Tenure track professors
Two assistant professors (tenure track) form the backbone of Åbo Akademi University’s Drug Development and Diagnostics Platform research profile. They are:
Hongbo Zhang Assistant Professor in Drug Discovery and Diagnostics 1.9.2016-31.8.2019 at the Faculty of Science and Engineering.
Dr. Zhang earned his Ph.D. in 2012. He visited Prof. David A. Weitz’s group at Harvard University in March 2014 to October 2015. Zhang is specialized in nanomedicine, controlled drug delivery, microfluidics, imaging, molecular biology and drug metabolism. Zhang’s research focus is to bridge nanotechnology to biology, including utilizing functional nanoparticles on biomedical applications. He is an expert in microfluidics and aims to develop advanced drug delivery platforms and single cell screening tools with microfluidics in collaboration with Harvard University. Zhang is currently leading two research projects, from Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation (2015-2018), Academy of Finland (2016-2019) and Sigrid Jusélius Foundation (2017-2020).
Fang Cheng Assistant Professor in Drug Discovery and Diagnostics 25.3.2017-24.3.2020 at the Faculty of Science and Engineering.
Dr. Cheng earned her Ph.D. in 2012. Her research goal is to understand key molecular mechanisms and cellular processes in tissue regeneration and cancer. A cell differentiation program called epithelial-to-mesenchymal-transition (EMT) is a key gatekeeper in wound healing, fibrosis and cancer. Cheng has a long-term research interest in disclosing the molecular determinants behind EMT switch, and to ultimately translate the knowledge into the realm of regenerative and cancer therapeutics. She has identified a couple of novel signalling complex regulating skin- and lymphatic-specific EMT, and also made a number of collaborative discoveries of cellular signaling molecules as biomarkers or drug targets in inflammatory disease, fibrosis and cancer. In addition, Cheng focuses on developing cellular and imaging assays, disease models and screening workflows to facilitate drug development and diagnostic pipeline.