Academic Profile : Faculty

Cho Nam-Joon.jpg picture
Prof Cho Nam-Joon
Professor, School of Materials Science & Engineering
Materials Research Society of Singapore Chair in Materials Science and Engineering
 
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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.
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.
 
  • Cellular Cholesterol Assay for Understanding Homeostasis and Drug Screening
  • Evaluate & visualize the materials interaction with microbial membrane using biophysical methods to identify potential Hygiene actives
  • IDMxS - Molecular (Digital Molecular Assay platforms)
  • IDMxS - Molecular Thrust
  • IDMxS - Visiting and Travel
  • Institute for Digital Molecular Analytics and Science (IDMxS)
  • Lipid Nanoparticle and Sporopollenin Delivery Technology Development
  • Materials Research Society of Singapore Chair in Materials Science and Engineering
  • Nanomechanical Mapping of Viral Protein-Phosphoinositide Interactions
US 2020/0040017 A1: A Method For Making A Solid-Supported Phospholipid Bilayer (2020)
Abstract: A method of preparing a solid-supported phospholipid bilayer is provided. The method includes a) a first step of providing a solution comprising a bicellar mixture of a long-chain phospholipid and a short-chain phospholipid; b) at least one second step of decreasing the temperature of the solution to below 0° C., increasing the temperature to above room temperature and causing the solution to be blended; and c) a third step of depositing the solution obtained after the second step on a surface of a support, wherein the concentration of the long-chain phospholipid in the solution is at most 0.1 mg/mL, for obtaining a solid-supported phospholipid bilayer. A solid-supported phospholipid layer obtained by the method as defined above is also provided.

US 2016/0228839 A1: Methods For Controlling Assembly Of Lipids On A Solid Support (2019)
Abstract: The invention relates to a method of controlling adsorption of lipid molecules onto a solid support by tuning the steric-hydration force of the lipid vesicles and the surface of the solid support, such that the solid support either has a stabilized lipid bilayer adsorbed thereon or is resistant to adsorption of lipid molecules.