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Thanh Nguyen, Ph.D. - University of Connecticut. Storrs, CT, US

Thanh Nguyen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | University of Connecticut


Professor Nguyen focuses on biointegrated materials and devices at nano- and micro-scales for applications in biomedicine



Nguyen joined the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at UConn at the beginning of 2016 after finishing his postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Robert Langer at MIT. His research is highly interdisciplinary and at the interface of biomedicine, materials and nano/micro technology. He has invented and developed a platform technology which can create 3-dimensional microstructures of biomaterials, such as biodegradable polymers for applications in vaccine/drug delivery and medical implants. Recently, his research group has studied and developed a novel biodegradable piezoelectric polymer, which can be used to make a miniaturized implantable force-sensor for monitoring vital biophysiological forces. The sensor can be well-engineered to perform monitoring task and self-vanish after a defined lifetime. Dr. Nguyen’s work has been published in prestigious journals including Science, Nature Nanotechnology etc. and highlighted in major media such as The New York Times, BBC News, Fox News etc. He received several prestigious awards including the NIH Trailblazer Award for Young and Early Investigators, and the SME Outstanding Manufacturing Engineer Award.

Areas of Expertise (3)


Drug Delivery


Education (1)

Princeton University: Ph.D.

Accomplishments (1)

National Academy of Inventors 2024 Senior Member (professional)

NAI Senior Members are active faculty, scientists, and administrators with success in patents, licensing, and commercialization who have produced technologies that have brought or aspire to bring real impact on the welfare of society. They are rising stars who foster a spirit of innovation within their communities and institutions while educating and mentoring the next generation of inventors.


Media Appearances (10)

Biodegradable Brain Implant Delivers Life-Saving Cancer Meds

Web MD  online


The problem addressed by the researchers is the blood-brain barrier, a nearly impenetrable blood vessel lining that keeps harmful molecules from passing into the brain from the blood. But this lining can also block chemo drugs from reaching cancer cells. So the scientists implanted one-centimeter-square devices into the skulls of mice, directly behind the tumor site. The implants generate ultrasound waves, loosening the barrier and allowing the drugs to reach the tumor. The sound waves leave healthy tissue undamaged. “You inject the drug into the body and turn on the ultrasound at the same time. You're going to hit precisely at the tumor area every single time you use it," said lead study author Thanh Nguyen, PhD, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Connecticut.

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Biodegradable ultrasound implant could improve brain tumour treatments

Physics World  online


A new type of biodegradable ultrasound implant based on piezoelectric nanofibres could improve outcomes for patients with brain cancer. Researchers led by Thanh Nguyen from the at the University of Connecticut’s department of mechanical engineering fabricated the devices from crystals of glycine, an amino acid found in the human body. Glycine is not only non-toxic and biodegradable, it is also highly piezoelectric, enabling the creation of a powerful ultrasound transducer that could help treat brain tumours.

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UConn professor develops electric masks. Here’s how they work.

Hearst Connecticut Media  print


Connecticut schools may soon allow students to take off their masks, but that’s not stopping Thanh Nguyen. Nguyen is an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut, specializing in mechanical and biomedical engineering, and material science. He’s taken a not-so-new idea and adapted it for a new purpose.

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Electric knee implants could be the answer for millions of arthritis sufferers after scientists find a way to regrow cartilage with the help of a tiny electrical current

Daily Mail  online


The research has been led by Thanh Nguyen, a bioengineer at the University of Connecticut, who says he is cautious making the step up to experiments in humans. 'This is a fascinating result, but we need to test this in a larger animal, one with a size and weight closer to a human,' Nguyen said. If the technology were to pass clinical trials, it could ease the pain for people with osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting nearly 9 million people.

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Bacteria Found in Nuclear Reactors Could Be the Secret to Faster, Cheaper Vaccines

Gizmodo  online


When asked to independently review some of Daly’s published research for this article, Thanh Nguyen, a mechanical engineer at the University of Connecticut whose work focuses on tiny biodegradable structures for vaccine delivery, described this manganese complex method as “really exciting” and “definitely significant.”

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One vaccine injection could carry many doses

MIT News  

MIT engineers have invented a new 3-D fabrication method that can generate a novel type of drug-carrying particle that could allow multiple doses of a drug or vaccine to be delivered over an extended time period with just one injection. The paper’s lead authors are postdoc Kevin McHugh and former postdoc Thanh D. Nguyen, now an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Connecticut.

Every childhood vaccine may go into a single jab

BBC  online

A technology that could eventually see every childhood vaccine delivered in a single injection has been developed by US researchers.

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Plastic cubes injected into the body could replace booster shots

New Scientist  

It might be small, but it packs a mighty punch. By cramming vaccines into microscopic containers that release their loads after a preset amount of time, we may have found a way to deliver a vaccine and a booster shot all in one injection. Kevin McHugh at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his colleagues have come up with a way of making drug-carrying particles that allow multiple doses of a vaccine to be delivered over weeks or even months.

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One shot for all vaccines? Study holds promise

FOX News  

Potential good news for kids—and the parents who hate to watch them squirm when faced with a needle. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a technology that could allow childhood vaccines—for everything from polio to measles, mumps, and rubella—to be combined into a single injection, reports the BBC.

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New technology could allow multiple vaccines to be delivered in single jab

The Guardian  online

A new technique allowing drugs or vaccines to be encapsulated within tiny biodegradable particles could see an end booster jabs.

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Articles (2)

Biotemplated Synthesis of PZT Nanowires

Nano Letters

Thanh Nguyen et al.

2013 Piezoelectric nanowires are an important class of smart materials for next-generation applications including energy harvesting, robotic actuation, and bioMEMS. Lead zirconate titanate (PZT), in particular, has attracted significant attention, owing to its superior electromechanical conversion performance. Yet, the ability to synthesize crystalline PZT nanowires with well-controlled properties remains a challenge...

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Nanoscale Flexoelectricity

Advanced Materials

Thanh Nguyen et al.

2013 Electromechanical effects are ubiquitous in biological and materials systems. Understanding the fundamentals of these coupling phenomena is critical to devising next-generation electromechanical transducers. Piezoelectricity has been studied in detail, in both the bulk and at mesoscopic scales. Recently, an increasing amount of attention has been paid to flexoelectricity: electrical polarization induced by a strain gradient...

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