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A nanotechnology-enabled high-throughput screen can identify small-molecule agonists of TFEB and discover three novel compounds that clear fatty liver disease and prolong life span in animal models. (Nature Comm.) PDF

Welcome Jiwon, Jonathan and Zach our newest graduate students to the lab!


Congratulations to Yang Li, who successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis titled "Molecular Basis of Cooperativity in pH-triggered Supramolecular Self-Assembly". He will pursue his postdoctoral training at MGH.

Nature Nanotech published an article titled with "Making allies of phagocytes" by Dr. Steven Fiering in News and Views section, reporting our recent nanovaccine work. PDF

Congratulations to Chensu, a Ph.D. student between Dr. White and Dr. Gao's lab, who successfully defended her thesis titled "Illuminating Endocytic Organelles with pH-Responsive Nanomaterials". She will pursue her postdoctoral training at MIT.

A versatile redox-activatable sensor is developed for real-time monitoring and high-throughput quantification of cytosolic delivery of macromolecules. (Angew. Chem. Inter. Ed.) PDF


Congratulations to Layla Samandi, who is accepted by UTSW Medical School.

A multi-colored nanobarcode is developed as a 'chemical transistor' to digitize endocytic pH, enabling discovery of mutated KRAS in accelerating organelle maturation (Adv. Mater.) PDF

A review paper titled "Investigation of Endosome and Lysosome Biology by Ultra pH Sensitive Nanoprobes" was published on Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. PDF

A systematic investigation on noncovalent interactions that affect the pH responsive behaviors and the resulting supramolecular selfassembly of a series of ultra-pH sensitive (UPS) block copolymers was reported (Polym. Chem).PDF

A nanobuffer reporter library was developed for interrogations of endosome/lysosome biology. Unique luminal pH-dependent link between mTOR signaling, lysosome catabolism and cell survival was uncovered. (Nature Comm). PDF


September 2015, CPRIT grant to a start-up company launched by Dr. Gao and Dr. Sumer was highlighted in Cancer Center Bulletin, a publication by the Simmons Cancer Center.Link

August 2015, congratulations to Gang on the promotion to Instructor position in the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center with secondary appointment in Pharmacology.

August 2015, Dr. Gao and Dr. Sumer's translational work for cancer surgery was recently highlighted in UT Southwestern Cancer Connection, a publication by the Simmons Cancer Center.Link

February 2015, Dr. Yiguang Wang, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab will take a tenure-track faculty position in the Department of Pharmaceutics, Peking University in China.

January 2015, Esterase activatable β-lapachone prodrug micelles have been developed with high drug loading and improved safety and antitumor efficacy for NQO1-targeted lung cancer therapy. (J. Controlled Release) PDF


Feburary 2014, a prodrug micelle strategy was established to improve the β-lap solubility and physical stability. With esterase, β-lap prodrugs are converted into parent drug, resulting in NQO1-dependent lethality of cancer cells. (Adv. Healthc. Mater.) PDF

January 2014, Nature Materials published an article titled with "Cancer imaging: Lighting up tumours" by Dr. Taeghwan Hyeon in News and Views section, commenting on our recent work. PDF

March 2014, Nano Today published an article on News and Opinions section, entitled "Nanoparticles make light of tumor detection", reporting our recent Nature Materials paper. PDF

January 2014, our Nature Materials paper made the cover story of SciBX, a business journal between BioCentry and Nature.com. PDF

January 2014, Materials360online.com from the Materials Research Society's news website, reported our recent Nature Materials paper. Link

January 2014, a nanoparticle-based strategy is established to amplify tumor microenvironmental signals to image a broad range of solid tumors with diverse genotypes and phenotypes. This fluorescence reporter system adds to the existing arsenal in tumor imaging with broad cancer specificity. (Nat. Mater.) PDF



December 2013, British Publication Chemistry World from Royal Society of Chemistry published a news article online, reporting our recent nature materials paper. Link

December 2013, Alyssa Chen, Highland Park High School student who did summer research in the lab, advanced to the Siemens Competition National Finals and got the 6th place. Link Picture

October 2013, Nigel Gwini, a former summer undergraduate research fellow (SURF), was selected as Undergraduate Researcher of the Year in STEM division at Abilene Christian University. Link

August 2013, a chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) MRI method and pH-activatable nanoparticles were used to image the environmental pH. The CEST signal was ''off'' when the polymers form micelles near physiological pH (i.e. 7.4) but was activated to the ''on'' state when the micelles dissociate in an acidic environment. (Chem.Comm.). PDF

June 2013, a multi-chromatic pH-sensitive nanobarcodes were developed for MR imaging/spectroscopy of environmental pH. Each pH transition was encoded by a specific 19F reporter with distinguished chemical shift. A collection of such nanobarcodes can potentially be used to probe tissue pH in tumors or other acidosis tissues. (Angew Chem). PDF

February 2013, a conventional MRI imaging agent, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, was found to augment the reactive oxygen stress of an anticancer agent, beta-lapachone, leading to more efficacious killings of cancer cells. The therapeutic synergy between an imaging agent and a drug allows for a more integrated design of theranostic nanomedicine (Theranostics). PDF


April 2012, a multi-colored, pH-tunable nanoparticle platform is developed with independent control of emission wavelength and pH transition. These nanoparticles will be useful for probing many cell physiological processes in the endocytic pathway (J. Am. Chem. Soc.). PDF

March 2012, a CPRIT (Texas Cancer Fund) grant is received to develop β-lapachone prodrug micelles for targeted therapy of non-small cell lung cancer (with Dr. David Boothman). The award will support preclinical safety and antitumor efficacy studies aiming for clinical translations.


June 2011, a tunable series of ultra-sensitive pH-responsive nanoparticles are established with >50-fold fluorescence ON/OFF activation in <0.25 pH unit. These nanoparticles provide a useful platform for imaging and therapeutic applications (Angew Chem). PDF

April 2011, Dr. Jinming Gao received a Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine.

April 2011, Chase's paper titled "In Vivo Angiogenesis Imaging of Solid Tumors by alphavbeta3-Targeted, Dual-Modality Micellar Nanoprobes" received the Best Paper Award in 2010 (Alan MacDiarmid Award in the Interdisciplinary Research Category) from the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine. PDF

April 2011, a time-resolved MRI method was used to investigate the kinetics of nanoparticle targeting to the angiogenic endothelium in the tumor vasculature. Data show for the first time that specific targeting can be achieved in as early as the first 5 mins after i.v. injection in three preclinical tumor models. These results provide mechanistic insights for the development of molecular imaging probes. PDF



July 2010

A dual-modality fluorescent-MRI nanoprobe is developed for angiogenesis imaging in tumor-bearing mice (Kessinger et al. Exp. Biol. Med. 2010). A 3D high resolution method was used to connect the isolated 'hot spots' in 2D slices into 3D network structures, which improves the accuracy of vessel identification and quantification. This article was selected as the Feature article in the August issue of EBM, and was alerted by EurekAlert.

Congratulations to Li Tao, a joint Ph.D. student between Dr. Walter Hu (UTD EE) and Dr. Gao's lab, who successfully defended his thesis titled "Lithographically Defined Shape-Specific Polymeric Particulates for Nanomedicine Applications". Dr. Tao will pursue his postdoctoral training in the EE department at UT Austin in August.

Congratulations to Chase Kessinger, a Ph.D. student in the Cancer Biology track, who successfully defended his thesis titled "Alpha(v)Beta(3)-Targeted Nanoprobes for In Vivo Imaging of Tumor Angiogenesis ". Dr. Kessinger will pursue his postdoctoral training in Cardiovascular Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston MA) in August.

June 2010

Polymeric micelles for the delivery of beta-lapachone are established and shown to provide efficacious treatment of lung cancer in animal tumor models (Cancer Res. . 2010).