May 2020

  • Our own Senior Ms. Janet Cole was accepted to the PharmD program of VCU School of Pharmacy! Congratulations!! Janet has done an impressive job during her stay in our lab. 

  • Our research on COVID-19 vaccine has been highlighted by VCU News! See the story here

  • We were grateful to receive a VCU COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding to develop a COVID-19 vaccine delivery system.

  • An Advanced Therapeutics paper! Dr. Yu Zhang's paper on a responsive STING-activating nanovaccines for melanoma immunotherapy has been accepted for publication. This marks the first independent research paper from our lab at VCU. Congratulations!! 

April 2020

  • Julian was accepted to be a member of the VCU Center On Health Disparities (CoHD)! 

March 2020

  • Medicine in Drug Discovery paper! Shurong's review paper "Delivery of nucleic acid therapeutics for cancer immunotherapy" was accepted for publication. Great job and congrats to Shurong, Wenjie, and Janet!  

  • An ACS Applied Bio Materials paper! Drs. Tingting Shen and Yu Zhang's review paper, "Nucleic Acid Immunotherapeutics for Cancer", was accepted for publication. Great job and congrats to all!  

February 2020

  • Zhu Lab and collaborators were grateful to receive a pilot grant from the Central Virginia Center on Drug Abuse Research to study drug delivery for anti-opioid therapy. 

  • Julian delivered a talk, "Drug delivery for cancer immunotherapy", in VCU Department of Medicinal Chemistry.


December 2019

  • Science Advances paper! "A Bi-adjuvant Nanovaccine that Potentiates Immunogenicity of Neoantigen for Combination Immunotherapy of Colorectal Cancer", in collaboration with Qianqian Ni, Fuwu Zhang at the Shawn Chen Lab at NIH was accepted for publication in Science Advances! Congratulations!!!

  • Julian delivered a talk, "Drug delivery systems and nucleic acid therapeutics for cancer", in the annual retreat of the Developmental Therapeutics Program, VCU Massey Cancer Center.

October 2019

  • Julian enjoyed leading the poster judging for the VCU School of Pharmacy annual Research and Career Day! Great and diverse research presented by graduate students, postdocs, and PharmD students. 

  • Julian delivered a talk, "Drug delivery using biocompatible bioconjugates and nanoparticles”, in VCU Pharmacology and Toxicology Seminar Series.

  • Julian delivered a talk, "Responsive STING-activating Nanovaccines", in the 15th Annual Meeting of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society (OTS) in Munich, Germany. 

  • Julian delivered talks on "Cancer nanomedicine: applications in immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and gene therapy" in Nankai University, Tianjin University, Beijing Institute of Technology, and Shanghai Jiaotong University. 

  • We welcome a baby daughter, Claire Zhang, from Drs. Yu Zhang and Tingting Shen!!! 

  • Visiting graduate student, Mr. Jialong Qi, joined the lab. Welcome! 

  • Postdoc associate Dr. Furong Cheng joined the lab. Welcome! 

  • Wenjie Chen won a runner up postdoc presentation award at the VCU School of Pharmacy Research and Career Day! Congratulations!

September 2019

  • An invited review paper "STING activation in cancer immunotherapy" by Drs. Ting Su, Yu Zhang, et al, was accepted for publication in Theranostics. Congrats and thanks to all coauthors! 

  • Julian delivered a talk, “Using DNA/RNA as Drugs: From Discovery to Development”, in VCU Discovery Dialogues.

August 2019

  • Our first graduate student, Ms. Shurong Zhou, joined the lab. Welcome!

  • Julian received a VA-VCU pilot award, under the mentorship of the great Dr. Huiping Zhou! Thank you, Dr. Zhou, Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center, and VCU School of Medicine! 

  • VCU senior undergraduate student, Janét Cole, joined the lab. Welcome! 

  • Julian enjoyed the Spokesperson Training from the American Cancer Society! Thank you, American Cancer Society! 

June 2019

  • Our new lab renovation is officially completed! Happy to move to our new home in Smith Building 615, 616, and 619, adjacent to lab office 618!  Thank VCU School of Pharmacy for the great support! 

  • Julian was happy to deliver a talk, "Nucleic acid therapeutics", to the Williamsburg VA KIWANIS club. 

  • VCU undergraduate student, Kush Shah, joined the lab. Welcome! 

May 2019

  • Visiting scholar, Prof. Weinan Wang, joined the lab. Welcome! 

  • Visiting scholar, Prof. Lujun Hu, joined the lab. Welcome! 

April 2019

  • Julian received an American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant (ACS IRG). Thank you, ACS!

  • Julian received a VCU Massey Cancer Center Pilot Project! Thank you, Massey Cancer Center!

  • Julian received an Endowment Fund from the VCU C. Kenneth and Diane Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR)! Thank you, CCTR! 

  • Dr. Yu Zhang et al's invited review, "Nanovaccines for Cancer Immunotherapy" was accepted for publication in WIREs Nanomedicine & Nanobiotechnology. Congratulations to all!

  • Julian delivered a talk, "Albumin-binding DNA/RNA therapeutics: efficient and versatile delivery", in the RNA Consortium Meeting 2019 held at the City of Hope, CA. 

  • Julian enjoyed the great research presentations in NIH-AACR Cancer, Autoimmunity, and Immunology Conference held at the NIH, Bethesda, MD

  • Julian enjoyed the great research presentations in NCI RNA Biology Symposium, Bethesda, MD. 

  • Dr. Yongjian Wang from Nankai University, China, visited the lab. Welcome!

March 2019

  • Julian was happy to host Dr. Kam W. Leong from Columbia University for a department seminar talk! Such an inspirational talk from a trailblazer! 


  • Julian presented "In vivo pharmacoimaging and delivery of nucleic acid therapeutics and probes", in the Pittcon 2019 held in Philly, PA. 

  • CCTR graduate student, Cory Fines, joined the lab for a rotation. Welcome!

February 2019

  • Postdoc associate Dr. Wenjie Chen joined the lab. Welcome! 

Janurary 2019

  • Postdoc associates Drs. Tingting Shen and Yu Zhang joined the lab. Welcome! 

  • Julian delivered a talk, “Reinvent nanomedicines for drug delivery in combination cancer therapy” in the annual retreat of the Developmental Therapeutics Program, VCU Massey Cancer Center.

December 2018

  • Our first postdoc associate Dr. Ting Su joined the lab. Welcome! 

  • An invited review "Advances in the immunotherapy of type I diabetes" was accepted for publication in Advanced Drug Delivery Review. Congratulations!

  • Our first undergraduate student, Jay Bisen, from the VCU Guaranteed Medical Program, joined the lab. Welcome, Jay!

November 2018

  • Julian received a KL2 Scholar Award from the VCU C. Kenneth and Diane Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR)! Thank you, CCTR! Thank you mentors Dr. Doug Sweet and Sandro da Rocha!

October 2018

  • Julian was happy to host Dr. Leaf Huang from UNC for a department seminar talk, which is always a joy!

  • Julian was happy to host Dr. Peng Huang from the Okayama Medical Innovation Center, Japan, for a departmental talk. 

  • Julian delivered a talk, "Lymph node-targeted delivery of CpG-ODN and neoantigen vaccines for personalized cancer immunotherapy", in the 14th Annual Meeting of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society (OTS) in Seattle, WA. 

  • Julian delivered a talk, "Nanotechnologies and Aptamers in Cancer: From Drug Delivery to Cancer Detection", in the Developmental Therapeutics Program of VCU Massey Cancer Center.  


  • Julian presented "Albumin-binding vaccines for efficient lymph node delivery in combination cancer immunotherapy", in the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Annual Meeting.                                    

August 2018

July 2018

  • The Zhu Lab officially started! 


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