- Robert W. Schaefer Professor
Pursues the synthesis, characterization, and processing of nanobiomaterials for diagnosis and therapies.
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Hyunjoon (Joon) Kong is a Robert W Schafer Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He also is affiliated with the Departments of Bioengineering and Pathobiology and is a member of the Regenerative Biology & Tissue Engineering research theme at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. Professor Kong joined the department in 2007. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan. He completed his postdoctoral studies at the University of Michigan and was a research associate at Harvard University. At Illinois, he has developed various active hybrid materials including stimulus-responsive or self-propelling colloids and hydrogels systems. He further uses the materials for molecular and cell therapies of vascular and brain diseases as well as an infection. Prof. Kong has authored or co-authored more than 150 research papers and over 8 issued and pending patent applications. He received multiple research awards. He also serves as a member of the international editorial board of Biomaterials. and the editorial board of Biofabrication.
- Research Associate, Harvard University, 2004-2006
- Postdoctorate, University of Michigan, 2001-2004
- Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2001
- M.S., Hanyang University, Korea, 1995
- B.S., Hanyang University, Korea, 1992
- Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2007-2013
- Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2013-2016
- Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2016-
Major Consulting Activities
- International Editorial Board Member of Biomaterials
- Bio-Inspired Materials, Drug Delivery, Cell Manufacturing and Therapy, Tissue Engineering
Our group’s overall goal is to develop active hybrid matters useful for bioscience, medicine, and environmental science.. Specifically, we focus on creating simple, but novel methods to control nano- and micro-structure of synthetic and biological materials inspired by nature and further modulate chemical and physical properties of materials. In addition, we are exploring use of the resulting matters in multiple applications including drug delivery, anti-fouling, diagnosis/bioimaging, drug/cell therapies, and biomachinery. In this context, our current research projects include;
- Active matters (e.g., hydrogels & colloids doped with catalysts) for molecular and cell therapies of ischemic injury, inflammation, and infection
- Modular assembly of nano- and micro-sized stimulus-responsive materials for drug and cell delivery
- Stretchable and tough hydrogels for minimally invasive delivery, surgical simulation, and werable electronics
- Bio and abiotic soft machinery and organoids
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Books Edited or Co-Edited (Original Editions)
- Stem cells and revascularization therapies. Edited by Kong, H.J., Putnam, A.J. & Schook L.B. CRC Press (2012).
Selected Articles in Journals
- Hong, Y-T., Bregante, D.T., Lee, J.C-W., Seo, Y., Kim, D-H., Lee, Y.J., Schook, L.B., Jeon, H., Sung, H-J., Flaherty, D.W., Rogers, S.A., Kong, H.J. Catalytic microgelators for decoupled control of gelation rate and rigidity of the biological gels. Journal of Controlled Release 317:166-180 (2020).
- Kim, B.S., Leong, J., Yu, S.J., Cho, Y., Park C.G., Kim, D-H., Im, S.G., Lee, J., Kim, Y.J., & Kong, H.J. Stimulus-Responsive Anti-Oxidizing Drug Crystals and Its Ecological Implication. Small 15:e1900765 (2019)
- Ko, E., Yu, S.J., Pagan-Diaz, G.J., Mahmassani, Z., Boppart, M.D., Im, S.G., Bashir, R., & Kong, H.J. Matrix topography regulates synaptic transmission at the neuromuscular junction. Advanced Science. 6:1970032 (2019).
- Ballance, W.C., Qin, E., Chung, H.J., Gillette, M., & Kong H.J. Oxygen species-responsive drug delivery systems for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Biomaterials 217 (2019).
- Teo, J., Seo, Y.B., Leong, E., Ko, E., Tong, Y.H., Yang, Y.Y., & Kong, H.J. Surface tethering of stem cells with H2O2-responsive anti-oxidizing colloidal particles for protection against oxidation-induced death. Biomaterials 201:1-15 (2019).
- Li, Z., Seo, Y.B., Kamm, R.D., Kong, H.J. & Saif, T.A. A biohybrid valveless pump-bot powered by engineered skeletal muscle. Proceedings of National Academy of Science USA 116:1543-1548 (2019).
- Seo, Y., Leong, J., Park, J.D., Hong, Y., Lee, S., Park, C., Kim, D.H., Deng, Y-H., Dushnov, V.Y., Rogers, S., Yang, Y.., Kong, H. J. Diatom microbubbler for active biofilm removal in confined spaces. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces 10, 35685-35692 (2018)
- Park, J., Andrade, B., Seo, Y., Kim, M.J., Zimmerman, S.C. & Kong, H. J. Engineering the surface of therapeutic “living” cells. Chemical Reviews 118: 1664-1690(2018).
- Clay, N., Whittenberg, J., Leong, J., Kumar, V., Chen, J., Choi, I., Liama, E., Schieferstein, J., Jeong, J., Kim, D-H., Zhang, Z., Kenis, P., Ki, I.W., & Kong, H.J.. Chemical and mechanical modulation of polymeric micelle assembly. Nanoscale 9:5194-5204 (2017).
- Seo, Y., Leong, J., Teo, J.Y., Mitchell, J., Gillette, M., Han, B., Lee, J., & Kong, H.J. Active Antioxidizing Particles for On-Demand Pressure-Driven Molecular Release. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 9: 35642-35650 (2017).
- Smith, C., Lee, J, Seo, Y., Clay, N., Park, J., Shkumatov, A., Ernenwein, D., Lai, M-H., Misra, S., Sing, C., Andrade, B., Zimmerman, S., & Kong, H. J. Worm-like superparamagnetic nanoparticle clusters for enhanced adhesion and magnetic resonance relaxivity. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 9: 1219-1225 (2017).
- Lee, M., Park, J., Wang, X., Roein-Peikar M., Ko, E., Qin, E., Lee, J., Ha, E*., Kong, H.J*. Rupture force of cell adhesion ligand tethers modulates biological activities of a cell-laden hydrogel. Chemical Communication 52:4757 (2016).
- Lee, M.K., Rich, M., Lee, J.H., & Kong, H.J. A bio-inspired, microchanneled hydrogel with controlled spacing of cell adhesion ligands regulates 3D spatial organization of cells and tissue. Biomaterials 58:26-34 (2015).
- Shkumatov, A., Thompson, M., Choi, K.M., Sicard, D., Baek, K., Kim, D.H., Tschumperlin, D.J., Prakash, Y.S. & Kong, H.J. Matrix stiffness-modulated proliferation and secretory function of the airway smooth muscle cells. American Journal of Physiology: Lung Cellular Molecular Physiology 308:L1125-1135 (2015) -Editor’s Picks.
- Smith, C.E., Ernenwein, D., Shkumatov, A., Clay, N., Lee, J., Melhem, M., Misra, S., Zimmerman, S.C. & Kong, H.J. Hydrophilic packaging of iron oxide nanoclusters for highly sensitive imaging. Biomaterials 69: 184-190 (2015).
- Lai, M-H., Clay, N., Kim, D. H. & Kong, H.J. Bacterium-Mimicking nanoparticle surface functionalization with targeting motifs. Nanoscale 7, 6737 - 6744 (2015).
- Vega, J., Lee, M.K., Jeong, J.H., Smith, C., Lee, K.Y., Chung, H.J., Leckband, D. & Kong, H. J. Recapitulating cell-cell adhesion using N-cadherin biologically tethered to substrates. Biomacromolecules 15, 2172-2179 (2014).
- Chen, J., Lee, M.K., Qin, E., Misra, S., & Kong, H.J. Van der Waals force-induced loading of proangiogenic nanoparticles on microbubbles for enhanced neovascularization. Nanoscale 7: 17139-17147 (2015)
- Smith, C., Shkumatov, A., Withers, S., Glockner, J., Misra, S., Roy, E., Wong, C-H, Zimmerman, S. & Kong, H.J. A Polymeric Fastener can Easily Functionalize Liposome Surfaces with Gadolinium for Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging ACS Nano 7:9599-9610 (2013).
- Baek, G.H., Jeong, J., Shkumatov, A., Bashir, R. & Kong, H.J. In situ self-folding assembly of multi-walled hydrogel tube for uniaxial, sustained molecular release. Advanced Materials 39:5568-5573 (2013).
- Yonet, N., M. Rich, Lee, M.K., Lai, M-H, & Kong, H.J. Spatiotemporal Control of Erosion and Molecular Release from Micropatterned Poly(ethylene glycol)-based Hydrogel. Biomaterials 34: 8416-8423 (2013).
- Cha, C., Antoniadou, E., Lee, M., Jeong, J.H., Ahmed, W.W., Saif, T.A., Boppart, S.A. & Kong H. J. Tailoring hydrogel adhesion to Polydimethylsiloxane substrates using polysaccharide glue. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 52:6949-6952(2013). – Chosen as Hot Paper
- Jeong, J.H., Schmidt J.J., Kohman, R.E., Zill, A.T., Devolder, R.J., Smith, C.E., Lai, M.H., Shkumatov, A., Jensen, T.W., Schook, L.G., Zimmerman, S.C., & Kong H.J. Leukocyte-Mimicking Stem Cell Delivery via in Situ Coating of Cells with a Bioactive Hyperbranched Polyglycerol. Journal of the American Chemical Society 135:8763-8765 (2013). â€“ Highlighted by C&EN News & SciBX, chosen as a spotlight by JACS
- Lai, M., Jeong, J., DeVolder, R., Brockman, C., Schroeder, C.M., & Kong, H.J. Ellipsoidal polyaspartamide polymersomes with enhanced cell-targeting ability. Advanced Functional Materials 22:3239-3246 (2012).
- Jeong, J., Cha, C., Chan, V., Zorulutuna, P., Bashir, R., & Kong, H.J. Living microvascular stamp for patterning of functional neovessels; Orchestrated control of matrix property and geometry. Advanced Materials 24: 58-63 (2012). â€“ Cover article, highlighted by C&EN & Chemical Engineering Progress.
- DeVolder, R., Bae, H., Lee, J., & Kong, H.J. Directed blood vessel growth using angiogenic microfiber/microparticle composite patch. Advanced Materials 23:3139-3143 (2011).
- Liang, Y., Jeong, J., DeVolder, R., Cha, C., Wang, F., Tong, Y., & Kong, H.J. A cell-instructive hydrogel to regulate malignancy of 3D tumor spheroids with matrix rigidity. Biomaterials 32:9308-9315 (2011).
- Liang, Y., Jensen, T.W., Roy, E.J., Cha, C., DeVolder, R.J., Kohman, R.E., Zhang, B.Z., Textor, K.B., Rund, L.A., Schook, L.B., Tong, Y.W., & Kong, H.J. Tuning the non-equilibrium state of a drug-encapsulated poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogel for stem and progenitor cell mobilization. Biomaterials 32:2004-2012 (2011).
- Cha, C., Kim, S., Cao, L., & Kong, H.J. Decoupled control of stiffness and permeability of cell-encapsulated poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogel. Biomaterials 31:4864-4871 (2010).
- Cha, C., Kohman, R., & Kong, H.J. Biodegradable polymer cross-linker: Independent control of stiffness, toughness and degradation rate of hydrogel. Advanced Functional Materials 19:3056-3062 (2009).
- Schmidt, J.J., Rowley, J., & Kong, H.J. Hydrogels used for cell-based drug delivery. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research A 87:1113-1122 (2008).
- Kong, H.J. & Mooney, D.J. Cellular microenvironments to regulate biomacromolecular therapies. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 6:455-463 (2007).
- Kong, H.J., Boontheekul, T., & Mooney, D.J. Quantifying the relation between adhesion ligand-receptor bond formation and cell phenotype. Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences (USA) 103:18534-18539 (2006).
- Kong, H.J., Polte, T., Alsberg, E., & Mooney D.J. FRET measurements of cell-traction forces and nano-scale clustering of adhesion ligands varied by substrate stiffness. Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences (USA) 102:4300-4305 (2005),
- Kong, H.J., Liu, J., Riddle, K., Matsumoto, T., Leach, K., & Mooney D.J. Gene delivery regulated by substrate rigidity. Nature Materials 4:460-464 (2005) – Highlighted by Nature 435:250 (2005).
- Kong, H.J., Alsberg, E., Darnell, K., Lee, K.Y., & Mooney, D.J. Controlling degradation of hydrogels via the size of cross-linked junctions. Advanced Materials 16:1917-1921(2004)
- International Academy of Biological and Medical Engineering (IAMBE) fellow, 2023
- School of Chemical Science Teaching Excellence Award, 2021
- American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) Fellow, 2017
- Centennial Scholar, 2013-2016
- Campus Distinguished Promotion Award, 2016
- Engineering Dean's Award for Research Achievement, 2016
- University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study Fellow, 2012-2013
- Engineering Dean's Award for Research Achievement, 2012
- Korean Institute for Chemical Engineers President Young Investigator Award, 2011
- CAREER Award, National Science Foundation, 2009
- Scientist Development Grant, American Heart Association, 2008
- Fellowship, Hanyang University, 1995
- Samnam Foundation Fellowship, Lotte Inc., Korea, 1991