Weian Zhao2Dr. Weian Zhao is a Professor at the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology and Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California, Irvine. Dr. Zhao is also a co-founder of several start-up companies that aim to develop technologies for rapid diagnosis, stem cell therapy, and drug discovery, respectively. 

Dr. Zhao’s research aims to 1) elucidate and eventually control the fate of transplanted stem cells and immune cells to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases, and 2) develop novel miniaturized devices for early diagnosis and monitoring for conditions including sepsis, antibiotic resistance and cancer. He has edited 1 book and 4 journal special issues and co-authored over 60 journal articles and 8 patent/disclosure applications. His work has been published in top journals including Science Translational MedicineNature CommunicationsNature Nanotechnology, PNAS, Blood, Neurology, Biomaterials, Lab on a Chip, JACS, Advanced Materials, and Angewandte Chemie, which has been cited more than 5000 times to date. Dr. Zhao has received numerous awards including the MIT’s Technology Review TR35 Award: the world’s top 35 innovators under the age of 35 and NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. In addition, Dr. Zhao is also committed to serve his professional community, including being on the Lab on a Chip Advisory Board.

Dr. Zhao completed his BSc and MSc degrees in Chemistry at Shandong University where he studied polymer, surface and colloidal chemistry. Dr. Zhao then obtained his PhD in Chemistry at McMaster University in 2008. During his PhD study, Dr. Zhao focused on the use of functional nucleic acid (i.e. aptamers, DNA based enzymes) to structure gold nanoparticles to construct well-defined nanostructures and biosensors. During 2008-2011, Dr. Zhao was a Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and MIT. His research focused on the development of novel molecular, nano- and micro-engineered tools for stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine, diagnosis and in vivo imaging, and elucidating stem cell and cancer biology.


2019  UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s inaugural Faculty Innovation Fellow
2018  Lab on a Chip Emerging Investigators
2017  DOD CDMRP Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) Idea Award
2016  TED talk “Future Diagnostics to Combat the Global Crisis of Antibiotic Resistance” (Video)  
2016  Keynote Speaker, 2016 University of Toledo College of Medicine Graduate Research Forum
2015  Young Scientist of the Annual Meeting of the New Champions, the World Economic Forum
2015  UCI Academic Senate Distinguished Assistant Professor Award for Research
2015  Bioanalysis Zone Young Investigator Award Finalist
2015  UCI Institution for Clinical and Translational Science Young Investigator of the Year Award
2015  Outstanding Professor for UCI Anthology’s 50th Anniversary Yearbook
2015  National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) R01 Award
2014  National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award
2014  15th Annual UC Systemwide Bioengineering Symposium Junior Faculty Awards
2014  Stem Cell Research & Therapy’s Emerging Investigators
2013  Hellman Fellowship
2013  Selected participant of the 11th Annual National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) conference
2013  DOD Breast Cancer Research Program Idea Award
2012  MIT’s Technology Review TR35 Award: the World’s Top 35 Innovators Under the Age of 35
2012  Harvard-Chinese Life Science Annual Distinguished Research Award
2010  Selected participant of the 60th Meeting of Nobel Laureates, Lindau, Germany
2009  Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Postdoctoral Fellowship (one of the 11 recipients for Cross Disciplinary Fellowship competed internationally)
2009  The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined)
2008  NSERC Innovation Challenge Award, Canada
2007  Materials Research Society (MRS) Graduate Student Silver Award, Boston
2007  BioContact/CIHR: Next Generation Award, Québec city
2006  Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Student Abroad
2006  Student competition award in 89th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition(CSC), Halifax
2002  Future Star scholarship, Shandong University

Fellowships and Awards from Mentees

2020  Josh Gu, NIH T32 Immunology training fellowship
2020  Jayapriya Jayaraman, Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation
(DTEI) Graduate Fellowship
  Reza Mohammadi, Material Science and Engineering Student of the Year
2019  Reza Mohammadi, 2020 Chancellor’s Club Fellow
  Jayapriya Jayaraman, UC Drug Discovery Consortium workshop fellowship
Josh Gu, SOM PhD Student Fellowship App Incentive Award
  Ruchi Desai, Dean’s Summer Research Grant
2019  Jan Zimak, NIH-funded ICTS TL1 Training Award
2019  Jayapriya Jayaraman, Otto W. Shaler Scholarship
2019  Josh Gu, NSF Graduate Student Fellowship honorable mention
2019  Morgan Kopecky, Regeneron Science Talent Search 2019 Scholar
2018  Aude Segaliny, The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Young Investigator Award
2018  Henry Farhoodi, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS/NIH) Training Grant (Predoctoral)
2018  Tam Vu, NSF Graduate Student Fellowship
2018  Aude Segaliny, Tom Angell Postdoctoral Scholar Mentoring Fellowship
2017  Menglu Han, Second Place poster prize at the Moving Targets Conference hosted by AAPS-USC
2017  Reza Mohammadi, Stanford Medicine BioADD annual award
2017  Shengyu (Sherry) Gao, Senior Design Teams, UROP Research Grants
2016  Linan (Jerry) Liu, Pharmacological Sciences Travel Award
2016  Claire Chen, Society for Neuroscience fellowship award
2016  Aude Segaliny, best poster prize in the 2016 UCI Campuswide Symposium on Basic Cancer Biology
2016  Louai Labanieh, 2nd place in the 2016 Business Plan Competition (campus-wide) at the UCI Paul Merage School of Business
2016  Louai Labanieh, NSF graduate fellowship and Edge fellowship from Stanford University
2016  Ernesto (Neto) Sosa, UCI OCEAN Graduate Student Fellowship
2015  Louai Labanieh, Thi N. Nguyen, Justin Shun, UROP Research Grants
2015  Ernesto (Neto) Sosa, Grand Prize at PortTech Pitch 2015 LA
2015  Louai Labanieh, Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society (CBMS) Student/Young Researcher Grant for  2015 MicroTAS Conference
2015  Dr. Aude Ségaliny, postdoc fellowship from Fondation ARC
2015  Hamidreza (Milad) Riazifar, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS/NIH) Training Grant
2015  Claire Chen, Ernesto (Neto) Sosa, NSF graduate student fellowships
2015  Louai Labanieh, Eilbret Dooman, Thi N. Nguyen, Abraham Phung, UROP Research Grants
2014  Lancy Lin, Edwards Scholarship for MDIF 2014 Meeting
2014  Dr. Dong-Ku Kang, Tony B. Academic Award, SLAS 2015
2014  Victor Pham, CIRM Bridging Training Grant
2014  Louai Labanieh, Undergraduate Researcher of the Month, UCI
2014  Shirley Zhang, NIH CARE training fellowship
2014  Louai Labanieh, SURP Fellowship
2014  Louai Labanieh, First place in the poster competition for the Science Honor Society Research Symposium
2014  Dr. Wenbin Liao, “Shark Tank” innovation pitch winner team at the Stem Cell Trainee Retreat
2014  Dr. Dong-Ku Kang, keynote presentation at the 24th Anniversary World Congress on  Biosensors
2014  Dr. Dong-Ku Kang’s Fortuna team who has made into the semi-finals of the 2014 Business Plan Competition at The Paul Merage School of Business, UC Irvine.
2014  Dr. Wenbin Liao, CIRM postdoc training grant
2014  Eline Kocharyan, UROP Research Grant
2014  Louai Labanieh, UROP Research Grant
2013  Kaixiang Zhang, Molecular Medicine Tri-Con 2014 Student Fellowship
2013  Dr. Monsur Ali, First prize in poster competition of the 2013 Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center Retreat
2013  Milad Riazifar, MSC 2013 Travel Award
2013  George Polovin, CIRM Bridging Training Grant
2013  Dr. Dong-Ku Kang, CCBS Opportunity Awards
2013  Joel Trushinski, UROP Research Grant
2013  Michael Wu, UROP Research Grant
2013  Joel Trushinski, Sigma Xi Grant
2012  Dr. Mark Eckert, CIRM postdoc training grant