Eun Ji Chung

Eun Ji Chung

Research Associate

Contact Information

Office: (773) 702-7063

5735 South Ellis Avenue
Searle Laboratory 020
Chicago, IL 60637

Biographical Statement

Eun Ji Chung received her B.A. in Molecular Biology at Scripps College (Claremont, CA) and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL). As an undergraduate thesis student at Scripps, Eun Ji investigated the role of histone deacetylases in Tetrahymena thermophila in the laboratory of Dr. Emily Wiley. At Northwestern, she developed novel, citric acid-based polymers and nanocomposites for bone and ligament tissue engineering under the direction of Guillermo A. Ameer. Upon receiving the IBNAM-Baxter Early Career Award, she continued her research as a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern, where she focused on fabricating self-assembling membranes derived from natural ECM proteins and carbohydrates for applications in regenerative medicine.Eun Ji joined the Institute for Molecular Engineering in 2012 and is a recipient of the American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship, Chicago Biomedical Consortium Postdoctoral Research Grant, and the K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from NHLBI. Her current research aims to develop an early detection system and a minimally invasive, diagnostic tool for atherosclerosis through the molecular design of peptide amphiphile micelles. Her overall research interests and goals seek to develop biomaterials that can be utilized in medicine.


My research interests involve the design, development, characterization, and application of peptide amphiphiles for cardiovascular and cancer diagnostics and therapeutics. Specifically, we are currently investigating monocyte-targeting, peptide amphiphile spherical micelles for early diagnosis of atherosclerosis. One of the first markers of atherosclerotic plaques is the inflammatory activation of endothelial cells which recruit monocytes in large quantities. Therefore, a molecular imaging tool that binds specifically to monocytes may provide a noninvasive, detection system for early-staged atherosclerosis. In addition to optical imaging, micelles are being tailored for detection using MRI and CT. Moreover, we are developing micelles that incorporate therapies as well as markers specific to vulnerable plaques.

For cancer, in collaboration with the Lesniak group, peptide amphiphile micelles that bind to brain cancer markers are investigated as diagnostic tools and chemotherapy carriers. By taking advantage of the leaky vasculature and the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect characteristic to tumors, the brain blood barrier (BBB) is bypassed and the payload delivered.


  1. "Recent Advances in Targeted, Self-Assembling Nanoparticles to Address Vascular Damage Due to Atherosclerosis," E. J. Chung, M. Tirrell, Advanced Healthcare Materials (2015).[PDF]
  2. "Biocompatibility and characterization of a peptide amphiphile hydrogel for applications in peripheral nerve regeneration," K. A. Black, B. F. Lin, E. A. Wonder, S. S. Desai, E. J. Chung, B. Ulery, R. S. Katari, M. Tirrell, Tissue Engineering Part A (2015).[PDF]
  3. "Fibrin-Targeting, Peptide Amphiphile Micelles as Contrast Agents for Molecular MRI," E. J. Chung, F. Pineda, K. Nord, G Karczmar, S.-K. Lee, M. Tirrell, J. Cell Sci. Ther., 5, 181 (2014). [PDF]
  4. "A biodegradable tri-component graft for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction," E. J. Chung, M. J. Sugimoto, J. L. Koh, G. A. Ameer, Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (2014). [PDF]
  5. "Inhibition of atherosclerosis-promoting microRNAs via targeted polyelectrolyte complex micelles," C-H. Kuo, L. Leon, E. J. Chung, T. Sontag, R-T. Huang, C. Reardon, G. Getz, M. Tirrell, Y. Fang, J. Mater. Chem. B (2014). [PDF]
  6. "In Vivo Biodistribution and Clearance of Peptide Amphiphile Micelles," E. J. Chung, L. B. Mlinar, M. J. Sugimoto, K. Nord, B. B. Roman, M. Tirrell, Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine (2014). [PDF]
  7. "Monocyte-Targeting Supramolecular Micellar Assemblies: A Molecular Diagnostic Tool for Atherosclerosis," E. J. Chung, L. B. Mlinar, K. Nord, M. J. Sugimoto, E. Wonder, F. J. Alenghat, Y. Fang, M. Tirrell, Adv. Healthcare Mater. (2014). [PDF]
  8. Featured on the inside front cover.

  9. "Active Targeting of Early and Mid-Stage Atherosclerotic Plaques using Self-Assembled Peptide Amphiphile Micelles," L. Mlinar, E.J. Chung, E. Wonder, M. Tirrell, Biomaterials, 35(30), 8678–8686 (2014). [PDF]
  10. "Fibrin-Binding, Peptide Amphiphile Micelles for Targeting Glioblastoma," E.J. Chung,* Y. Cheng,* R. Morshed, K. Nord, Y. Han, M. Wegscheid, B. Auffinger, D.A. Wainwright, M.S. Lesniak, M.V. Tirrell, Biomaterials, 35, 1249-1256 (2014). [PDF]
  11. "Investigation of Soy Protein Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications: Materials Characterization, Drug Release, and Biocompatibility," K.B. Chien,* E.J. Chung,* and R.N. Shah, Journal of Biomaterials Applications, 28(7), 1085-1096 (2014). [PDF]
  12. "Osteogenic Potential of BMP‐2‐Releasing Self‐Assembled Membranes," E.J. Chung, K.B. Chien, B.A. Aguado, and R.N. Shah, Tissue Engineering Part A, 19(23-24), 2664-2673 (2013). [PDF]
  13. "In Situ Forming Collagen‐Hyaluronic Acid Membrane Structures: Mechanism of Self‐Assembly and Applications in Regenerative Medicine," E.J. Chung, A.E. Jakus, and R.N. Shah, Acta Biomaterialia, 9(2), 5153‐5161 (2013). [PDF]
  14. "Low Pressure Foaming: A Novel Method for the Fabrication of Porous Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering," E.J. Chung, M. Sugimoto, J. Koh, and G.A. Ameer, Tissue Engineering Part C, 18(2) 113‐121 (2012). [PDF]
  15. Highlighted as the cover article.

  16. "The Role of Hydroxyapatite in Citric Acid‐Based Nanocomposites: Surface Characteristic, Degradation, and Osteogenicity," E.J. Chung, M. Sugimoto, and G.A. Ameer, Acta Biomaterilia, 7(11), 4057‐4063 (2011). [PDF]
  17. "Long‐Term In Vivo Response to Citric Acid‐Based Nanocomposites for Orthopaedic Tissue Engineering," E.J. Chung,* P. Kodali,* S. Yang, W. Laskin, J. Koh, and G.A. Ameer, Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine, 22(9), 2131‐2138 (2011). [PDF]
  18. "Early Tissue Response to Citric Acid‐Based Micro‐ and Nanocomposites," E.J. Chung,* H.J. Qiu,* P. Kodali, S. Yang, J. Hwong, J.Koh, and G.A. Ameer, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 96A(1): 29‐37 (2011). [PDF]
  19. "Allopregnanolone Reverses Neurogenic and Cognitive Deficits in Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease," J. Wang, C. Singh, L. Liu, R. Irwin, S. Chen, E.J. Chung, R. Thompson, and R. Brinton, PNAS, 107(14) 6498‐6503 (2010). [PDF]
  20. "Advances and Applications of Biodegradable Elastomers in Regenerative Medicine," M.C. Serrano,* E.J. Chung,* and G.A. Ameer, Advanced Functional Materials, 20(2) 192‐208 (2010). [PDF]
  21. "P‐076Estrogen Receptor‐Selective Ligands Regulate ApoE Expression and Neurogenesis in 3xTgAD Mouse Hippocampus," J. Wang, L. Liu, R. Irwin, S. Chen, E.J. Chung, R. Seligman, and R. Brinton, Alzheimer's and Dementia, 3(3) S123‐S123 (2007).
  22. "Focal Adhesion and Actin Organization by a Cross‐Talk of TM4SF5 with Integrin a2 are Regulated by Serum Treatment," S.Y. Lee, T.Y. Kim, M.S. Lee, Y.B. Kim, E.J. Chung, and J.W. Lee, Experimental Cell Research, 312(16) 2983‐2999 (2006). [PDF]

Book Chapters

  1. "Chapter 13: Nanomaterials in Tissue Engineering: Characterization, Fabrication and Applications," E. Chung, N. Shah, and R.N. Shah, Nanomaterials for Cartilage Regeneration, (2013) - in press.