Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Prof Cho Nam-Joon

Professor, School of Materials Science & Engineering

Email: njcho@ntu.edu.sg
Prof Cho Nam-Joon

Biography
Dr. Cho is a graduate of Stanford University where he earned an M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering under the guidance of Professor Curtis W. Frank. During his doctoral studies, Dr. Cho first gained an interest in research at the interface of molecular virology and biomaterials. The principal goal of his thesis work was to develop lab-on-a-chip technologies for analysis of viral protein interactions with lipid membranes.

Dr. Cho then continued his postdoctoral training in Professor Jeffrey S. Glenn’s group in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He applied these engineering technologies to combat the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which affects over 150 million people worldwide. His work has led to significant advances for treating HCV, including new drugs currently in preclinical or clinical trials. In addition, Dr. Cho has pioneered a novel approach to liver tissue engineering that has enabled an improved artificial organ system for studying liver disease.

His passion for translational and regenerative medicine has been recognized by several prestigious international honors and awards from the American Liver Foundation, Beckman Foundation, and leading global universities and companies including Chalmers University of Technology and Roche Ltd. In 2011, Dr. Cho was named an NRF Fellow by the Singapore National Research Foundation, and was also appointed to a Nanyang Associate Professorship. In addition to his academic duties, Dr. Cho is the founder of infollutionZERO, a global nonprofit organization committed to building a green digital world for future generations by eradicating infollution (information + pollution) from the digital world.
Research Interests
Our research is focused on engineering approaches to solve challenging medical problems with strong emphasis on: 1) biosensing, 2) hydrogel tissue engineering, 3) biopharmaceuticals, and 4) drug delivery.

To support these translational projects, we have several ongoing academic and industrial collaborations including those with Harvard University, Stanford University, and Roche Ltd.
Despite advances in therapeutic drugs and tools, much work remains towards the early identification and eradication of infectious diseases. We are developing model membrane sensing platforms to interrogate the mechanisms of virus life cycles, especially that of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). We are also leveraging these engineering strategies to combat a wide range of viruses including dengue and influenza. In a related project, we are characterizing the molecular interactions of phospholipases involved in inflammatory response and the pathogeneses of many cancers.

To more effectively translate new medicines into clinical therapies, we also have an active regenerative medicine team focused on liver tissue engineering. The liver is an important organ that is the site of HCV infection. Moreover, liver toxicity is a major challenge which accounts for the costly failure of many drugs late in the pipeline. Therefore, our primary aim in this area is to develop an artificial liver tissue platform to study HCV infection and drug toxicity.

Taken together, our overall research initiative seeks to engineer artificial membrane and tissue platforms to probe biological systems, and to translate these findings into enhanced therapeutic and drug delivery options that more effectively target infectious diseases, inflammatory disorders, and cancer.
Current Projects
  • Affordable U-Healthcare Platform For Diabetes Management
  • Affordable U-healthcare Platform for Diabetes Management
  • Artificial Cell Membrane Microarray Platform for Molecular Diagnostics and Profiling
  • Artificial Liver Platform for Next-Generation Drug Discovery and Development
  • Biophysical Applications of Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy
  • CoE CRP and Tier 3 Preparatory Grant Call FY2019
  • Combating Infectious Diseases: Engineering Strategies for Molecular Virology
  • Development of next generation biosensing devices with high sensitivity and selectivity based on surface-enhanced Raman scattering
  • Discovering Future Materials Project
  • Fusogenic Liposomes with Broad-Spectrum Antibacterial Activity for Topical Skin Applications
  • Liposome Technology towards the Development of a Cytokine-Based Peptide as a Biopharmaceutical Drug Candidate for Skin and Aging Applications
  • Materials Research Society of Singapore Chair in Materials Science and Engineering (Cho Nam Joon)
  • Methods for production and quality control of mesenchymal stem cell-based therapies
  • NANYANG AWARD FOR I&E
  • NTU-California Center On Precision Biology (CPB)
  • Nano-bio Interface Engineering for Translational Science Applications
  • Nanofiber-Encapsulated, Anti-Infective Agents for Treatment of Bacterial Skin Infections
  • Targeting Assembly and Function of Hepatitis C Virus Replicase
  • Tissue Engineering
Selected Publications
  • Park SH, Avsar SY, Cornell B, Ferhan AR, Jeon WY, Chung M, Cho NJ. (2020). Probing The Influence of Tether Density on Tethered Bilayer Lipid Membrane (tBLM)-Peptide Interactions. Applied Materials Today, 18, 100527.
  • Zhao C, Xu X, Ferhan AR, Chiang N, Jackman JA, Yang Q, Liu W, Andrews AM, Cho NJ, Weiss PS. (2020). Scalable Fabrication of Quasi-One-Dimensional Gold Nanoribbons for Plasmonic Sensing. Nano Letters, 20, 1747-1754.
  • Park JH, Ferhan AR, Jackman JA, Cho NJ. (2019). Modulating Conformational Stability of Human Serum Albumin and Implications for Surface Passivation Applications. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 180, 306-312.
  • Maekawa T, Chin HK, Takashi N, Sut TN, Ferhan AR, Hayashi T, Cho NJ. (2019). Molecular Diffusion and Nano-Mechanical Properties of Multi-Phase Supported Lipid Bilayers. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 21, 16686-16693.
  • Jackman JA, Ferhan AR, Cho NJ,. (2019). Surface-Based Nanoplasmonic Sensors for Biointerfacial Science Applications. The Chemical Society of Japan. Bulletin, 92, 1404-1412.

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