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Faculty & Research

Suzie Pun

Faculty Photo

Washington Research Foundation Professor

Adjunct Professor
Chemical Engineering


We are developing new materials to improve and/or enable drug delivery, with an emphasis on macromolecular drugs. We are also developing new technologies for translation of cell therapies.

The overarching goal of our research is to develop bio-inspired materials for medical applications. Our general approach is to mimic pathways used by nature in our materials design. To this end, we have identified bioactive peptide and aptamer motifs through library selection. Using these motifs, we synthesize highly uniform and scalable materials with controlled compositions, structures and sizes that can be used for versatile biomedical applications. The Pun group focuses on door-opening technologies in drug delivery, including innovations for macromolecule delivery to the central nervous system, development of injectable hemostatic polymers, technologies for drug delivery to the kidney and materials for controlled modulation of the immune system for cancer treatment.


  • PhD Chemical Engineering California Institute of Technology, 2000
  • MS Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology
  • BS Chemical Engineering, Stanford University

Select publications

  1. Cheng, Y.L., Sellers, D.L., Tan, J-K.Y., Peeler, D.J., Horner, P.J., and Pun, S.H. (2017) Development of switchable polymers to address the dilemma of stability and cargo release in polycationic nucleic acid carriers. Biomaterials, v127:89-96.
  2. Lamm, R.J., Lim, E.B., Weigandt, K.M., Pozzo, L.D., White, N.J., and Pun, S.H. (2017) Peptide valency plays an important role in the activity of a synthetic fibrin-crosslinking polymer. Biomaterials, v132:96-104.
  3. Cheng, Y., Yumul, R.C., and Pun, S.H. (2016) Virus-inspired polymer for efficient in vitro and in vivo gene delivery. Angew Chemie, v55(39):12013-12017.
  4. Ngambenjawong, C., Gustafson, H.H., Pineda, J.M., Cieslewicz, M.E., Pun, S.H. (2016) Serum stability and affinity optimization of an M2 macrophage-targeting peptide (M2pep). Theranostics, v6(9):1403-1414.
  5. Sellers, D.L., Bergen, J.M., Johnson, R.N., Ravits, J., Horner, P.H., and Pun, S.H. (2016) Targeted Axonal Import (TAxI) peptide delivers functional proteins into the spinal cord after peripheral administration. PNAS, v113:2514-2519.
  6. Chan, L.W-G., Wang, X., Wei, H., Pozzo, L.D., White, N.J., and Pun, S.H. (2015) Fibrin-crosslinking polymers for modulating clot properties and inducing hemostasis. Sci Trans Med, v7(277):277ra29
  7. Cheng, Y., Wei, H., Tan, J.K., Peeler, D.J., Maris, D.O., Sellers, D.L., Horner, P.J. and Pun, S.H. (2016) Nano-sized sunflower polycations as effective gene transfer vehicles. Small, v12(20):2750-2758.
  8. Elias, P.Z., Liu, G.W., Wei, H., Jensen, M.C., Horner, P.J., and Pun, S.H. (2015) A functionalized, injectable hydrogel for localized drug delivery with tunable thermosensitivity: synthesis and characterization of physical and toxicological properties. J Controlled Rel, v208:76-84.
  9. Shi, J., Chou, B., Choi, J.L., Johnson, R.N., Schellinger, J.G., and Pun, S.H. (2013) Effect of polyplex morphology on cellular uptake, intracellular trafficking and transgene expression. ACS Nano, v7:10612-10620.
  10. Cieslewicz, M.E., Tang, J.J., Yu, J., Cao, H., Zavaljevski, M., Lieber, A., Raines, E.W., and Pun, S.H. (2013) Targeted delivery of pro-apoptotic peptides to tumor-associated macrophages improves survival. PNAS, v110:15919-15924.

Honors & awards

  • 2018 UW Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor
  • 2017 UW College of Engineering Faculty Award for Research
  • 2015 AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador
  • 2014 Controlled Release Society Young Investigator Award
  • 2014 Inaugural Biomaterials Science Lectureship
  • 2008 Undergraduate Mentor Award, University of Washington
  • 2008 Junior Faculty Innovator Award, UW College of Engineering
  • 2007 Outstanding Teacher/Mentor Award, UW Bioengineering
  • 2006 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)
  • 2005 National Science Foundation CAREER Award
  • 2005 Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy Young Investigator Award
  • 2002 MIT Technology Review’s TR100 Award: “top 100 young innovators”
  • 2000 Everhart Lectureship Prize, California Institute of Technology
  • 2015 Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)
  • 2018 Washington State Academy of Sciences
  • 2015 National Academy of Inventors