydroxyapatite ceramics as spine cage: from fabrication to properties evaluation. Journal of Material Science, Materials in Medicine, 2003;14: 1039-1046. Read More
  • Zhao F, Yin YJ, Yao KD, Lu WW, Leong JCY, Zhang MF, Zhang WY, Zhang JY. Preparation and histological evaluation of biomimetic 3-D hydroxyapatite/chitosan-gelatin network composite scaffolds. Biomaterials 2002;23(15): 3227-34. Read More