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Hong Shen

Hong ShenAssistant Professor

Office: 253 Benson Hall
Phone: 206-543-2271
Fax: 206-685-3451


  • B.A., Tsinghua University (China), 1995
  • M.S., Tsinghua University (China), 1998
  • Ph.D., Cornell University, 2004

Research Interests 

  • Nanomedicine
  • Immunobiosensing
  • System Biology of Pathogen Recognition
The focus of my research is to bridge engineering and immunology to develop new technologies and to probe basic biological mechanisms of medical importance. Several directions are pursued:
Nanotechnology advances our understanding of biomedical sciences and renovates the therapeutics for various diseases. Our goal in this direction is to build an integrated understanding of the development and dynamics of dendritic cells and their interaction with other cells using nanotechnology. With our understanding, we aim to use engineered dendritic cells as therapeutics for treating cancers and autoimmune diseases. 
Sensing and defeating pathogen infections are daunting tasks because of their rapid evolution. The animal kingdom has evolved Toll-Like Receptors (TLRs) to deal with this problem. These receptors recognize a set of evolutionally conserved Pathogen-Associated Molecular Patterns (PAMPs), which are unique to the microbial world; this strategy is called pattern recognition. Our goal in this direction is to quantitatively understand how TLRs collaborate with other cellular machinery to differentiate a pathogen within and between families. Our long-term goal is to incorporate TLR recognition into microfluidics for biosensing and intelligent microbicide delivery systems. 
System Biology of Pathogen Recognition
Pathogens evolve multiple mechanisms to warrant their survival within host cells, and host cells employ a multitude of strategies to detect and destroy pathogens. Our goal in this direction is to elucidate the spatial and temporal interactions between pathogens and host cells by system biology approaches, e.g. gene or protein chips, multi-scale mathematical modeling.

Selected  Publications

  • S. Liu, K. K. Tran, S. Pan, H. Shen (2009). Detecting and differentiating microbes by dendritic cells for the development of cell-based biosensors, Biosensors and Bioelectronics
  • K. K. Tran, H. Shen (2008). The role of phagosomal pH on the size-dependent efficiency of cross-presentation by dendritic cells. Biomaterials (In press, doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.11.034).
  • H. Shen, H. Shen, B. Sun, K. K. Tran, and D. Gao (2008). A microfluidic manipulation for alignment, enrichment and potential separation of moving cells and particles. Journal of Biomechanical Engineering (In press)
  • H. Shen, K. K. Tran, H. Shen, A. Folch and D. Gao (2008). Determination of osmotic behavior and membrane transport properties for mouse dendritic cells using microfluidic systems. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer (In press).
  • H. Shen, A. Iwasaki, A crucial role for plasmacytoid dendritic cells in antiviral protection at the genital mucosa by CpG ODN-based microbicide. Journal of Clinical Investigation 116: 2237-2243 (PMCID: 1518794)
  • H. Shen, Y. Hu, and W. M. Saltzman (2006). DNA Diffusion in Mucus: effect of size, topology of DNA and transfection reagents. Biophysical Journal 91(2):639-44
  • H. Shen, A. L. Ackerman, V. Cody, P. Cresswell, R. L. Edelson, W. M. Saltzman, and D. J. Hanlon (2006). Enhanced and prolonged cross-presentation following endosomal escape of exogenous antigens encapsulated in biodegradable nanoparticles. Immunology 117 (1): 78-88
  • G. Sanclimens, H. Shen, E. Giralt, F. Albericio, W. M. Saltzman, and M. Royo (2005). Synthesis and screening of a small library of proline based biodendrimers for use as delivery agents. Biopolymers 80: 800-814
  • J. N. Sachs, H. Shen, W. M. Saltzman (2005). Polymers for Cancer Gene Therapy: browsing the library. Gene Therapy 12(12): 954-955
  • V. Cody, H. Shen, M. Shlyankevich, R. E. Tigelaar, J. L. Brandsma, and D. J. Hanlon (2005). Generation of dendritic cells from rabbit bone marrow mononuclear cell cultures supplemented with hGM-CSF and hIL-4. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 103(3-4): 163-72
  • H. Shen, J. Tan, and W. M. Saltzman (2004). Surface-mediated gene transfer from DNA/carbonate apatite nancomposite materials of controlled composition and texture. Nature Materials 3 (8): 569-574
  • H. Shen, E. Goldberg, and W. M. Saltzman (2003). Gene expression and mucosal immune responses after vaginal DNA immunization in mice using a controlled delivery matrix. Journal of Controlled Release 86: 339-348
  • J. Tan, H. Shen, and W. M. Saltzman (2001). Micro-scale positioning of features influences the rate of polymorphonuclear leukocytes migration. Biophysical Journal 81: 2569-2579