Xuanhong Cheng comes to Lehigh from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where she has been a postdoctoral fellow since 2005. She received her doctorate in bioengineering from the University of Washington, and received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Wuhan University, China. Cheng has a long-standing interest in developing and applying engineering tools, including micro/nanotechnology, chemical, optical, mechanical and electrical approaches to study biological problems, especially those related to whole cells and pathogens. Her research emphasis has been on biomaterials, surface modification, surface science, cell-surface interaction, biological microelectromechanical systems (BioMEMS), biosensors and global health diagnostics.

In graduate school, Cheng studied the surface science of a thermal-responsive polymer, poly(n-isopropylacrylamide) (pNIPAM), including the interactions and function of proteins and cells with pNIPAM, using multiple characterization techniques. By incorporating microfabricated heaters with the thermal responsive polymer, she created protein and cell-patterned arrays for tissue engineering applications.

During her postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School, Cheng has focused on the development of novel microfluidic devices for point-of-care and global health diagnostics. She designed microfluidic chips for label-free lymphocyte isolation from whole blood without sample preparation, and integrated electrical sensors into the cell isolation chip for automated, non-optical cell counting. Application of this device was explored for CD4 cell counting in HIV/AIDS diagnostics. In addition to continuing her research in point-of-care diagnostics at Lehigh, Cheng is also developing novel tools for fundamental understanding of cell metabolism and function at the microscopic scale. The other research area she is exploring is to engineer functional single molecules responsive to environmental stimulations.


Xuanhong Cheng
Xuanhong Cheng
(610) 758-2002
Whitaker Lab 264
5 E. Packer Ave.
Bethlehem, PA 18015


Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
M.Engr., Electrical Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
B.S., Biology, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China

Areas of Research

BioMEMS, Microfluidics, Point-of-Care Diagnostics, Nanotechnology, Biomaterials, Surface Sciences