Wei Gao completed her PhD in pharmaceutical science at Peking University, China. She did postdoctoral training at University of Michigan. Dr. Gao’s research interest is developing nanomedicine and nanovaccine for the treatment of cancer and infectious disease.

In the past few decades, anticancer nanomedicines were designed by using the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect in tumors and long systemic circulation. However, a poor clinical translation of those nanomedicines’ efficacy from preclinical xenograft models to patients with cancer has been debated. To enhance the clinical translation of nanomedicine, Dr. Gao is developing nanomedicine following a drug specific, nanocarrier specific, disease specific design strategy. In her latest research, albumin nanoformulation was used to delivery immunomodulators PI3Kγ inhibitor (IPI-549) and paclitaxel (PTX) to the immune suppressive macrophages in lymph nodes and tumors. In combination with α-PD1, the nanoformulation modulates the immune microenvironment in both lymph nodes and tumors to achieve long-term remission in mice with metastatic breast cancer and represents a promising candidate for future clinical trials (

Therapeutic T cell cancer vaccines have only achieved short-term efficacy in preclinical animal cancer models and in clinical cancer patients. Most recent studies suggest the lack of long-term efficacy of immunotherapy, by either anti-PD-1 immunotherapy or T cell anticancer vaccines, may be due to its inability to stimulate concerted cellular CD4+ T and humoral B cell immunities inside tertiary lymphoid structure (TLS) in tumors. Dr. Gao’ research is focus on developing nanovaccine to effectively activate concerted cellular CD4+ T cell and humoral B cell immunity inducing long-term tumor remission.



  • 2022 2022 outstanding guest associate editor, Frontier in Pharmacology

Selected Publications

  • Yudong Song, Luke Bugada, Ruiting Li, Hongxiang Hu, Luchen Zhang, Chengyi Li, Hebao Yuan, Fei Wen, Wei Gao*, and Duxin Sun*. Albumin nanoparticle of PI3Kγ inhibitor and paclitaxel combined with α-PD1 induces tumor remission in mouse metastatic breast. Science Translational Medicine, 2022, 643, eabl3649

  • Wei Gao*, Hongxiang Hu, Lipeng Dai, Miao He, Hebao Yuan, Huixia Zhang, Jinhui Liao, Bo Wen, Yan Li, Maria Palmisano, Mohamed Dit Mady Traore, Simon Zhou, Duxin Sun*. Structure-Tissue Exposure/Selectivity Relationship (STR) Correlates with Clinical Efficacy/Safety. Acta Pharmaceutic Sinica B, 2021,12 (5), 2462-2478.

  • Xin Luan, Hebao Yuan, Yudong Song, Hongxiang Hu, Bo Wen, Miao He, Huixia,Zhang, Yan Li, Feng Li, Pan Shu, Joseph P. Burnett, Nathan Truchan, Maria Palmisano, Manjunath P. Pai, Simon Zhou*, Wei Gao*, Duxin Sun*. Reappraisal of anticancer nanomedicine design criteria in three types of preclinical cancer models for better clinical translation. Biomaterials, 2021, Jun, 120910.

  • Guihua Ye, Yajun Jiang, Xiaoying Yang, Hongxiang Hu, Beibei Wang, Lu Sun, Victor C. Yang, Duxin Sun, and Wei Gao*. Smart Nanoparticles Undergo Phase Transition for Enhanced Cellular Uptake and Subsequent Intracellular Drug Release in a Tumor Microenvironment, ACS Applied Materials& Interfaces. 10 (1): 278–289, 2018.

  • Wei Gao, Xiucong Yang, Zhiqiang Lin, Bing He, Dong Mei, Dan Wang, Haoran Zhang, Hua Zhang, Wenbing Dai, Xueqing Wang, Qiang Zhang*. The use of electronic-neutral penetrating peptides cyclosporin A to deliver pro-apoptotic peptide: a possibly better choice than positively charged TAT, Journal of Controlled Release, 261:174-186,2017.