Mingjun Zhang


Department of Biomedical Engineering
Department of Surgery (Courtesy)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (Courtesy)
Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute
Neurological Institute
Biophysics Program
Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell Based Therapies

OSU Medical Center
Biomedical Research Tower
318, 460 W 12th Avenue (office)
340 C, D, 460 W 12th Avenue (lab)

Mailing Address:
275 Bevis Hall, 1080 Carmack Road
Columbus, OH, 43210
Tel: 614-292-3181
Fax: 614-292-7301

E-mail: zhang.4882@osu.edu

Research Highlights
  • In 2017, we showed that nanoscale physical properties of protein aggregates from the cerebral spinal fluid and blood of patients are altered during Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis and that these properties can be used as a new class of "physical biomarkers." Using a computational algorithm, developed to integrate these biomarkers and cognitive assessments, we demonstrated an approach to diagnose AD and predict its progression. Real-time diagnostic updates of progression could be made on the basis of the changes in the physical biomarkers and the cognitive assessment scores of patients over time. Additionally, the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem was used to determine the minimum number of necessary patient checkups to effectively predict disease progression. This integrated computational approach can generate patient-specific, personalized signatures for AD diagnosis and prognosis. The paper published in Science Advances. Press release from The Ohio State University about the study, and some media news about the study.

  • In 2015, our work on bio-inspired fluorescent peptide nanoparticles was accepted for publication by Nature Nanotechnology. The work was also highlighted by the News and Views in Nature Nanotechnology. PDF version of the News and Views. Inspired by the red shift seen in the yellow fluorescent protein that results from pi-pi stacking and by the enhanced fluorescence intensity seen in the green fluorescent protein mutant, BFPms1, which results from the structure rigidification by Zn(II), we designed and fabricated the dipeptide nanoparticle that can shift the peptide's intrinsic fluorescent signal from the ultraviolet to the visible range. The dipeptide nanoparticles are photostable, biocompatible and have a narrow emission bandwidth and visible fluorescence properties. After functionalized with the MUC1 aptamer and doxorubicin, the nanoparticles can be used to target cancer cells, image and monitor drug release in real time. Press release from The Ohio State University about the study. Featured episode in Science Now by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

  • In 2014, we applied a high-speed imaging platform and a resistive force theory (RFT) based model to investigate multi-flagellated propulsion, using T. foetus as an example. We discovered that T. foetus has distinct flagellar beating motions for linear swimming and turning, similar to the ‘run and tumble’ strategies observed in bacteria and Chlamydomonas. It was found that the curvatures of the anterior flagella do not decrease monotonically along their lengths, confirming the ciliary waveform of these flagella. It was also discovered that the propulsive force of T. foetus was similar to that of sperm and Chlamydomonas, indicating that multi-flagellated propulsion does not necessarily contribute to greater thrust generation, and may have evolved for greater manoeuvrability or sensing. The findings were published in Journal of The Royal Society Interface.

  • In 2014, an infusion-dialysis based procedure is developed by our group for isolating nanoparticles from green tea. The potential of these tea nanoparticles as a multifunctional nanocarrier for cancer therapy in vitro is further explored. The tea nanoparticles showed enhancement of the in vitro secretion of cytokines IL-6, TNF-a, and G-CSF, as well as the chemokines RANTES, IP-10, MDC from mouse macrophages RAW264.7, indicating an immunostimulatory effect. As a nanocarrier, the TNPs are able to form complexes with doxorubicin (DOX). Further the DOX-loaded tea nanopartcles increase the cellular DOX uptake, compared to free DOX, leading to higher cytotoxicity in the A549 human lung cancer and MCF-7 breast cancer cells. More importantly, the DOX-loaded tea nanoparticles significantly increase the DOX uptake and cytotoxicity in MCF-7/ADR multidrug resistant breast cancer cells. The work was published in Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology.

  • In 2013, our findings published in Journal of The Royal Society Interface concluded that the nanoparticles found in the high-strength adhesive secreted from English ivy are proteinaceous, providing further insight regarding their contribution to the enhanced adhesive properties exhibited by this surface climbing plant.

  • In 2012, we developed a method to produce nanoparticles from Arthrobotrys oligospora, a carnivorous fungus known for creating a three dimensional network of traps to capture its prey. These nanoparticles have shown promise as a potential drug delivery vehicle that can be used for cancer immunochemotherapy. Our findings were published in Advanced Functional Materials. News about this research can be found here.

  • In 2012, we discovered that curved swimming trajectories of the whirligig beetles were more energy efficient relative to linear trajectories, when considering the overall distance traveled per leg stroke. This observation provides one source of evidence as to why these types of trajectories are more often observed in nature. This work was published in PLoS Computational Biology. News about this research can be found here.

  • In 2011, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published our research regarding the unique swimming mechanisms of Giardia lamblia trophozoites. News about this research can be found here.

  • In 2011, the National Science Foundation Discovery website featured our research on naturally occurring and bioinspired nano-adhesives for biomedical applications: The Nanotechnology of sundew and English Ivy. The sundew adhesive demonstrated its promising potential for tissue engineering applications. BBC News also featured a column about the findings in 2012 entitled: Insect-eating sundew plant heals wounds.

  • In 2010, our research on using naturally occurring nanoparticles for sunscreen was published by the Journal of Nanobiotechnology. The research received national media attention.

  • In 2008, English ivy inspired our discovery that it secretes a high-strength adhesive containing nanoparticles, which have been shown to aid in its ability to climb many different surfaces. This work was published by Nano Letters and was featured in multiple media and press releases.

  • D.Sc., 2000, Washington University in St. Louis, USA.
  • Ph.D., 1996, Zhejiang University, P. R. China.
  • MS in BioEngineering, 2007, Stanford University, CA, USA.
  • MS in Electrical Engineering, 2007, Stanford University, CA, USA.
  • MS in Mechanical Engineering, 1994, Zhejiang University, P. R. China.
  • B.Eng in Mechanical Engineering, 1990, Zhejiang University, P. R. China.

Honors and Awards
  • Research Fellow Award. College of Engineering. The University of Tennessee, 2013.
  • Young Investigator Award. Office of Naval Research. Department of Defense, 2011.
  • Research Fellow Award. College of Engineering. The University of Tennessee, 2011.
  • Innovation Merit Award. Life Sciences & Chemical Analysis Division, Agilent Technologies, 2005.
  • Boeing Distinguished Speaker. The University of Missouri--Rolla, 2004.
  • Early Career Award (Government/Industry). IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, 2003.
  • Zhu Kezhen Scholarship. Zhejiang University, 1996.


  • Member. BMES, 2008.
  • Member. AAAS, 2008.
  • Senior Member. IEEE, 2006.

  • 2014 - Present. Professor of Department of Biomedical Engineering and Surgery (courtesy). Investigator, Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute. The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43201, USA.
  • 2008 - 2013. Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA.
  • 2001 - 2007.Research and Development. Bio-chip fabrication, lab-on-a-chip molecular diagnosis and bio-instrumentation. Life Science and Chemical Analysis Division, Agilent Technologies, California, USA.
Department of Biomedical Engineering. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43201