Joon Kong

Joon Kong
Joon Kong
  • Robert W. Schaefer Professor
(217) 333-1178
108 Roger Adams Laboratory

Primary Research Area

  • Molecular, Cellular and Tissue Engineering

For More Information


Hyunjoon (Joon) Kong is a Robert W Schafer Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He also is affiliated with the Departments of Bioengineering and Pathobiology and is a member of the Regenerative Biology & Tissue Engineering research theme at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. Professor Kong joined the department in 2007. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan. He completed his postdoctoral studies at the University of Michigan and was a research associate at Harvard University. At Illinois, he has developed various active hybrid materials including stimulus-responsive or self-propelling colloids and hydrogels systems. He further uses the materials for molecular and cell therapies of vascular and brain diseases as well as an infection. Prof. Kong has authored or co-authored more than 150 research papers and over 8 issued and pending patent applications. He received multiple research awards. He also serves as a member of the international editorial board of Biomaterials. and the editorial board of Biofabrication.


  • Research Associate, Harvard University, 2004-2006
  • Postdoctorate, University of Michigan, 2001-2004
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2001
  • M.S., Hanyang University, Korea, 1995
  • B.S., Hanyang University, Korea, 1992

Academic Positions

  • Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2007-2013
  • Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2013-2016
  • Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2016-

Major Consulting Activities

  • International Editorial Board Member of Biomaterials

Research Interests

  • Bio-Inspired Materials, Drug Delivery, Cell Manufacturing and Therapy, Tissue Engineering

Research Statement

Our group’s overall goal is to develop active hybrid matters useful for bioscience, medicine, and environmental science.. Specifically, we focus on creating simple, but novel methods to control nano- and micro-structure of synthetic and biological materials inspired by nature and further modulate chemical and physical properties of materials. In addition, we are exploring use of the resulting matters in multiple applications including drug delivery, anti-fouling, diagnosis/bioimaging, drug/cell therapies, and biomachinery. In this context, our current research projects include;

  1. Active matters (e.g., hydrogels & colloids doped with catalysts) for molecular and cell therapies of ischemic injury, inflammation, and infection
  2. Modular assembly of nano- and micro-sized stimulus-responsive materials for drug and cell delivery
  3. Stretchable and tough hydrogels for minimally invasive delivery, surgical simulation, and werable electronics
  4. Bio and abiotic soft machinery and organoids

Primary Research Area

  • Molecular, Cellular and Tissue Engineering

Books Edited or Co-Edited (Original Editions)

  • Stem cells and revascularization therapies. Edited by Kong, H.J., Putnam, A.J. & Schook L.B. CRC Press (2012).

Selected Articles in Journals


  • International Academy of Biological and Medical Engineering (IAMBE) fellow, 2023
  • School of Chemical Science Teaching Excellence Award, 2021
  • American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) Fellow, 2017
  • Centennial Scholar, 2013-2016
  • Campus Distinguished Promotion Award, 2016
  • Engineering Dean's Award for Research Achievement, 2016
  • University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study Fellow, 2012-2013
  • Engineering Dean's Award for Research Achievement, 2012
  • Korean Institute for Chemical Engineers President Young Investigator Award, 2011
  • CAREER Award, National Science Foundation, 2009
  • Scientist Development Grant, American Heart Association, 2008
  • Fellowship, Hanyang University, 1995
  • Samnam Foundation Fellowship, Lotte Inc., Korea, 1991