Fan Yuan

Fan Yuan

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Yuan's research interests include drug and gene delivery, mechanisms of molecular transport in cells and tissues, and tumor pathophysiology.

Cure of cancer through chemotherapy requires drug molecules to reach all tumor cells at an adequately high concentration. At present, such a requirement cannot be satisfied in most patients. This is because (a) amount of drugs that can be administered into patients is limited by normal tissue tolerance and (b) drug distribution and cellular response to drugs in tumors are heterogeneous. Therefore, cells in regions with drug concentration below the therapeutic level will cause tumor recurrence and they may also develop resistance to future treatment.

The goal of our research is two-fold. One is to improve delivery of therapeutic agents in solid tumors; and the second is to understand mechanisms of drug resistance in tumors caused by intrinsic cellular heterogeneity and physiological barriers. These studies may provide useful information on how to improve clinical treatment of cancer based on currently available drugs or molecular medicines in the future.

Research projects in our lab include quantification of transport parameters, delivery of drugs encapsulated in temperature sensitive liposomes, physical interventions of drugs, electric field-mediated gene delivery, mathematical modeling of drug and gene delivery.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Professor in Ophthalmology
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Contact Information

  • Office Location: Rm 1385, Fciemas, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0281
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5411
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


  • Ph.D. City University of New York, 1990
  • M.S. Beijing University (China), 1985
  • B.S. Beijing University (China), 1983

Research Interests

Dr. Yuan's research interests include drug and gene delivery, mechanisms of molecular transport in cells and tissues, and tumor pathophysiology.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Fellows. American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. 2007
  • CAREER Award. National Science Foundation. 2000
  • SPORE in Breast Cancer Career Development Award. Duke University Medical Center. 1996
  • IPM Innovative Instrumentation Award. The Microcirculatory Society. 1994
  • IPM Innovative Instrumentation Award. The Microcirculatory Society. 1993

Courses Taught

  • BME 394: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 493: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 494: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 530: Introduction to Tissue Biomechanics (GE, BB)
  • BME 789: Internship in Biomedical Engineering
  • BME 791: Graduate Independent Study
  • MENG 550: Master of Engineering Internship/Project
  • MENG 551: Master of Engineering Internship/Project Assessment

Representative Publications

  • Lei, Y; Han, H; Yuan, F; Javeed, A; Zhao, Y, The brain interstitial system: Anatomy, modeling, in vivo measurement, and applications., Progress in Neurobiology, vol 157 (2017), pp. 230-246 [10.1016/j.pneurobio.2015.12.007] [abs].
  • Chang, J; Huang, J; Li, L; Liu, Z; Yuan, F, Stiffness characterization of anisotropic trabecular meshwork., Journal of Biomechanics, vol 61 (2017), pp. 144-150 [10.1016/j.jbiomech.2017.07.021] [abs].
  • Yang, C; Koff, AS; Yuan, F; Zhong, P; Hsiao, CT; Chahine, GL, Characterization of jet formation and flow field produced by tandem bubbles, AIP Conference Proceedings, vol 1821 (2017) [10.1063/1.4977637] [abs].
  • Mao, M; Wang, L; Chang, C-C; Rothenberg, KE; Huang, J; Wang, Y; Hoffman, BD; Liton, PB; Yuan, F, Involvement of a Rac1-Dependent Macropinocytosis Pathway in Plasmid DNA Delivery by Electrotransfection., Molecular Therapy, vol 25 no. 3 (2017), pp. 803-815 [10.1016/j.ymthe.2016.12.009] [abs].
  • Cervia, LD; Chang, C-C; Wang, L; Yuan, F, Distinct Effects of Endosomal Escape and Endosomal Trafficking on Gene Delivery via Electrotransfection, Biophysical Journal, vol 112 no. 3 (2017), pp. 473a-473a [10.1016/j.bpj.2016.11.2539] [abs].