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Wujie Zhang, Ph.D. - Milwaukee School of Engineering. Milwaukee, WI, US

Wujie Zhang, Ph.D.

Professor | Milwaukee School of Engineering


Dr. Wujie Zhang is an expert in biomaterials, tissue engineering, stem cell-based medicine, micro/nanotechnology, and drug delivery.





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Education, Licensure and Certification (3)

Ph.D.: Biomedical Engineering, University of South Carolina 2011

M.S.: Food Science, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology 2008

B.S.: Food Science and Engineering, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology 2005

Minor: Engineering Management, Tongji University, Shanghai


Dr. Wujie Zhang is currently a professor in Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Physics and Chemistry Department. Zhang truly believes the focus should be on each individual student -- strengthening the student experience through interaction, encouragement, and engagement. Zhang has led several projects based on a biomaterial known as pectin that have focused on drug delivery for cancer treatment, 3D printing for tissue engineering, and engineering artificial red blood cells. Moreover, Zhang has advised senior design projects related to the food industry, such as the development of novel American ginseng-based beverages.

Areas of Expertise (8)


Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering


Drug Delivery

Stem Cell Research

Cancer Treatment


Food Science and Engineering

Accomplishments (12)

Oscar Werwath Distinguished Teacher Award, MSOE (professional)


Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award (URMA), Council on Undergraduate Research (professional)

2022 Engineering Division

Young Engineer of the Year, STEM Forward (professional)


Milwaukee School of Engineering Campus KEEN Rising Star (professional)


Wisconsin’s 34 Most Influential Asian American Leaders, Madison365 (professional)


Diversity and Inclusion Advocate Award

2020 Presented by MSOE Student Life Department in recognition of outstanding efforts and commitment to building and nurturing an inclusive campus community.

National Natural Science Foundation of China Grant

Transplantation of PRP-Modified Hydrogel Scaffold Containing BMSCs and E2 for Repairing; Co-PI January 2019 – December 2022

40 under 40, Milwaukee Business Journal


American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Prism magazine – 20 Under 40


Falk Engineering Educator Award, MSOE


Karl O. Werwath Engineering Research Award, MSOE


Excellent Thesis/Dissertation Award

University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, 2009

Affiliations (7)

  • American Chemical Society (ACS) : Member
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) : Member
  • American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE) : Member
  • American Society for Engineer Education (ASEE) : Member
  • Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) : Member
  • Society for Biological Engineers (SBE) : Member
  • World Association for Chinese Biomedical Engineers (WACBE) Life member


Media Appearances (5)

Artificial Cells, Real Success

MKElifestyle  online


MSOE’s Dr. Wujie Zhang is making great strides in developing artificial red blood cells.

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You're Somebody's Type

MKElifestyle  online


Fewer people donate blood in winter. Here’s why it’s more critical than ever.

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Barrett Appoints First Board of Health

Urban Milwaukee  


Nominated to join Lewis are consultant and former health department member Ruthie Weatherly, Milwaukee Enrollment Network program manager Caroline Gomez-Tom, UniteMKE executive director Bria Grant, Ascension parish nurse Julia Means, Milwaukee Public Schools director of black and latino male achievement LaNelle Ramey, Children’s Hospital Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marylyn Ranta, Greater Milwaukee Center for Health and Wellness CEO Ericka Sinclair and Milwaukee School of Engineering professor Dr. Wujie Zhang.

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Dr. Wujie Zhang is Milwaukee Business Journal 40 Under 40 winner



Dr. Wujie Zhang, associate professor of biomolecular engineering, has been named a Milwaukee Business Journal 40 Under 40 winner. More than 300 nominations were submitted for the award, which recognizes professional achievement as well as community involvement.

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MSOE Students Bioengineer a Medical Breakthrough With Synthetic Blood

The Milwaukee Independent  


Assistant professor of biomolecular engineering, Dr. Wujie Zhang, is the principal investigator on a project to develop a synthetic red blооd cell material using natural polymers that are not harmful to human tissue.

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Event and Speaking Appearances (10)

Increasing Motivation and Enhancing the chemistry enrichment experience of incoming students’ through the use of lectures related to chemistry in engineering and ALEKS® system.

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference and Exposition  Virtual Event, June 2020

Development and Characterization of Micro/Nano-biomaterials for Biomedical Applications

Shanghai Key Laboratory of Orthopaedic Implants (Shanghai Ninth People’s Hospital affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine)  July 2019

Stability Improvement and Characterization of Bioprinted Pectin-based Scaffold.

ASME Milwaukee Section Continuing Education and Professional Development Seminar  March 2019

Design Pectin-Based Microcarriers for Colonic Drug Delivery

45th Annual Meeting & Exposition of the Controlled Release Society  New York, NY., 2018

Genetically Modified Foods

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,  April 2017

Solubility in Drug Development

MSOE Biophysics Conference  Milwaukee, WI., March 2016

The Rise of Tissue Engineering and the Explosive Innovations that Could Transform Lives

MSOE  Milwaukee, WI., July 2016

A Parametric Study of Electrospinning of Pectin-Based Nanofibers

International Conference on Bioengineering and Nanotechnology  Chicago, IL., 2017

Genetically Modified Foods: From Science to Regulations

Wujie Zhang  April 2023 University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Novel Pectin-Based Hydrogel System for Biomedical Applications

3rd International Conference on Materials Science & Engineering  April 2022 Boston-Newton, MA

Research Interests (2)

SBIR/STTR Assistance Micro-Grant, Center for Technology Commercialization

Period: 2020-21

We’re All Innovating Contest (Category: Technology Innovation to Address COVID-19 Impacts on Health), Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)

Role: PI

Period: 2020

Patents (2)

Microcapsules for cell microencapsulation


2012 In accordance with certain embodiments of the present disclosure, a method for formation of a microcapsule is described. The method includes encapsulating a cell in a microcapsule, the microcapsule having a diameter of less than about 100 μm. The method further includes coating the microcapsule with chitosan and alginate.

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Method for producing liquid core microcapsule by electrostatic spraying


2006 The invention provides a method for preparation of liquid core microcapsule with static sprayer: calcium chloride solution of 2-3 percent is mixed with thickening agent and then is uniformly mixed with core material substance; a certain amount of mixed solution is taken out and then is put into solution containing sodium alginate of 0.6-1.5 percent with static sprayer while adopting a flat needle for adhesive deposite or an injection needle as a nozzle; after capsulated, liquid core sodium alginate microcapsule is filtered and then is cleaned with purified water; then liquid core sodium alginate microcapsule is put into calcium chloride solution for continuous solidification of 5-10 minutes; then microcapsule is filtered and then is cleaned with purified water; at last microcapsule is stored in storage solution with calcium ion concentration of 0.05-0.01 percent. High viscosity malt dextrin or sodium carbonxymethyl cellulose or xanthan gum is adopted as thickening agent. Microcapsule prepared with the invention has liquid core, with uniform particle size, good sacculation performance, simple process and high membrane thickness, therefore, microcapsule has high mechanical strength and can be widely used in the field of pharmaceutical chemical engineering, artificial organ implantation and food processing, etc.

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Research Grants (6)

Regulation of JAM2 by LncRNA-DIO3OS Encoded Peptide for the Treatment of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

National Natural Science Foundation of China Grant 

2021 Role: Co-PI

Authoring a book: Nanotechnology for Bioengineers

Milwaukee School of Engineering, Faculty Summer Development Grant 

Nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary field that is rapidly evolving and expanding. Significant advancements have been made in nanotechnology-related disciplines in the past few decades and continued growth and progression in the field are anticipated. Moreover, nanotechnology, omnipresent in innovation, has been applied to resolve critical challenges in nearly every field, especially those related to biological technologies and processes. This book, used as either a textbook for a short course or a reference book, provides state-of-the-art analysis of essential topics in nanotechnology for bioengineers studying and working in biotechnology, chemical/biochemical, pharmaceutical, biomedical, and other related fields. The book topics range from introduction to nanotechnology and nanofabrication to applications of nanotechnology in various biological fields. This book not only intends to introduce bioengineers to the amazing world of nanotechnology, but also inspires them to use nanotechnology to address some o

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Transplantation of PRP-Modified Hydrogel Scaffold Containing BMSCs and E2 for Repairing Severely Injured Endometrium

National Natural Science Foundation of China Grant 

2019 Award Number: 81873816

Bioprinting of Artificial Organs/Tissues Using A Novel Pectin-Based Bioink

Faculty Summer Development Grant, MSOE 

2017 Role: CO-PI

I‐Corps: A Natural Polymer‐Based Engineered Red Blood Cell Product

National Science Foundation 


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Functionalization and Mechanical Stability Testing of Artificial Red Blood Cells

Milwaukee School of Engineering, Faculty Summer Develpoment Grant 


Selected Publications (9)

Biosynthesis of Silver Nanoparticles using Upland Cress: Purification, Characterisation, and Antimicrobial Activity

Micro & Nano Letters

David Johnson, Yale Wang, Samuel Stealey, Anne Alexander, Matey Kaltchev, Junhong Chen, and Wujie Zhang

2020 Silver nanoparticles have traditionally been synthesised using physical and chemical methods, often requiring expensive equipment and reagents that pose risks to the environment. This work provides a green method for the biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles using leaf extracts from upland cress: Barbarea verna. Natural reducing agents within the leaf extracts of upland cress reduce silver ions from silver nitrates, resulting in the formation of silver nanoparticles. The silver nanoparticles were purified using centrifugation and extraction using Triton X-114. The resulting nanoparticles were characterised using UV–Vis spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, atomic force microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. Silver nanoparticles were shown to have a diameter of 30–40 nm with a characteristic UV–Vis absorption peak at 420 nm. Antimicrobial properties of the synthesised silver nanoparticles were also confirmed using S. epidermis and E. coli bacteria.

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Calcium-Oligochitosan-Pectin Microcarrier for Colonic Drug Delivery

Pharmaceutical Development and Technology

Samuel Stealey, Xiaoru Guo, Rebecca Majewski, Alexander Dyble, Kendra Lehman, Michael Wedemeyer, Douglas A. Steeber, Matey G. Kaltchev, Junhong Chen, and Wujie Zhang

2020 Pectin-based hydrogel microcarriers have shown promise for drug delivery to the colonic region. Microcarriers must remain stable throughout the upper gastrointestinal tract for effective colonic delivery, an issue that traditional pectin-based microcarriers have faced. The positively-charged natural biopolymer oligochitosan and divalent cation Ca2+ were used to dually cross-link pectin-based hydrogel microcarriers to improve carrier stability through simulated gastric and intestinal environments. Microcarriers were characterized with Scanning Electron Microscope and Fourier-Transform Infrared analysis. An optical microscope was used to observe the change of microcarrier size and morphology over time in the simulated gastrointestinal environments. Fluorescently-labeled Dextran was used as a model drug for this system. Calcium-Oligochitosan-Pectin microcarriers exhibited relatively small drug release in the upper gastrointestinal regions and were responsive to the high pH and enzymatic activity of simulated col

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Stability improvement and characterization of bioprinted pectin-based scaffold

Journal of Applied Biomaterials & Functional Materials

Stealey, S., Guo, X., Ren, L., Bryant, E., Kaltchev, M., Chen, J., Kumpaty, S., Hua, X., Zhang, W.

2019 Bioprinting is an alternative method for constructing tissues/organs for transplantation. This study investigated the cross-linker influence and post-printing modification using oligochitosan and chitosan for stability improvement.

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Design of A Novel Oxygen Therapeutic Using Polymeric Hydrogel Microcapsules Mimicking Red Blood Cells


Amanda Cherwin, Shelby Namen, Justyna Rapacz, Grace Kusik, Alexa Anderson, Yale Wang, Matey Kaltchev, Rebecca Schroeder, Kellen O'Connell, Sydney Stephens, Junhong Chen, and Wujie Zhang

2019 The goal of this research was to develop a novel oxygen therapeutic made from a pectin-based hydrogel microcapsule carrier mimicking red blood cells. The study focused on three main criteria for developing the oxygen therapeutic to mimic red blood cells: size (5–10 μm), morphology (biconcave shape), and functionality (encapsulation of oxygen carriers; e.g., hemoglobin (Hb)). The hydrogel carriers were generated via the electrospraying of the pectin-based solution into an oligochitosan crosslinking solution using an electrospinning setup. The pectin-based solution was investigated first to develop the simplest possible formulation for electrospray. Then, Design-Expert® software was used to optimize the production process of the hydrogel microcapsules. The optimal parameters were obtained through the analysis of a total of 17 trials and the microcapsule with the desired morphology and size was successfully prepared under the optimized condition. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) was used to ana

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Design of pectin-based bioink containing bioactive agent-loaded microspheres for bioprinting

Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express

David L. Johnson, Rachel M. Ziemba, Johnathan H. Shebesta, Jesseka C. Lipscomb, Yale Wang, Kellen D. O’Connell, Matey G. Kaltchev, Anthony van Groningen, Junhong Chen, Xiaolin Hua, and Wujie Zhang

2019 Bioprinting offers an alternative approach for tissue engineering and exhibits the great potential to play a key role in personalized medicine. One of the major advantages of bioprinting is its capability of achieving the homogeneous distribution of cells within large tissue scaffolds. Microspheres have been used for controlled release of bioactive molecules in tissue engineering. Recently studies show that microspheres, especially positively charged, could promote the vascularized tissue formation. This study aims to develop a bioprinted scaffold containing microspheres. The double emulsion system, water in oil in water (W/O/W), was used to produce the microspheres considering its advantage for controlled release of small molecules. Design Expert® Software was used to optimize the microsphere production process and chitosan coating was performed to provide the positively charged surface of the microspheres. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and confocal microscopic analysis confirmed the suc

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Electrospinning pectin-based nanofibers: a parametric and cross-linker study

Applied Nanoscience

McCune, D., Guo, X., Shi, T., Stealey, S., Antrobus, R., Kaltchev, M., Chen, J., Kumpaty, S., Hua, X., Ren, W., Zhang, W.

2018 Pectin, a natural biopolymer mainly derived from citrus fruits and apple peels, shows excellent biodegradable and biocompatible properties. This study investigated the electrospinning of pectin-based nanofibers. The parameters, pectin:PEO (polyethylene oxide) ratio, surfactant concentration, voltage, and flow rate, were studied to optimize the electrospinning process for generating the pectin-based nanofibers. Oligochitosan, as a novel and nonionic cross-liker of pectin, was also researched. Nanofibers were characterized by using AFM, SEM, and FTIR spectroscopy. The results showed that oligochitosan was preferred over Ca2+ because it cross-linked pectin molecules without negatively affecting the nanofiber morphology. Moreover, oligochitosan treatment produced a positive surface charge of nanofibers, determined by zeta potential measurement, which is desired for tissue engineering applications.

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Novel bioprinting method using a pectin based bioink

Technology and Health Care,

Banks, A., Guo, X., Chen, J., Kumpaty, S., Zhang, W.

2017 One major challenge of bioprinting is to develop a viable bioink to act as an extracellular matrix. This study investigated a novel method for bioprinting using a pectin based bioink. Besides pectin, Pluronic® F-127 was incorporated into the bioink to obtain the desired shape during the initial bioprinting process at 37∘C. Once an object was printed it was treated with Ca2+ (pectin cross-linker) to create the final tissue/organ structure. The results indicated that pectin/Pluronic® F-127 is a potential bioink. Moreover, this methodology provides a novel and fast approach for bioprinting.

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Engineering microvascularized 3D tissue using alginate-chitosan microcapsules

Journal of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Zhang, W., Choi, J.K. and He, X

2017 Construction of vascularized tissues is one of the major challenges of tissue engineering. The goal of this study was to engineer 3D microvascularized tissues by incorporating the HUVEC-CS cells with a collagen/alginate-chitosan (AC) microcapsule scaffold. In the presence of AC microcapsules, a 3D vascular-like network was clearly observable. The results indicate the importance of AC microcapsules in engineering microvascularized tissues—providing support and guiding alignment of HUVEC-CS cells. This provides a promising strategy for constructing vascularized tissues.

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Hydrogels: A novel red‐blood‐cell‐shaped pectin‐oligochitosan hydrogels system

Particle & Particle Systems Characterization

Harvestine, J.N., Mikulski, B.A., Mahuta, K.M., Crouse, J.Z., Guo, X., Lee, J.C., Midelfort, K.S., Chen, J., Zhang, W.

2014 A novel pectin‐oligochitosan hydrogel microcapsule system is reported by W. Zhang and co‐workers on page 955. This kind of microcapsule shows red‐blood‐cell‐like (biconcave) morphology. The biological applications of this system are drug encapsulation/delivery, cell encapsulation, and creating artificial red blood cells.

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