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Michael R. King

J. Lawrence Wilson Professor of Engineering
Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences


The King Lab works at the interface between Cellular Engineering, Drug Delivery, and Nanotechnology. We employ tools and concepts from engineering to understand biomedically important processes that occur in the bloodstream, including cancer metastasis, inflammation, and thrombosis. We have found that tumor cells in the circulation can mimic the physical mechanisms used by white blood cells to traffic through the body and adhere to the blood vessel wall, and we have explored strategies to interrupt this metastasis process by targeting specific adhesion receptors. Microscale flow devices have been developed in our lab that recreate the complex microenvironment of the circulation where inflammation and cancer metastasis occur. We have invented new biomaterial surfaces based on natural halloysite nanotubes, that capture rare circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from blood while simultaneously repelling white blood cells. This nanotube-based flow system has gained attention since it can be easily adopted by clinical and biology labs and recreates the natural rolling process that CTCs follow in the body. The selectin adhesion receptors important in leukocyte, stem cell, and CTC trafficking have unique biophysics that make them ideal for targeted drug delivery. The King Lab has pioneered the use of selectin proteins to deliver apoptosis death signals to tumor cells in flowing blood, and to deliver therapeutic cargo (e.g., siRNA, chemotherapeutics) encapsulated in nanoscale liposomes.


Editor-in-Chief, Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, 2013 - Present
Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), 2015
Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), 2014
Outstanding Speaker Award, American Association of Clinical Chemistry, 2013
Fiona Ip Li ‘78 and Donald Li ’75 Award for Teaching Excellence, Cornell University, 2011
Professor of the Year in Engineering, University of Rochester, 2008
National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2004
James D. Watson Investigator Award, New York State Office for Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR), 2004
Whitaker Investigator, The Whitaker Foundation, 2003

Selected Publications:

Nanomaterials for the Capture and Therapeutic Targeting of Circulating Tumor Cells. Zhang, Z; King, MR, CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR BIOENGINEERING, 10, 275-294 , (2017) View Abstract

Targeted drug delivery to circulating tumor cells via platelet membrane-functionalized particles. Li, J; Ai, Y; Wang, L; Bu, P; Sharkey, CC; Wu, Q; Wun, B; Roy, S; Shen, X; King, MR, BIOMATERIALS, 76, 52-65 , (2016) View Abstract

Two-stage nanoparticle delivery of piperlongumine and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) anti-cancer therapy. Sharkey, CC; Li, J; Roy, S; Wu, Q; King, MR, TECHNOLOGY, 4, 60-69 , (2016) View Abstract

Halloysite nanotube coatings suppress leukocyte spreading. Hughes, AD; Marsh, G; Waugh, RE; Foster, DG; King, MR, LANGMUIR, 31, 13553-60 , (2015) View Abstract

TRAIL-coated leukocytes that kill cancer cells in the circulation. Mitchell, MJ; Wayne, E; Rana, K; Schaffer, CB; King, MR, PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 111, 930-935 , (2014) View Abstract