Jianqin Lu

Jianqin Lu

Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences
Director, Pharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics Track
Assistant Professor, BIO5 Institute
Member, NCI Designated UA Comprehensive Cancer Center
Member, Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center

Jianqin Lu, BPharm, PhD, researches the fundamental and applied aspects of nanotherapeutics for improved cancer and other human diseases intervention. The Lu lab strives to develop safe, efficacious, and translational nanomedicines at the interface of synthetic chemistry, drug discovery/delivery, nanotechnology, and tumor immunology. First, Lu lab is interested in unraveling the underlying mechanisms and principles on how the structural alterations of a sterol-modified phospholipid bilayer will impact the therapeutic delivery of small molecule drugs/genes (siRNA, mRNA). Second, his group has pioneered a self-assembling sphingomyelin-derived drug nanoplatform that can address the drawbacks (poor drug loading/pharmacokinetics; limited tumor delivery) associated with conventional lipid-based delivery systems. Third, his team aims to develop effective nanotechnology-enabled approaches to turn “cold” tumors into “hot” phenotype, synergizing with the immune checkpoint blockade for improved cancer immunotherapy.

His research has been published in Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Communications, Biomaterials, etc, and yielded an NIH/NIGMS MIRA (R35) and an NIH/NCI R01, PhRMA Foundation Research Starter Grant in Drug Delivery, and several pilot/seed grants from the State of Arizona's Technology and Research Initiative Fund (TRIF)/BIO5 Institute and the NIH-sponsored Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center.

Recipient of the Norman R. and Priscilla A. Farnsworth Award at the University of Pittsburgh, the NIH/NCI Ruth L. Kirschstein Institutional National Research Service Award (T32) in Tumor Immunology at UCLA, A. Jay Gandolfi New Investigator Award at UArizona, and the 2022 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Pharmaceutics Research Award, Dr. Lu serves as the Director for Pharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics Track at R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy, the Associate Editor for Frontiers in Medical Technology: Nano-Based Drug Delivery and was the Secretary of Knowledge Management in AACP Pharmaceutics Section. Dr. Lu has been recognized as the Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator.

Areas of Research 

Drug Delivery
Pharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics
Cancer Immunotherapy

Types of Research

Basic and Applied Sciences
Translational Medicine

Selected Publications

  1. Wang, Z., Li, W., Jiang, Y., Tran T.B., Cordova, L.E., Chung, JG., Kim, M., Wondrak, G., Erdrich, J., Lu, J. Sphingomyelin-derived epacadostat nanovesicles for enhanced metastatic and post-surgical melanoma immunotherapy. Nature Communications. 2023;14(1):7235. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-43079-4. PMCID: PMC10636136
  2. Wang Z, Li W, Park J, Gonzalez KMarie, Scott AJames, Lu J. "Camptothesome elicits immunogenic cell death to boost colorectal cancer immune checkpoint blockade." Journal of Controlled Release. 2022. PMID: 35926754, 2022.  
  3. Wang Z, Little N, Chen J, et al. "Immunogenic camptothesome nanovesicles comprising sphingomyelin-derived camptothecin bilayers for safe and synergistic cancer immunochemotherapy." Nature Nanotechnology. 2021. PMID: 34385682 , 2021.  
  4. Lu J, Liu X, Liao Y-P, et al. "Nano-enabled pancreas cancer immunotherapy using immunogenic cell death and reversing immunosuppression." Nature Communications. 2017;8(1):1811. PMCID: PMC5703845 PMID: 29180759, 2017.  
  5. Lu J, Liu C, Wang P, et al. "The self-assembling camptothecin-tocopherol prodrug: An effective approach for formulating camptothecin." Biomaterials. 2015;62:176-87. PMCID: PMC4470812 PMID: 26057133, 2015.  


  • Postdoc, Nanomedicine/Tumor Immunology, University of California, Los Angeles, 2019
  • Postdoc, Nanomedicine, The University of Chicago, Chicago, 2015
  • PhD, Pharmaceutics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, 2014