Prof. ZHANG, Yong

Prof. ZHANG, Yong

Head and Chair Professor

Research Interest

  • Nanomaterials
  • Nanobiophotonics
  • Digital Nanomedicine
  • Optogenetics
  • Wireless phototherapy
  • Microfluidic devices
  • Phone: +852 3442-6774
    Personal Email:
    Address: YEUNG-P7708

    Professor Yong Zhang is currently a Chair Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Head of Department of Biomedical Engineering at City University of Hong Kong. Before he joined CityU, he had over 20 years of working experience in Department of Biomedical Engineering at National University of Singapore (NUS) as a senior researcher, educator and administrative leader. He joined NUS as an Assistant Professor in Oct 2002 and was promoted to Associate Professor in Jan 2007, to Full Professor in 2013 and then Provost’s Chair Professor in 2017. On research, he developed new technology for wireless phototherapy and point-of-care diagnostics based on implantable light-emitting materials and devices. His publications in top-tier journals (Nature Medicine, Nature Biomedical Engineering, Nature Materials, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Communications, PNAS, Nature Protocols, Advanced Materials, Chemical Reviews, Chemical Society Reviews, etc.), many plenary/keynote/invited talks in international conferences, his contribution to academic communities and professional societies, and his effort in technology commercialization, made him an internationally recognized researcher. His research achievements were featured in Nature, The Straits Times, Lianhe Zaobao, Innovation Magazine, Nature Publishing Group (NPG) Asia Materials and Nanotechweb, etc. He received a number of awards such as Humboldt Research Award (2021) and IES Prestigious Engineering Achievement Award (twice, 2012, 2020). He was interviewed by Thomson Reuters Science Watch for his highly cited and hot research papers, elected Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) and Fellow of Singapore Academy of Engineering (FSAEng), named as Global Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics, and listed on World’s Top 2% Scientists by Stanford University and Elsevier BV. On education, in the past 20 years, Professor Zhang provided mentoring and training to many PhD/undergraduate students and young researchers with great diversity of backgrounds from many different countries in Asia, Europe and America. Under his mentoring, these students published research articles in top tier journals such as PNAS and received awards such as President Graduate Fellowship, Best Poster Award, Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors' Award and EMedIC Global (Engineering Medical Innovation Global Competition) Award. He was a recipient of Outstanding Mentor Award given by Singapore Ministry of Education. On service, Professor Zhang served as the Deputy Head of NUS Department of Biomedical Engineering, Chair of Faculty Promotion and Tenure Committee (FPTC) and Faculty Awards Committee, Admission Committee Chair and EXCO member of NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering (NGS), and member of University Promotion and Tenure Committee (UPTC) and University Research Committee (URC). Professor Zhang also provided a lot of service to professional and scientific community by serving as the conference chair, grant review panel member, journal editor or editorial board member, and so on.

    ResearcherID: F-2803-2010
    ORCID: 0000-0002-1303-0458
    Google Scholar: Yong Zhang

    • World’s Top 2% Scientists
    • Humboldt Research Award
    • IES Prestigious Engineering Achievement Awards, Institute of Engineers Singapore (twice)
    • Global Highly Cited Researcher (Clarivate Analytics)
    • NUS Provost’s Chair Professorship
    • Fellowship of Royal Society of Chemistry (UK)
    • NML Researcher Award
    • Erwin Schrodinger Society Poster Award (1st Prize)
    • Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors' Award
    • Faculty Research Award, Faculty of Engineering, NUS
    • DAAD Scholarship, Germany
    • NUS Young Investigator Award, Singapore

    Total research funding of more than S$29M (US$21M) as lead PI.

    • Rechargeable Light Delivery Device for Wireless Optogenetics Interrogation in Ageing Brain, NMRC, S$ 1,242,000 (+30% IRC), 09/2022-09/2027
    • Combined proton beam therapy and proton beam triggered photodynamic therapy for cancer treatment, NMRC, S$ 1,250,000 (+20% IRC), 08/2021-08/2025
    • Self-propelling upconversion Janus nanoparticles for overcoming light and diffusion limited penetration of drugs in solid tumors, NMRC, S$ 1,215,700 (+20% IRC), 08/2018-08/2021
    • Remote-controlled Photo-therapy with Small-Scale Wireless Bioelectronics, MOE Tier-3 programme, S$7,346,200 (+20% IRC), 05/2017-05/2022
    • Near-infrared-to-ultraviolet photon upconversion for highly penetrating photodynamic therapy of solid and deep seated cancers, NMRC, S$1,100,000 (+20% IRC), 07/2014-07/2017
    • Fast Bacteria Separation in a Microfluidic Device for Rapid Medical Diagnosis, MOE tier 1, S$177,000, 03/2014-02/2017
    • Versatile core-shell-shell fluorescent upconversion nanoparticles for light based detection and disease diagnostics, NRF, S$215,000 (+20%IRC), 08/2012-08/2013
    • Use of novel upconversion technique for photodynamic therapy of cancer in deep tissues, A*STAR SERC, S$1,299,000 (+20%IRC), 06/2011-05/2013
    • A culture-free and PCR-free technique for rapid detection of bacteria from pathological samples, A*STAR SERC, S$461,703 (+20%IRC), 06/2011-12/2012
    • Rational design of Plasmon-engineered upconversion fluorescent nanomaterials for enhanced imaging and light-triggered bimodal therapy of cancer, A*STAR BMRC, S$620,500 (+20%IRC), 04/2011-03/2014
    • Targeted immunomodulation therapy using folic-acid-CCL21 coated nanoconjugates, MOE Tier 1, S$179,000, 02/2011-01/2014
    • Photoactivable gene silencing using upconverting fluorescent nanoparticles for treatment of malignant melanoma, NMRC, S$181,600 (+20%IRC), 06/2010-06/2012
    • Monitoring of gene transfected myoblast cells transplanted in a Hindlimb Ischemia Model, MOE Tier 1, S$150,000, 03/2009-02/2012
    • Assessing trafficking and tissue distribution of live and subunit vaccines against mycobacterium tuberculosis by dynamic, in vivo fluorescence imaging using ultrafine upconversion fluorescent nanoparticles, A*STAR SBIC, S$716,000 (+20%IRC), 03/2009-02/2012
    • Use of NIR-to-visible upconversion fluorescent nanoparticles for synergistic non-invasive imaging and photodynamic therapy of cancer in deep tissues, A*STAR BMRC, S$669,000 (+20%IRC), 01/2008-12/2010
    • Real time noninvasive imaging of skeletal myoblasts transplanted into the heart using quantum dot / chitosan nanoparticles, A*STAR BMRC, S$ 607,900 (+20%IRC), 03/2006-02/2009.
    • New methods for fabricating nanoarray devices, A*STAR SERC, S$ 698,745 (+20%IRC), 09/2005-08/2008.
    • High performance single cell micropatterning and related applications in cancer diagnosis and treatment, BMRC/NUS Young Investigator Award, S$ 550,000, 05/2003-05/2006.
    • Design of a microfluidic system for multiplexed detection of biomolecules, MOE Tier 1, S$ 168,000, 03/2005-02/2008.
    • Novel upconversion fluorescent nanoparticles for non-invasive imaging of live cells, MOE Tier 1, S$ 104,900, 04/2007-03/2010.
    • Quantum dot based magnetic nanocomposites as multifunctional biological labels, MOE Tier 1, S$ 171,310, 05/2003-04/2005.
    • Cell nuclear targeting intracellular delivery of quantum dot based nanoconjugates, MOE Tier 1, S$ 99,149, 06/2003-06/2004.

    • Ho JS, Zhang Y. Wireless nanomedicine for brain tumors. Nature Nanotechnology, 2022, published online.
    • Fu X, Fu S, Lu Q, Wan PP, Zhang J, Liu JL, Zhang Y*, Chen CH, Li W, Wang HD, Mei QS. Excitation energy mediated cross-relaxation for tunable upconversion luminescence from single lanthanide ion. Nature Communications, 2022, 13, Article Number: 4741.
    • Bansal A, Shikah S, Zhang Y*. Towards translational optogenetics. Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2022, published online.
    • Ruan LF, Zhang Y*. NIR-excitable heterostructured upconversion perovskite nanodots with improved stability. Nature Communications, 2021, 12, Article number: 219.
    • Zhang Y, Lei PP, Zhu XH, Zhang Y*. Full shell coating or cation exchange enhances luminescence. Nature Communications, 2021, 12, Article number: 6178.
    • Liu Y, Zhang Y*. Moving binary-color heterojunction for spatiotemporal multilevel encryption via directional swelling and anion exchange. ACS Nano, 2021, 15, 7628-7637.
    • Zhang Y, Zhu XH, Zhang Y*. Exploring heterostructured upconversion nanoparticles: from rational engineering to diverse applications. ACS Nano, 2021, 15, 3709-3735.
    • Chen XK, Zhang Y*. Combination of tumor fragments and nanotechnology as a therapeutic approach: Treating a tumor with tumor. Nano Today, 2020, 35, Article number 100993.
    • Zhang Z, Rahmat JN, Mahendran R, Zhang Y*. Controllable assembly of upconversion nanoparticles enhanced tumor cell penetration and killing efficiency. Advanced Science, 2020, 7, Article number 2001831.
    • Teh DBL, Bansal A, Chai C, Toh TB, Tucker RAJ, Gammad GGL, Yeo YZ, Lei ZD, Zheng X, Yang FY, Ho JS, Bolem N, Wu BC, Gnanasammandhan MK, Hooi L, Dawe GS, Libedinsky C, Ong WY, Halliwell B, Chow EKH, Lim KL, Zhang Y*, Kennedy BK. A flexi-PEGDA upconversion implant for wireless brain photodynamic therapy. Advanced Materials, 2020, 32, Article Number: 2001459.
    • Lei ZD, Ling X, Mei QS, Fu S, Zhang J, Zhang Y*. Excitation navigating energy migration of lanthanide ions in upconversion nanoparticles. Advanced Materials, 2020, 32, Article number 1906225.
    • Mei QS, Bansal A, Jayakumar MKG, Zhang ZM, Zhang J, Huang H, Yu DJ, Ramachandra CJA, Hausenloy DJ, Soong TW, Zhang Y*. Manipulating energy migration within single lanthanide activator for switchable upconversion emissions towards bidirectional photoactivation. Nature Communications, 2019, 10, Article Number 4416. Research highlight in Nature:
    • Zhang Z, Jayakumar MKG, Zheng X, Shikha S, Zhang Y, Bansal A, Poon DJJ, Chu PL, Yeo ELL, Chua MLK, Chee SK, Zhang Y*. Upconversion superballs for programmable photoactivation of therapeutics. Nature Communications, 2019, 10, Article Number 4586.
    • Tang M, Zhu XH, Zhang YH, Zhang ZP, Zhang ZM, Mei QS, Zhang J, Wu MH, Liu JL, Zhang Y*. Near-infrared excited orthogonal emissive upconversion nanoparticles for imaging-guided on-demand therapy. ACS Nano, 2019, 13, 10405.
    • Kwek K, Salafi T, Shikha S, Zhang Y*. Fluorescent label-free quantitative detection of nano-sized bioparticles using a pillar array. Nature Communications, 2018, 9, 1254.
    • Bansal A, Yang FY, Xi T, Zhang Y*, Ho JS. In vivo wireless photonic photodynamic therapy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 2018, 115, 1469.
    • Shikha S, Salafi T, Cheng JT, Zhang Y*. Versatile design and synthesis of nano-barcodes. Chemical Society Reviews, 2018, 46, 7054.
    • Jayakumar MKG, Idris NM, Bansal A, Huang K & Zhang Y*. Near infrared photoactivation using mesoporous silica-coated NaYF4:Yb,Er/Tm upconversion nanoparticles. Nature Protocols, 2016, 11, 688.
    • Lucky SS, Soo KC, Zhang Y*. Nanoparticles in photodynamic therapy. Chemical Reviews, 2015, 115, 1990.
    • Idris NM, Jayakumar MKG, Bansal A, Zhang Y*. Upconversion nanoparticles as versatile light nanotransducers for photoactivation applications. Chemical Society Reviews, 2015, 44, 1449.
    • Lucky SS, Idris NM, Li ZQ, Huang K, Soo KC, Zhang Y*. Titania coated upconversion nanoparticles for near-infrared light triggered photodynamic therapy. ACS Nano, 2015, 9, 191.
    • Bansal A, Zhang Y*. Photocontrolled nanoparticle delivery systems for biomedical applications. Accounts of Chemical Research, 2014, 47, 3052.
    • Jayakumar MKG, Bansal A, Huang K, Yao RS, Li BN, Zhang Y*. Near infrared light based nanoplatform boosts endosomal escape and controls gene knockdown in vivo. ACS Nano, 2014, 8, 4848. (IF 18.027)
    • Kwek K, Ranjan S, Zhang Y*. Rotational separation of non-spherical bioparticles using I-shaped pillar arrays in a microfluidic device. Nature Communications, 2013, 4, 1625.
    • Idris, N.M., Gnanasammandhan, M.K., Zhang, J., Ho, P.C.L., Mahendran, R., Zhang, Y*. In-vivo photodynamic therapy using upconversion nanoparticles as remote controlled nano-transducers. Nature Medicine, 2012, 18,1580.
    • Zhang Y.J., Zheng F., Yang T.L., Zhou W., Liu Y., Man N., Zhang L., Dou Q.Q., Zhang Y., Li Z.Q., Wen L.P. Tuning cell interaction and autophagy-inducing activity for lanthanide upconversion nanocrystals through specific surface-coating peptides. Nature Materials, 2012, 11, 817.
    • Gnanasammandhan, M.K., Idris, N.M., Zhang Y*. Remote activation of biomolecules in deep tissues using NIR-to-UV upconversion nanotransducers, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 2012, 109, 8483.
    • Li ZQ, Zhang Y*, Jiang S. Multicolor core/shell-structured upconversion fluorescent nanoparticles. Advanced Materials, 2008; 20, 4765.
    • Zhang Y*, Wang C. Micropatterning of proteins on 3D porous polymer films fabricated by using the breath-figure method. Advanced Materials, 2007; 19, 913.
    • Lu MH, Zhang Y*. Microbead patterning on porous films with ordered arrays of pores. Advanced Materials, 2006; 18, 3094.
    • Li ZQ, Zhang Y*. Monodisperse silica-coated polyvinylpyrrolidone/NaYF4 nanocrystals with multicolor upconversion fluorescence emission. Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, 2006, 45, 7732.
    • Wang C, Zhang Y*. Protein micropatterning via self-assembly of nanoparticles. Advanced Materials, 2005, 17, 150.
    • Tan WB, Zhang Y*. Multifunctional quantum-dot-based magnetic chitosan nanobeads. Advanced Materials, 2005, 17, 2375.

    Last modified on 27 September, 2023