Information for

Pu Chen

University Research Chair & Professor

Pu ChenDegrees

  • BSc, Nanjing, China
  • MSc, Nanjing, China
  • MASc, Toronto
  • PhD, Toronto

Research interests

My research is at the interface between nanotechnology, biomedicine, and energy; it involves the application of materials science, physical chemistry, surface thermodynamics, solid state physics, biochemistry and molecular cell biology to energy, biomedical and chemical engineering systems. At the centre are studies of the molecular self-assembly and interfacial phenomena in multiphase systems where nanomaterials or molecules in different states (or phases) co-exist and interact with one another. The current effort is to design and measure the molecular interaction, nanostructure formation and adsorption kinetics of peptides, DNA, RNA (siRNA), proteins, surfactants, polymers, metals and inorganic compounds in solution or at interfaces. The research applies techniques emerging from innovations in nanotechnology, genomics, proteomics and nano/microelectronics to problems in nanomedicine, colloid and surface science, and alternative energy. Practical applications include drug and gene delivery; peptide-DNA/RNA binding; protein-lipid interactions, lipid bilayer and cell membrane actions; therapeutic lung surfactants; emulsification, coating, painting, and thin films; surface mass and heat transfer; molecular/microsensors; nanotube membranes and bioseparation; energy storage and conversion. The study is highly interdisciplinary and can involve both experimental and theoretical work. The integrated research approach is having significant impact on the success of many emerging energy, biomedical and chemical technologies; it is an exciting and rewarding area of study for PhD and MASc students with a background in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, materials science, physics, chemistry, mathematics or biology.

Selected references

Refereed journal publications

  • A. Firooz and P. Chen, “Effect of Temperature on the Surface Tension of 1-Hexanol Aqueous Solutions,” Langmuir, (accepted, 2010).
  • P. Sadatmousavi*, M. Soltani*, R. Nazarian*, M. Jafari* and P. Chen, "Self-assembling peptides: potential role in tumor targeting," Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, (accepted, 2010), (*Equally contributed).
  • Y. Sheng, W. Wang and P. Chen, “Interaction of an ionic complementary peptide with a hydrophobic graphic surface,” Protein Science, (accepted, 2010).
  • A. Prpich, Y. Sheng, W. Wang, E. Biswas and P. Chen, “Tension at the surface: which phase is more important, liquid or vapor?” PLoS ONE, 4(12): e8281, 1-6 (2009). (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008281).
  • M. Jafari and P. Chen, “Peptide mediated siRNA delivery,” Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, 9, 1088-1097 (2009).
  • S. Fung, H. Yang, P.T. Bhola, P. Sadatmousavi, E. Muzar, M. Liu and P. Chen, “Self-Assembling Peptide as a Potential Carrier for Hydrophobic Anticancer Drug Ellipticine,” Adv. Funct. Mater. 18, 1-10 (2008).
  • R.B. Thompson, J.R. Macdonald and P. Chen, “Origins of Change in Molecular Weight Dependence for Polymer Surface Tension,” Phys. Rev. E. Rapid Communications, 78, 030801 (R) (2008).  (Also in the October 1, 2008 issue of Virtual Journal of Biological Physics Research.)
  • H. Yang, S. Fung, M. Pritzker and P. Chen, “Mechanical Force-Induced Peptide Assembly at Liquid/Solid Interfaces,” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 47, 4397-4400 (2008). (Also in Angewandte Chemie, 120, 4469-4472 (2008)).
  • A. Prpich, M.E. Biswas and P. Chen, “Adsorption Kinetics of Aqueous n-Alcohols: A New Kinetic Equation for Surfactant Transfer,” J. Phys. Chem. C, 112, 2522-2528 (2008).
  • M. Wang, H.V. Adikane, J. Duhamel and P. Chen, “Protection of Oligodeoxynucleotides against Nuclease Degradation through Association with Self-Assembling Peptides,” Biomaterials, 29, 1099-1108 (2007).
  • H. Yang, S. Fung, M. Pritzker and P. Chen, “Surface-Assisted Assembly of an Ionic-Complementary Peptide: Controllable Growth of Nanofibers,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 129, 12200-12210 (2007).
  • M. Wang, M. Law, J. Duhamel and P. Chen, “A Quantitative Study of the Complexation of a Self-Assembling Peptide with Oligodeoxynucleotides,” Biophysical Journal, 93, 2477-2490 (2007).
  • H. Park, R.B. Thompson, N. Lanson, C. Tzoganakis, C. Park and P. Chen, “Effect of Temperature and Pressure on Surface Tension of Polystyrene in Supercritical Carbon Dioxide,” J. Phys. Chem. B, 111, 3859-3868 (2007).


  • P. Chen, ed. “Molecular Interfacial Phenomena of Polymers and Biopolymers,” Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, UK and Chemical Rubber Company (CRC) Press, Boca Raton, Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., USA, (2005).

Book chapters

  • P. Sadatmousavi, M. Soltani, R. Nazarian, T. Mamo, S. Lu, J. Wang, W. Xu, M. Jafari and P. Chen, “Design Principles of Self-Assembling Peptides and their Potential Applications,” in Comprehensive Biotechnology, 2nd edition, M. Moo-Young, ed., Elsevier, Oxford, UK, (accepted, 2010).
  • S. Al Shakhshir, X. Li and P. Chen, “An Introduction to the Influence of Microfluidic Channel Wettability on PEM Fuel Cell Performance,” in Microfluidics and Nanofluidics Handbook, S.K. Mitra and S. Chakraborty, eds., CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group, Novato, CA., USA, (accepted 2009).
  • H. Wei, R.B. Thompson, C.B. Park and P. Chen, “Surface Tension Measurement of Polymer Melts in Supercritical Fluids,” in Drops and Bubbles, R. Miller, ed., Elsevier, Amsterdam, (accepted 2009).
University of Waterloo