Hua Wang

Hua Wang
Hua Wang
  • Assistant Professor
(217) 300-7097
202 Materials Science & Eng Bld

Primary Research Area

  • Cell and tissue engineering - Biomaterials

Research Areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Cancer
  • Drug delivery
  • Gene and cell therapy

For More Information


Dr. Hua Wang joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in August 2020. He obtained his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from UIUC (2016) and did his postdoc with Prof. David J. Mooney at Harvard University and Wyss Institute. His professional awards include Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Student Research Fellowship, Wyss Technology Development Fellowship, NSF CAREER Award, NIH R01 Award, CMBE New Innovator, and Scialog Fellow.


  • Ph.D. Materials Science and Engineering, UIUC (2016)
  • B.S. Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Science and Technology of China (2012)

Academic Positions

  • August 2020-Present, Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering 
  • August 2020-Present, Member, Cancer Center at Illinois
  • August 2020-Present, Affiliate, Department of Bioengineering
  • August 2020-Present, Affiliate, Carle College of Medicine
  • September 2021-Present, Affiliate, Materials Research Laboratory
  • December 2021-Present, Part-time member, Beckman Institute
  • February 2022-Present, Affiliate, Institute for Genomic Biology

Research Interests

  • Polymer Chemistry
  • Stem Cell Therapy
  • Metabolic Cell Labeling and Targeting
  • Immunoengineering for Regenerative Medicine
  • Cancer Immunotherapy
  • Biomaterials

Research Statement

Our laboratory aims to understand how cells can be manipulated and engineered to facilitate targeted delivery of therapeutics and regulate intercellular interactions, in order to improve and innovate therapies for cancers, injured tissues, autoimmune disorders, and other diseases. In one path towards this goal, we utilize chemistry, chemical biology, and synthetic biology tools to modify or engineer cells for subsequent tracking and targeted modulation in vivo. In another path, we develop biomaterials that can home and manipulate immune cells in vivo, and apply them to the development of cancer vaccines, cell therapies, and medical devices. New molecules, polymers, and biomaterials that can serve as diagnostics, therapeutics, and medical supplies/devices are also of our interest.

Primary Research Area

  • Cell and tissue engineering - Biomaterials

Research Areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Cancer
  • Drug delivery
  • Gene and cell therapy

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Bhatta R, Han J, Liu Y, Bo Y, Lee D, Zhou J, Wang Y, Nelson ER, Chen Q, Zhang XS, Hassaneen W, Wang H*. Metabolic Tagging of Extracellular Vesicles and Development of Enhanced Extracellular Vesicle Based Cancer Vaccines. Nature Communications 2023, 14, 8047.
  • Han J, Bhatta R, Liu Y, Bo Y, Elosegui-Artola A, Hua Wang*. Metabolic Glycan Labeling Immobilizes Dendritic Cell Membrane and Enhances Antitumor Efficacy of Dendritic Cell Vaccine. Nature Communications 2023, 14, 5049
  • Bo Y, Zhou J, Cai K, Wang Y, Feng Y, Li W, Jiang Y, Kuo S, Roy J, Anorma C, Gardner SH, Luu LM, Lau GW, Bao Y, Chan J, Wang H*, Cheng J*. Leveraging Intracellular ALDH1A1 Activity for Selective Cancer Stem-like Cells Labeling and Targeted Treatment via Click Reaction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2023, 120 (36), e2302342120
  • Wang H, Mooney D. Metabolic Glycan Labeling for Cancer-Targeted Therapy. Nature Chemistry 2020, 12, 1102-1114. [Link]
  • Wang H, Najibi A, Sobral M, Seo BR, Lee JY, Wu D, Li A, Verbeke C, Mooney D. Biomaterial-Based Scaffold for In Situ Chemo-Immunotherapy to Treat Poorly Immunogenic Tumors. Nature Communications 2020, 11, 5696.
  • Wang H, Sobral M, Zhang D, Cartwright A, Li A, Dellacherie M, Koshy S, Wucherpfennig K, Mooney D. Metabolic Labeling and Targeted Modulation of Dendritic Cells. Nature Materials 2020, 19, 1244–1252. [Link]
  • Wang H, Mooney D. Biomaterial-Assisted Targeted Modulation of Immune Cells in Cancer Treatment. Nature Materials 2018, 17, 761-772. [Link]
  • 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 IT, Dobrucki LW, Chaney EJ, Boppart SA, Fan TM, Lezmi S, Chen X, Yin L, Cheng J. Selective In Vivo Cell Labeling Mediated Cancer Targeting. Nature Chemical Biology 2017, 13, 415-424. [Link]

Teaching Honors

  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their Students for Spring 2023 - MSE 474-Biomaterials and Nanomedicine, UIUC

Research Honors

  • DoD CDMRP Idea Development Award (2024)
  • Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research (2024)
  • The Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering 2023 Symposium
  • Scialog Fellow (2023)
  • CMBE Young Innovator (2023)
  • NIH NCI R21 grant (1% score, 2023)
  • Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust Award (2022)
  • Cancer Center at Illinois Bridge Award (2022)
  • NIH NCI R01 grant (2022)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2021)
  • Wyss Technology Development Fellow (2017-2020)
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Student Research Fellowship (2015-2016)
  • Rili Scholarship (2011)
  • National Inspirational Scholarship (2011)
  • National Undergraduate Innovative Research Funding (2010)
  • Scholarship of Dalian Institute of Physics and Chemistry (2010)
  • National Inspirational Scholarship (2009)