MBE Research Highlights

Poking cells for efficient vector-free intracellular delivery

Research Highlights - Dr. SHI Peng

The work on the new intracellular delivery technology, led by Dr. SHI Peng in MBE, was published in Nature Communications.

Techniques for introducing foreign molecules and materials into living cells are of great value in cell biology research. A major barrier for intracellular delivery is to cross the cell membrane. Dr. Shi’s research group recently developed a novel platform utilizing diamond nanoneedle arrays to facilitate efficient vector-free cytosolic delivery. Using this technique, cellular membrane is deformed by an array of nanoneedles with a force on the order of a few nanonewtons. The technique is applicable to deliver a broad range of molecules and materials into different types of cells, including primary neurons in adherent culture. Especially, for delivering DNAs into neurons, the technique can achieve at least eightfold improvement in transfection efficiency when compared with the commonly used lipofection approach. It is anticipated that this technology will be of great translational value, and could benefit both basic cell biology research and clinical applications


  • “Poking Cells for Efficient Vector-free Intracellular Delivery” Y. Wang, Y. Yang, L. Yan, S. Y. Kwok, W. Li, Z. Wang, X. Zhu, G. Zhu, W. Zhang, X. Chen and P. Shi. Nature Communications, 5: 4466, 2014.

Last modified on 31 July, 2014