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Research group: Functional Materials for Medicine

Functional Materials have played more and more critical role in development of novel treatment methods for different diseases. Our group focus on designing all kinds of functional materials, at different scales, to solve clinical and biological problems. We have broad collaborations with hospitals, and most of our projects have clinical doctors involved and initial from a real-life clinical question. Our group is multidisciplinary,  which interplay between physics, materials science, synthetic organic chemistry, engineering, biology and medicine. We aim that many of our designs could be clinical applicable in future, and to have a great social impact in treating diseases. 


Senior Researchers


Heidi Koivisto did her MBA in 2021, majoring in Business Administration and Management from the University of Northampton, UK. She has extensive education and experience in international business operations and marketing for over 30 years. In addition, Heidi qualifies for Audio-visual Communication and Graphic Design. She understands Design Management and Service Design. She has a long career in the pharmaceutical industry, having worked in marketing, sales, international business, corporate event management, corporate communications, and related B2B and B2C projects. Heidi works as a Project Leader in Åbo Akademi University. She is involved as a Business Champion in a Business Finland-funded R2B project in Prof. Hongbo Zhang’s team, preparing business comobilization and market strategy.

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Sergey Filippov. Visiting from University of Reading. Experienced scientist, Fulbright Scholar. Leverhulme professor. More than 100 publications. Skilled in Polymer Science (Physics and Chemistry), Drug Delivery, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Soft Matter, Nanoparticles, Liposomes, Microfluidics, Colloids. Strong knowledge in Dynamic Light Scattering, SAXS/SANS, Isothermal Titration Calorimetry, Electron Paramagnetic Spectroscopy, Light and Electron Microscopy, Fluorescence (steady-state and time resolved, FCS, FCCS), HPLC, Chromatography, Flow cytometry, AutoCAD, OriginLab, Experienced lecturer in Polymer Science. Polymer physicist, Leverhulme Professor, Material scientist

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Chang Liu received his Ph.D. degree in Prof. Hongbo Zhang’s group, Pharmaceutical sciences laboratory at Åbo Akademi university. His current research interests are in the design of functional nanomaterials, particularly MOFs-based biomimetic mineralized composites and their theranostic applications.

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Yunru Yu received her Ph.D. degree from Biomedical Engineering (Sept. 2015-Mar. 2020) State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics, School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing. Her research focus on Bioinspired hierarchical fibre bundles from microfluidics for nerve regeneration


Xiaoyu Xu received her PhD degree in Chemistry from Tongji University in China (2013-2018) with the research field of lanthanide photo-functionalized metal-organic framework (MOF) hybrid materials. From April 2018, she started her postdoc research in Prof. Hongbo Zhang’s Lab, Pharmaceutical Sciences Laboratory at Åbo Akademi University. Her research focus is MOF-based biomaterials in biomedical application. Currently she is developing smart delivery systems based on MOFs biomineralization and applying them for CRISPR/Cas9-based gene therapy.

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Feika Bian received his Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering (Sept. 2017-Jul. 2020) State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics, School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing. His research focuses on barcode particles from microfluidics for biomarkers detection.


Yu Wang received her Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering (Sept. 2018-Jun. 2021) State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics, School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing. Her current scientific interest is focused on functional materials and their biomedical applications.


​​Dr. Muhammad Shafiq obtained his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Korea Institute of Science & Technology (KIST), Seoul, South Korea (2013-2018) and postdoctoral fellowship from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) (2021-2023). He pursued his doctoral research on stem cell recruiting polymeric biomaterials for in situ cardiovascular tissue regeneration, while postdoctoral research on nerve guidance conduits. His particular areas of research interests/expertise include polymer synthesis and modification, micro/nanofabrication, and artificial blood vessels. He has received several awards, honors, and prizes, including Research Excellence Award from KIST and Grand Prize from University of Science & Technology (UST), South Korea. Dr. Shafiq has authored more than 20 research articles as a 1st author alongside two invited book chapters.

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