About the PI

Fan Zhang Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmaceutics
College of Pharmacy
University of Florida
Email: fzhang1@cop.ufl.edu

Training Experiences

Training Institution
Postdoc Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Program of Immunology
Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University, Center for Nanomedicine
B.S. Donghua University, College of Materials Science and Engineering

About

Fan Zhang‘s research combines materials science, immunology, and synthetic biology approaches to develop nanotherapeutics that can program immune responses against diseases. Through his graduate training with Kannan Rangaramanujam Ph.D. and Sujatha Kannan M.D., he developed material chemistry and engineering skills to formulate a dendrimer-based nanomedicine for treating neuroinflammation, which is now patented technology. Working with neuroscientists and engineers, he framed the guiding principles for designing drug-carriers to target neuroinflammation. This reinforced his long-term career goal of translating nanomedicine to the clinic, and he set out to extend his expertise in immunology and to expand the clinical impact of his research. He then undertook postdoctoral training with Matthias Stephan, M.D., Ph.D., at the Clinical Research Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Through this training, he solidified his foundation in immunology, molecular biology, and animal tumor models, which leads to a deeper understanding of immunotherapy and gene therapy. As an American Brain Tumor Association Research Fellowship Awardee, he developed a polymer-based platform that efficiently delivers mRNAs into macrophages; it can be used to genetically reprogram macrophages by targeting critical transcription factors. His findings provided evidence for using a gene-modification system to ‘correct’ cell function as a novel cancer treatment strategy and are currently in clinical translation. His expertise in engineering, immunology, and experience of working closely with physicians have placed him in a unique position to establish an interdisciplinary research program that integrates the formulation of nanotherapeutics with immunology, synthetic biology, and translational research.

Awards

  • AAPS Best Abstract Awards, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, 2020
  • Young Investigator Award, Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer 34th Annual Meeting, 2019
  • BEST POSTER AWARD, Gordon Research Conference on Cancer Nanotechnology, 2019
  • Young Investigator Research Award, 5nd Annual Immuno-Oncology Young Investigators’ Forum (PhD/Postdoctoral Researcher Category, 3rd place), 2019
  • American Medical Association (AMA) PRA Category 1 Credit™ certification, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), 2019
  • AACR Scholar-in-training Award, American Association for Cancer Research, 2019
  • Fred Hutch Student/Postdoc Advisory Committee Travel Award, 2019
  • ABTA Basic Research Fellowships Award, American Brain Tumor Association, 2018, ongoing
  • Donghua Scholarship, Donghua University, 2009
  • Outstanding Technological Innovation Research, Shanghai City Government, 2009
  • Academic Excellence Award, 2007 and 2008, Donghua University

Patents

The following international patents have been licensed under Ashvattha Therapeutics.

  • Mangraviti A. Mastorakos P, Mishra M, Kannan RM, Tyler B, Zhang F, SELECTIVE DENDRIMER DELIVERY TO BRAIN TUMORS. US Pub number: US20170173172A1, WO/2016/025741.
  • Kannan RM, Kannan, S, Nance E, Blue M, Johnston M, Baumgartner W, Zhang F, Wilson MA, Slusher B. DENDRIMER COMPOSITIONS AND USE IN TREATMENT OF NEUROLOGICAL AND CNS DISORDERS. US Pub number: US20170232120A1.
  • Kannan RM, Kannan, S, Fatemi A, Zhang F, Turk B. COMPOSITIONS AND METHODS FOR TREATMENT OF PEROXISOMAL DISORDERS AND LEUKODYSTROPHIES, US Pub number: US20170119899A1.
  • Kannan RM, Hackam D, Kannan S, Nino DF, Zhang F. DENDRIMER COMPOSITIONS AND USE IN TREATMENT OF NECROTIZING ENTEROCOLITIS AND OTHER GASTROINTESTINAL DISORDERS, US Pub number: US20170119897A1.

Department of Pharmaceutics • College of Pharmacy • University of Florida

1345 Center Drive PO BOX 100494, Medical Science Building, Room P3-27 Gainesville, FL 32610