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Leaf Huang

Director Professor Distinguished Professor

Leaf Huang, Ph.D.

Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor, Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics

Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering

(919) 843-0736
UNC Eshelman School Of Pharmacy, 1315 Kerr Hall, CB# 7571, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599

黄力夫教授 Leaf Huang, Ph.D. is the Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor, in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Huang’s research has been in the area of gene therapy and targeted drug delivery. He pioneered the liposome non-viral vector and has designed and manufactured the cationic lipid vector for the first non-viral clinical trial in 1992. He was also the first to publish the activity of polyethylene glycol (PEG) in prolonging the circulation time of liposomes. His current work centers on nanoparticle vectors for gene transfer in tumors and the liver. He also continues research in establishing a ligand targeted delivery system for cDNA, mRNA, siRNA, proteins, and peptides for tumor growth inhibition and for vaccines in treating cancer and metabolic diseases. He has authored or co-authored more than 600 papers with an H-index of 137. He is also the inventor or co-inventor of 22 US and foreign patents. In 2004, he received the Alec D. Bangham MD FRS Achievement Award, which is the highest honor in liposome research. He was the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Pharmaceutical Scientist Award which is the highest scientific recognition of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. He was named a Highly Cited Researcher in “Pharmacology & Toxicology” and then in “Cross Field” since 2016. Dr. Huang has also co-founded 6 biotech start-ups in the past.

Education, Certification and Licensure

  • 1969 – 1974: Ph.D. in Biophysics at Michigan State University
  • 1964 – 1968: B.S. in Physics at National Taiwan University

Google Scholar

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9421-8283

Current Projects

Current research in the Huang lab focuses on the role of tumor-associated bacteria in tumor progression and metastasis. Fusobacteria nucleatum is an anaerobic bacterium that colonizes in the gut and promotes the growth and spread of colorectal cancer. We have designed nanoformulations encapsulating antibiotics and/or chemo drugs intravenously administered to the tumor-bearing mice. Killing of the tumor/metastasis associated F. nucleatum induced a strong immune reaction to control the tumor growth. How does the death of the bacteria trigger the conversion of an immunologically cold tumor to a hot tumor is being studied with tools including the state of the art omics technology.

  • Administrative Core
  • Nano Approaches to Modulate Host Cell Response for Cancer Therapy
  • Developmental Program
  • Project 1: Nanotherapies for Vemurafenib Resistant Melanoma
  • Hepatic Non-viral Gene Therapy

Honors and Awards

2021 Highly Cited Researchers 2020 in “Cross-Field” by Clarivate Analytics
2020 Highly Cited Researchers 2019 in “Cross-Field” by Clarivate Analytics
Keynote speaker, AAPS PharmSci360 Symposium
2019 Keynote speaker, Virginia Nanomedicine Forum, Virginia Commonwealth University
Keynote speaker, School of Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh
Highly Cited Researchers 2018 in “Pharmacology & Toxicology” by Clarivate Analytics
2018 Member, External Review Team, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Peking University
Highly Cited Researchers 2017 in “Pharmacology & Toxicology” by Thomson Reuters
2017 Distinguished Alumni Award, Physics department, National Taiwan University
Highly Cited Researchers 2016 in “Pharmacology & Toxicology” by Thomson Reuters
2016 Lifetime Achievement Award, Chinese American Society of Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology
Keynote speaker, 48th annual Pharmaceutics Graduate Student Research Meeting, University of Missouri Kansas City
Honorable speaker for the Applied Chemistry Lecture Series, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun, China
2015 Keynote speaker, International Conference on Applied Materials, Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan
Visiting professor, ARC Center of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology. Lecture tour in three Australian universities
Keynote speaker, Australian Society of Nanomedicine, Sydney, AU
2014 Keynote speaker, NanoDDS2014 conference, Chapel Hill, NC
Keynote speaker, Cross-Strait Biomaterials and Controlled Drug Release Symposium, Hsinchu, Taiwan
Qiushi Chair Professor, Zhejiang University, China
2013 Distinguished Pharmaceutical Scientist Award, American Society for Pharmaceutical Scientists. This is the highest scientific recognition of AAPS.
Keynote speaker, Chinese Pharmaceutical Conference, “Lipidic Nanoprecipitates for Drug and Gene Delivery”, Wuhan, China
2013 – 16 Senior Visiting Scholar, Fudan University, China
2012 Changjiang Chair Professor, Zhejiang University, China. Selected by the Ministry of Education, People’s Republic of China (declined)
Qiushi Chair Professor, Zhejiang University, China (declined)
Visiting Professor, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’An, China
Keynote speaker, Symposium of Advanced Nanomaterials in Biomedicine, Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan
2012 – 15 Elected member, Board of Scientific Advisors, Controlled Release Society.
2011 Elected Vice Chair, Gordon Research Conference on “Cancer Nanotechnology”
2010 Visiting Chair Professor, Chung-Yuan Christian University, Taiwan
T. Nagai Postdoc Research Achievement Award, Controlled Release Society. Award was presented to both Dr. Sang Kyoon Kim (postdoc) and Professor Leaf Huang (mentor)
Distinguished speaker, The Academy of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, Japan
Distinguished speaker, Global Center of Excellence, University of Shizuoka, Japan
Distinguished speaker, Japan Association for The Advancement of Medical Equipment
2009 Honorary Professor, Sichuan University, China
Plenary speaker, 4th International Conference in Advanced Drug Delivery, Shanghai, China
Forum speaker, 60th anniversary of Dalian Institute of Chemistry and Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dalian, China
2008 Plenary speaker, The 6th China-Japan-Korea Foresight Joint Symposium on Gene Delivery and International Symposium on Biomaterials, Sanya, China
2007 Plenary speaker, annual meeting of The Pharmaceutical Society of Taiwan, Taiwan
2006 – 2011 Elected member of the Advisory Board, American Society of Gene Therapy
2004 Alec D Bangham MD FRS Achievement Award, Liposome Research Days conference, Hsin-Chu, Taiwan. This is the highest honor in liposome research.
2003 – 2005 Distinguished Faculty Committee, University of Pittsburgh
2003 Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
2001 Plenary Speaker, 22nd Annual Eino Nelson Memorial Conference, Captiva Island, FL
1999 – 2001 “Meet The Professor”, American Society of Gene Therapy Annual Meeting
1999 – 2005 The Joseph Koslow Endowed Chair, University of Pittsburgh
1999 Plenary Speaker, Japanese Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tokushima, Japan
Research Grand Round, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL
1998 – 1999 Chairman, Non-viral Gene Therapy Committee, American Society for Gene Therapy
1998 Fellow, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists
1997 Controlled Release Society Outstanding Pharmaceutical Paper from the 24th International Symposium on Controlled Release of Bioactive Materials
1996 Distinguished Lecturer, Chinese Pharmaceutical Society, Republic of China
1993 Distinguished Speaker, National Science Commission, Republic of China
1984 – 1991 Member, Science Alliance Center of Excellence, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
1981 – 1986 Research Career Development Award, NIH
1983 Chancellor’s Research Scholar, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
1975 – 1976 U.S. Public Health Service Research Fellowship
1974 – 1975 Carnegie Institution of Washington Fellowship
1970 – 1971 Matthey-Bishop Pre-doctoral Fellowship