Huang is 2017 Li Foundation Fellow

The UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences is pleased to announce the selection of Xiao Huang, PhD, as our 2017 Li Foundation Fellow. In addition to the prestige of the award, the selection carries a $31,500 stipend.

Huang is currently working on two projects: the first is based on a drug delivery technology developed by the Desai Lab in which nanotopography can enhance the drug permeability through epithelial cell barriers. This is a very useful and important technique for the delivery of large molecules through epithelial barriers, but the mechanism of how nanotopography works is not clear. Huang is focused on studying this mechanism using high-resolution microscopy with live cell imaging. The tight junction proteins are labeled with a fluorescence reporter using CRISPR-based genome editing, which allows visualization of tight junction dynamics. The second project is about the functionalization of biocompatible polymeric microparticles for CAR-T cell activation and cancer immunotherapy. The ultimate aim is to excite the systemic immunity toward tumors by the local activation of CAR-T cells.

“Both of these projects are on the cutting edge of the bioengineering field,” said Huang. “The first provides a close-to-natural way of studying detailed mechanisms in biology, which can be applied to many other studies. The second focuses on the solution to the surface functionalization hurdle in the field of polymeric microparticles, and will have immediate impact on the use of polymeric particles in immunotherapy. Working on these two projects equips me with an important toolkit on cell biological engineering and nanomaterials-related chemistry.”

Huang said he was excited about the Fellowship and felt deeply honored. “The Li Foundation Fellowship is a great opportunity for me and my research. I will have more freedom towards the projects I am really interested in, including the purchase of needed reagents. Also, I am planning to attend conferences to learn about other people’s exciting work and build connections with peers.

“I wish to thank The Li Foundation, Inc. for their generous award, the selection committee, and of course my PI, Tejal Desai, for her recommendation.”

Desai said, “BTS is pleased to have this opportunity to assist Xiao in his research and the further advancement of his career.”

Huang is a postdoctoral scholar in the Desai Lab. Past Li Foundation awardees include Xin Zhao, Leqian Liu, and Zhiqiang Dong. The Li Foundation was founded in 1944 by Kuo Ching Li. The Foundation's primary goal was to promote friendly relations between the United States and China. Educational exchange was deemed a suitable vehicle for achieving this goal.


Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.