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


  • 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

Courses Taught

  • BME 260L: Modeling Cellular and Molecular Systems
  • 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 577: Drug Transport Analysis (GE, BB, MC)
  • BME 590: Advanced Topics 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

  • Yuan, F; Schieber, AT; Camras, LJ; Harasymowycz, PJ; Herndon, LW; Allingham, RR, Mathematical Modeling of Outflow Facility Increase With Trabecular Meshwork Bypass and Schlemm Canal Dilation., Journal of Glaucoma, vol 25 no. 4 (2016), pp. 355-364 [abs].
  • Lei, Y; Han, H; Yuan, F; Javeed, A; Zhao, Y, Brain Interstitial System: Anatomy, Modeling,In Vivo Measurement, and Application., Progress in Neurobiology (2016) [abs].
  • Liang, J; Yuan, F; Gonzalez, P; Stamer, W, Signaling Pathways that mediate endoMT of Human Trabecular meshwork cells exposed to Cyclic Mechanical Stress, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, vol 56 no. 7 (2015) [abs].
  • Lee, TJ; Wong, J; Bae, S; Lee, AJ; Lopatkin, A; Yuan, F; You, L, A power-law dependence of bacterial invasion on mammalian host receptors., PLoS computational biology, vol 11 no. 4 (2015) [abs].
  • Huang, J; Camras, LJ; Yuan, F, Mechanical analysis of rat trabecular meshwork., Soft Matter, vol 11 no. 14 (2015), pp. 2857-2865 [abs].