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Dr. Wei He

Associate Professor Ph.D., Connecticut: Synthesis and Patterning of Polymers for Biomedical Application

Brief Bio

Dr. He received her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with a minor in Engineering Economics from Tianjin University (China) in 1998. She then came to study in University of Connecticut and earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2003. Her dissertation research included biomaterials synthesis, surface modification, and cell-material interactions. Dr. He continued her interests in the biomedical field by conducting her postdoctoral research in the Laboratory for Neuroengineering in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research project focused on developing bioactive coatings to improve tissue reaction against implantable neural electrodes. In fall of 2006, she joined the Department of Bioengineering at University of Washington as a senior fellow to develop novel biodegradable elastomeric materials for soft tissue engineering. In 2007, Dr. He was appointed as a tenure-track assistant professor with a joint appointment between Materials Science and Engineering and Mechanical, Aerospace & Biomedical Engineering at The University of Tennessee. Dr. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2013. Her current interests are biomaterials for drug delivery and tissue engineering, and surface engineering for bio-interfacing. Dr. He has authored or co-authored over 30 scientific journal papers, four book chapters, and has contributed to over 60 technical presentations at national/international conferences and academic institutions. She is also the recipient of a 2011 National Science Foundation Early Faculty Career Award.

Research Areas

  • Responsive surface coating for enhanced tissue integration of neural prostheses
  • Functional biomaterials for peripheral nerve regeneration
  • Bioactive surface engineering for orthopedic applications

Selected Awards and Honors

2012 Departmental Faculty Award for Excellence in Research
Departmental Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching
 National Science Foundation Career Award
2004 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) – Neural Interface Workshop Travel Award, Bethesda, MD
1997 Dow Chemical (USA) – Tao’s Scholarship Award, Tianjin, China
1996 Ministry of National Chemical Industry – Xinhua Scholarship Award, Tianjin, China

Professional Activities

  • Biomedical Engineering Society
  • Materials Research Society
  • Society of Biomaterials

Selected Publications

S. Tang, Z. Shi, Y. Cao, W. He, , “Facile aqueous-phase synthesis of multi-responsive nanogels based on polyetheramines and bisepoxide”, Journal of Materials Chemistry B2013, 1, 1628-1634.

Y. Cao, W. He, , “Water soluble antioxidant derivative poly(triethylene glycol methyl acrylate-co-α-tocopheryl acrylate) as a potential prodrug to enable localized neuroprotection”, Acta Biomaterialia2013, 9, 4558-4568.

L. Huang, Y. Yokoyama, W. Wu, P. K. Liaw, S. J. Pang, A. Inoue, T. Zhang, W. He, , “Ni-free Zr-Cu-Al-Nb-Pd Bulk Metallic Glasses with Different Zr/Cu Ratios for Biomedical Applications”, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, 2012, 100B, 1472-1482.

Y. Cao, W. He, “Functionalized biocompatible poly(N-vinyl-2-caprolactam) with pH-dependent lower critical solution temperature (LCST) behaviors”, Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics 2011, 212, 2503-2510.

J. Page, B. A. Heitz, J. R. Joubert, J. P. Keogh, T. Sparer, S. S. Saavedra, W. He, “In vitro assessment of macrophage attachment and phenotype on polymerized phospholipid bilayers”, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, 2011, 97A, 212-217.

L. Huang, Z. Cao, H.M. Meyer III, P. Liaw, E. Garlea, J.R. Dunlap, T. Zhang, W. He, “Responses of bone-forming cells on pre-immersed Zr-based bulk metallic glasses: effects of composition and roughness”, Acta Biomaterialia2011, 7, 395-405.

Y. Cao, W. He, “Synthesis and characterization of glucocorticoid functionalized poly(N-vinyl pyrrolidone): a versatile prodrug for neural interface”, Biomacromolecules201011, 1298-1307.

Z. Cao, R. Gilbert, W. He, “Simple agarose-chitosan gel composite system for enhanced neuronal growth in three dimensions”, Biomacromolecules 200910, 2954-2959.

W. He, G.C. McConnell, T.M. Schneider, R.V. Bellamkonda, “A novel anti-inflammatory surface for neural electrodes”, Advanced Materials200719, 3529-3533.

W. He, C.R. Halberstadt, K.E. Gonsalves. “Lithography application of a novel photoresist for patterning of cells”, Biomaterials200425, 2055-2063.

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Selected Patents

K. E. Gonsalves and W. He, “Biocompatible resists,” U.S. Patent Number 8,119,392.


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