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Rong Wang

Rong Wang, Ph.D.

Rong Wang, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry
Graduate Director
Director, International Center for Sensor Science and Engineering






344 Robert A. Pritzker Science Center


B.S. Jilin University
Ph.D. University of Tokyo


My research interest focuses on utilizing biophysics and surface chemistry approaches to examine cells/microbes and diseases at molecular levels, as well as developing functional biomaterials to forge new detection and intervention methods.  In specific, my group harnesses the advancements in molecular characterization methods such as probe scanning microscopy, surface engineering with new bioconjugate chemistry, and molecular manipulation via photochemistry and nano-processing to deliberate the cell-cell / cell-matrix interactions and to explicate the concerted changes of cells, tissues and their environments. 

Students receive training in physical biochemistry, surface chemistry, bioconjugate chemistry, materials science and cell biology through the following on-going research projects:

  • Develop collagen-based composite materials (particularly, collagen-CNT, collagen-TiO2 nanotube and collagen-silk) to tune the matrix properties, such as structure, elasticity and alignment. These materials are applied as scaffolds to coaxing the differentiation of stem cells toward neurons. 
  • Examine collagen’s structure and elasticity on the nanoscopic to macroscopic scales in clinical pelvic floor connective tissues to correlate with the stage of pelvic organ prolapse (POP). 
  • Examine the role of heterotypic collagen fibers in the stiffness of ovarian tumor extracellular matrix (ECM) and its correlation with papillary outgrowth of ovarian carcinoma and cancer metastasis.
  • Develop enabling tools to perform in-situ gene expression analysis at the single cell level. This method was applied to identifying sub-population cells (potential cancer stem cells) and the niche cells in ovarian cancer cell cultures and ovarian cancer tumor tissues.
  • Monitor the virus attachment and quantify the virus adhesion strength to various surfaces. The outcome of the research will allow the development of better recovery methods for virus detection and removal. 


The following is a partial list of recent publications:

"E-spun Composite Fibers of Collagen and Dragline Silk Protein: Fiber Mechanics, Biocompatibility and Application in Stem Cell Differentiation" Bofan Zhu, Wen Li, Randy Lewis, Carlo Segre, Rong Wang, Biomacromolecules, 16: 202−213 (2015).

"Effect of CNT on Collagen Fiber Structure, Stiffness Assembly Kinetics and Stem Cell Differentiation", Taeyoung Kim, Indumathi Sridharan, Bofan Zhu, Joseph Orgel, Rong Wang, Mater. Sci. Eng. C, 49: 281-289 (2015).

"Two-way regulation between cells and aligned collagen fibrils: local 3D matrix formation and accelerated neural differentiation of human decidua parietalis placental stem cells.", Wen Li, Bofan Zhu, Zuzana Strakova, Rong Wang, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Com., 450: 1377-1382 (2014).

"Structural and mechanical profiles of native collagen fibers in vaginal wall connective tissues", Indumathi Sridharan, Yin Ma, Taeyoung Kim, William Kobak, Jacob Rotmensch, Rong Wang, Biomaterials 33: 1520-1527 (2012).

"A Traceless Cross-linker for Photo-Cleavable Bioconjugation", Rong Wang, Funing Yan, Dengli Qiu, Jae-Sun Jeong, Qiaoling Jin, Tae-Young Kim, Liaohai Chen, Bioconj. Chem., 23: 705−713 (2012).

"Spatially Resolved Quantification of E-Cadherin on Target hES Cells", Zhaoxia Li, Dengli Qiu, Indumethi Sridharan, Xiaoping Qian, Honghong Zhang, Chunbo Zhang and Rong Wang, J. Phys. Chem. B., 114, 2894-2900 (2010).