Young Jik KwonAbout Young Jik Kwon

Dr. Young Jik Kwon is a professor at UCI in the Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, Biomedical Engineering, and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry departments. Following his undergraduate education in Biological Engineering at Inha University, Dr. Kwon received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Southern California with a focus on retroviral gene delivery in 2003 and did post-doctoral training in department of chemistry at UC Berkeley on polymeric vaccine carriers. He started his academic career in Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University in 2005 and moved to UC Irvine in 2007.

He currently oversees research at the BioTherapeutics Engineering Laboratory (BioTEL) at UCI and his current projects mainly focus on gene therapy, drug delivery, cancer-targeted therapeutics, combined molecular imaging and therapy, and cancer vaccines. Dr. Kwon is a member of the NCI-designated Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, Center for Virus Research, and Cancer Research Institute at UC Irvine. Dr. Kwon’s work was awarded the Medical Research Award from Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research in 2011, the Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation in 2010, and the Faculty Career Development Award from UC Irvine in 2008. He has received the best reviewer in the subject area of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Elsevier (2011), FEBS Journal Top-Cited Paper Award, Wiley (2013), and Top downloaded article award, Journal of Materials Chemistry, Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing (2014). He was a Brainpool Scholar to Korea University in Seoul, South Korea (2015-2016) and a “Science without Borders” Scholar to Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil (2014-2017).


Small Scale, Big Advances: Many clinical treatments lacking specificity and efficiency do not perform to expected standard causing adverse effects and reducing patient quality of life. We aim to develop efficient, versatile, and safe therapeutics by employing nano- and micro-scale biomaterials.

These systems are comprised of synthetic polymers, naturally-occurring macromolecules, engineered viruses, and cellular materials. They are molecularly tuned for multi-modal therapeutic delivery to effectively tackle multiple pathological pathways for efficient, safe, and synergistic effects. The engineer-able design of our technologies allows applications in degenerative diseases, infectious diseases, and chemo-, gene, immuno- and cell therapy for cancer. Current research projects span a variety of scopes, including dual-modal gene therapy for cancer, polymeric nano-antibiotics for drug-resistant infections, biocompatible polyplexes for cancer therapy, and engineered extracellular vesicles for cancer and diabetes therapy.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Professor Kwon’s research.


Young Jik Kwon
UCI Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences | 949.824.8714

In the news

“$1.25 million pharmaceutical sciences donation will fund lab’s biomaterials research,” UCI News. May 16, 2017.

“Target: Drug-resistant bacteria,” MIT News. May 4, 2012.