Fan Yuan

Fan Yuan

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Yuan's research interests include drug and gene delivery, mechanisms of molecular transport in cells and tissues, and tumor pathophysiology.

Cure of cancer through chemotherapy requires drug molecules to reach all tumor cells at an adequately high concentration. At present, such a requirement cannot be satisfied in most patients. This is because (a) amount of drugs that can be administered into patients is limited by normal tissue tolerance and (b) drug distribution and cellular response to drugs in tumors are heterogeneous. Therefore, cells in regions with drug concentration below the therapeutic level will cause tumor recurrence and they may also develop resistance to future treatment.

The goal of our research is two-fold. One is to improve delivery of therapeutic agents in solid tumors; and the second is to understand mechanisms of drug resistance in tumors caused by intrinsic cellular heterogeneity and physiological barriers. These studies may provide useful information on how to improve clinical treatment of cancer based on currently available drugs or molecular medicines in the future.

Research projects in our lab include quantification of transport parameters, delivery of drugs encapsulated in temperature sensitive liposomes, physical interventions of drugs, electric field-mediated gene delivery, mathematical modeling of drug and gene delivery.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Professor in Ophthalmology
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Contact Information

  • Office Location: Rm 1385, Fciemas, Duke Univers, Durham, NC 27708-0281
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5411
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


  • Ph.D. City University of New York, 1990
  • M.S. Peking University (China), 1985
  • B.S. Peking University (China), 1983

Research Interests

Drug and gene delivery, mechanisms of molecular transport in cells and tissues, and tumor pathophysiology.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Fellow. American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. 2007
  • CAREER Award. National Science Foundation. 2000
  • SPORE in Breast Cancer Career Development Award. Duke University Medical Center. 1996
  • IPM Innovative Instrumentation Award. The Microcirculatory Society. 1994
  • IPM Innovative Instrumentation Award. The Microcirculatory Society. 1993

Courses Taught

  • BME 577: Drug Delivery (GE, BB, MC)
  • BME 789: Internship in Biomedical Engineering
  • BME 791: Graduate Independent Study
  • MENG 550: Master of Engineering Internship/Project
  • MENG 551: Master of Engineering Internship/Project Assessment

Representative Publications

  • Wu, F; Shen, MH; Yang, J; Wang, H; Mikhaylov, R; Clayton, A; Qin, X; Sun, C; Xie, Z; Cai, M; Wei, J; Liang, D; Yuan, F; Wu, Z; Fu, Y; Yang, Z; Sun, X; Tian, L; Yang, X, An Enhanced Tilted-Angle Acoustofluidic Chip for Cancer Cell Manipulation, Ieee Electron Device Letters, vol 42 no. 4 (2021), pp. 577-580 [10.1109/LED.2021.3062292] [abs].
  • Wang, L; Chang, C-C; Sylvers, J; Yuan, F, A statistical framework for determination of minimal plasmid copy number required for transgene expression in mammalian cells., Bioelectrochemistry (Amsterdam, Netherlands), vol 138 (2021) [10.1016/j.bioelechem.2020.107731] [abs].
  • Sun, C; Wu, F; Fu, Y; Wallis, DJ; Mikhaylov, R; Yuan, F; Liang, D; Xie, Z; Wang, H; Tao, R; Shen, MH; Yang, J; Xun, W; Wu, Z; Yang, Z; Cang, H; Yang, X, Thin film Gallium nitride (GaN) based acoustofluidic Tweezer: Modelling and microparticle manipulation., Ultrasonics, vol 108 (2020) [10.1016/j.ultras.2020.106202] [abs].
  • Huang, J; Sachdeva, M; Xu, E; Robinson, TJ; Luo, L; Ma, Y; Williams, NT; Lopez, O; Cervia, LD; Yuan, F; Qin, X; Zhang, D; Owzar, K; Gokgoz, N; Seto, A; Okada, T; Singer, S; Andrulis, IL; Wunder, JS; Lazar, AJ; Rubin, BP; Pipho, K; Mello, SS; Giudice, J; Kirsch, DG, The Long Noncoding RNA NEAT1 Promotes Sarcoma Metastasis by Regulating RNA Splicing Pathways., Mol Cancer Res, vol 18 no. 10 (2020), pp. 1534-1544 [10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-19-1170] [abs].
  • Wang, C; Chang, C-C; Wang, L; Yuan, F, Inhibition of Caspases Improves Non-Viral T Cell Receptor Editing., Cancers, vol 12 no. 9 (2020) [10.3390/cancers12092603] [abs].