Current Research Interests
Our research is focused on engineering approaches to solve challenging medical problems with strong emphasis on
- hydrogel tissue engineering,
- biopharmaceuticals, and
- drug delivery.
To support these translational projects, we have several ongoing academic and industrial collaborations including those with Harvard University, Stanford University, and Roche Ltd.
Despite advances in therapeutic drugs and tools, much work remains towards the early identification and eradication of infectious diseases. We are developing model membrane sensing platforms to interrogate the mechanisms of virus life cycles, especially that of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). We are also leveraging these engineering strategies to combat a wide range of viruses including dengue and influenza. In a related project, we are characterizing the molecular interactions of phospholipases involved in inflammatory response and the pathogeneses of many cancers.
To more effectively translate new medicines into clinical therapies, we also have an active regenerative medicine team focused on liver tissue engineering. The liver is an important organ that is the site of HCV infection. Moreover, liver toxicity is a major challenge which accounts for the costly failure of many drugs late in the pipeline. Therefore, our primary aim in this area is to develop an artificial liver tissue platform to study HCV infection and drug toxicity.
Taken together, our overall research initiative seeks to engineer artificial membrane and tissue platforms to probe biological systems, and to translate these findings into enhanced therapeutic and drug delivery options that more effectively target infectious diseases, inflammatory disorders, and cancer.
Dr. Cho is a graduate of Stanford University where he earned an M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering under the guidance of Professor Curtis W. Frank. During his doctoral studies, Dr. Cho first gained an interest in research at the interface of molecular virology and biomaterials. The principal goal of his thesis work was to develop lab-on-a-chip technologies for analysis of viral protein interactions with lipid membranes.
Dr. Cho then continued his postdoctoral training in Professor Jeffrey S. Glenn’s group in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He applied these engineering technologies to combat the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which affects over 150 million people worldwide. His work has led to significant advances for treating HCV, including new drugs currently in preclinical or clinical trials. In addition, Dr. Cho has pioneered a novel approach to liver tissue engineering that has enabled an improved artificial organ system for studying liver disease.
His passion for translational and regenerative medicine has been recognized by several prestigious international honors and awards from the American Liver Foundation, Beckman Foundation, and leading global universities and companies including Chalmers University of Technology and Roche Ltd. In 2011, Dr. Cho was named an NRF Fellow by the Singapore National Research Foundation, and was also appointed to a Nanyang Associate Professorship. In addition to his academic duties, Dr. Cho is the founder of infollutionZERO, a global nonprofit organization committed to building a green digital world for future generations by eradicating infollution (information + pollution) from the digital world.
- RE2005 Engineering Science II
Mezer AA, Yeatman J, Stikov N, Kay K, Cho NJ, et al. Measuring within the voxel—brain macromolecular tissue volume in individual subjects. Nature Medicine 2013; Accepted.
Tabaei SR, Rabe M, Zhdanov VP, Cho NJ*, Hook F*. Single vesicle analysis reveals nanoscale membrane curvature selective pore formation in lipid membranes by an antiviral α-helical peptide. Nano Letters 2012; 2(11):5719-25.
Zhao H, Ong WQ, Zhou F, Fang X, Chen X, Li SFY, Su H, Cho NJ, Zeng H. Chiral crystallization of aromatic helical foldamers via complementarities in shape and end functionalities. Chemical Science 2012; 3(6): 2042-2046.
Cho NJ*, Frank CW, Kasemo B, Hook F*. Quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring of supported lipid bilayers on various substrates. Nature Protocols 2010; 5(6): 1096–1106.
Huang CJ, Cho NJ, Hsu CJ et al. Type I collagen-functionalized supported lipid bilayer as a cell culture platform. Biomacromolecules 2010;11(5):1231-40.
Cho NJ, Dvory-Sobol H, Lee CH, Cho SJ, Glenn JS. Identification of a novel class of HCV inhibitors directed against the nonstructural protein NS4B. Science Translational Medicine 2010; 2(15): 15ra6.
Lee WJ, Wiseman M, Cho NJ, et al. The reliable targeting of specific drug release profiles by integrating arrays of different albumin-encapsulated microsphere types. Biomaterials 2009; 30(34): 6648-6654.
Lee WJ, Cho NJ, et al. Hydrophobic nanoparticles improve permeability of cell-encapsulating poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels while maintaining patternability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 2010; 107(48): 20709-20714.
Cho NJ, Dvory-Sobol H, Xiong A, Frank CW, Glenn JS. The mechanism of an amphipathic α-helical peptide’s antiviral activity involves size-dependent virus particle lysis. ACS Chemical Biology 2009; 4(12): 1061-1067.
Cho NJ, Cho SJ, Cheong KH, Glenn JS, Frank CW. Employing an amphipathic viral peptide to create a lipid bilayer on Au and TiO2. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2007; 129(33): 10050-10051.