Prof. LI Zhong Alan
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, CUHK

Area of Expertise: organs-on-chips, nanobiomaterials, stem cells, tissue engineering
Tel: 3943 5906
Location: SHB112C

Lab webpage:


Alan joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong as a Vice-chancellor Assistant Professor in 2022. He worked as a Research Assistant Professor at the Department of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (UPSOM) in 2021, and was a Postdoctoral Associate at UPSOM Department of Orthopaedic Surgery during 2018–2020. Alan obtained his Ph.D. in biomedical ceramics from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore in 2017 and worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at NTU afterwards. Alan holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering & Automation from South China University of Technology. His primary research interests are in organs-on-chips, nanobiomaterials, and tissue engineering. His research is highly interdisciplinary and interfaces engineering, biology, and medicine. Among other honors, Alan received the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) Young Investigator Award and the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) 3Rs Award in 2019 and won the 2016 Young Persons’ World Lecture Competition (YPWLC).

Professional Education and Training

2018–2020 Postdoctoral Associate, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
2017 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
2012–2017 Ph.D. in Biomedical Ceramics, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
2008–2012 B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering & Automation, South China University of Technology, China

Research Interest

We leverage advanced nanobiomaterials (both inorganic and organic), human stem cells, and state-of-the-art 3D culture platforms to engineer tissues and organs for the following applications: (1) organ-on-a-chip systems & organoids for modeling neuromusculoskeletal disorders, (2) advanced nanobiomaterials and biofabrication techniques for musculoskeletal regeneration, (3) evaluations of drug safety and efficacy and development of personalized (precision) medicine.

Course Teaching in CUHK

BMEG2001 Introduction to Biomedical Engineering
BMEG3430 Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
ENGG5601 Principles of Biomechanics & Biomaterials
BMEG5530 Tissue Engineering

Selected Publications

1. J. Lai, Y. Liu, G. Lu, P. Yung, X. Wang, R.S. Tuan*, Z.A. Li*, 4D Bioprinting of Programmed Dynamic Tissues, Bioact. Mater., 2024, in press

2. Y. Wang, P. Yung, G. Lu, Y. Liu, C. Ding, C. Mao*, Z.A. Li*, R.S. Tuan*, Musculoskeletal Organs-on-chips: An Emerging Platform for Studying the Nanotechnology-Biology Interface, Adv. Mater., 2024, 2401334

3. Z. Zhou, J. Liu, T. Xiong, Y. Liu, R.S. Tuan*, Z.A. Li*, Engineering Innervated Musculoskeletal Tissues for Regenerative Orthopedics and Disease Modeling, Small 2024, 2310614

4. Z. Li, Z. Lin, S. Liu, H. Yagi, X. Zhang, L. Yocum, M. Romero-Lopez, C. Rhee, M.J. Makarcyzk, I. Yu, E.N. Li, M.R. Fritch, Q. Gao, K.B. Goh, B. O'Donnell, T. Hao, P.G. Alexander, B. Mahadik, J.P. Fisher, S.B. Goodman, B.A. Bunnell, R.S. Tuan*, H. Lin*, Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell‐Derived Miniature Joint System for Disease Modeling and Drug Testing, Adv. Sci., 2022, 9, 2105909. (Back cover)

5. Z.A. Li, S. Sant, S.K. Cho, S.B. Goodman, B.A. Bunnell, R.S. Tuan, M.S Gold, H. Lin*, Synovial joint-on-a-chip for modeling arthritis: progress, pitfalls and potential, Trends Biotechnol., 2022, S0167-7799(22)00193-7.

6. Z.A. Li, R.S. Tuan*, Towards establishing human body-on-a-chip systems, Stem Stem Cell Res. Ther. 2022, 13 (1), 1-5.

7. Z.A. Li, J. Shang, S. Xiang, E.N. Li, H. Yagi, K. Riewruja, H. Lin*, R.S. Tuan*, Articular Tissue-mimicking organoids derived from mesenchymal stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, Organoids 2022, 1 (2), 135-148.

8. Z. Li#, S. Xiang#, Z. Lin#, E.N. Li, H. Yagi, G. Cao, L. Yocum, L. Li, T. Hao, K.K. Bruce, M.R. Fritch, H. Hu, B. Wang, P.G. Alexander, K.A. Khor, R.S. Tuan*, H. Lin*, Graphene oxide-functionalized nanocomposites promote osteogenesis of human mesenchymal stem cells via enhancement of BMP-SMAD1/5 signaling pathway, Biomaterials 277 (2021) 121082

9. Yuchen He#, Zhong Li#, Peter G. Alexander#, Brian D Ocasio-Nieves, Lauren Yocum, Hang Lin*, Rocky S. Tuan*, Pathogenesis of Osteoarthritis: Risk Factors, Regulatory Pathways in Chondrocytes, and Experimental Models, Biology 9 (2020) 194

10. Z. Li#, T.-W. Goh#, G.H.-F. Yam, B.C. Thompson, H. Hu, M. Setiawan, W. Sun, A.K. Riau, D.T. Tan, K.A. Khor*, J.S. Mehta*, A sintered graphene/titania material as a synthetic keratoprosthesis skirt for end-stage corneal disorders, Acta Biomater. 94 (2019) 585-596.

11. J. Wu#,*, Z. Li#, X. Xie, K. Tao, C. Liu*, K.A. Khor, J. Miao*, L.K. Norford, 3D superhydrophobic reduced graphene oxide for activated NO2 sensing with enhanced immunity to humidity, J. Mater. Chem. A 6 (2018) 478-488.

12. Z. Li, X.-Z. Tang, W. Zhu, W. Zhu, B.C. Thompson, M. Huang, J. Yang, X. Hu, K.A. Khor*, Single-step process toward achieving superhydrophobic reduced graphene oxide, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 8 (2016) 10985-10994.