Cheng Zhu

Position: Principal Investigator


Dr. Zhu began his research career as a theoretician building mathematical models of cellular processes. After coming to Georgia Tech, Dr. Zhu established his laboratory and is currently conducting research in the full spectrum of integrated experimental, computational, and theoretical studies in bioengineering at the cellular and molecular levels. Dr. Zhu began at Tech in 1990 as an Assistant Professor. Prior, he was an Assistant Research Bioengineer at the University of California at San Diego.


Ph.D., Columbia University, 1988

M.S., Columbia University, 1985

B.S., Zhejiang University, China, 1982


The goal of Dr. Zhu's research is to gain a fundamental understanding of important biological processes at the level of cells and molecules, and their relations to human health and diseases. Current research projects in the Zhu lab focus on the adhesion and signaling molecules in the immune system and the vascular system. The experiments utilize state-of-the-art technologies, including micropipette manipulation, atomic force microscopy, biomembrane force probe, and real-time laser scanning confocal microscopy. Genetic engineering approaches are used to alter the structures of biologically active molecules. The effects of such structural variation on the mechanical regulation of single pairs of molecular interactions are measured experimentally using ultrasensitive techniques at the pico Newton and nanometer levels and analyzed theoretically using nonequilibrium statistical physics models and molecular dynamics simulations. These projects are relevant to cardiovascular diseases, auto-immune and immunodifficient diseases, and cancer. Students who have a good background in physical sciences and engineering, a strong desire to discover the inner working of life at the cell and molecular levels, and a keen interest to work in a multidisciplinary field can find great opportunities in the Zhu lab. Dr. Zhu's research are primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health.