Research Supervisor Connect

Microscale Technology and 3D Printing for Therapeutic Delivery and Tissue Engineering


Dr. Kang is working in the area of drug delivery / testing and tissue engineering by using micro- and nano- scale technologies.
For drug delivery, several drug-device combination products have been developed. By using moulding technique, his lab developed a drug-laden elastomer for surgical treatment of anal fistula, where drug laden elastomers serve the dual function of muscle cutting and drug release. By using photolithography, they fabricated microneedle patches to deliver therapeutics through skin by creating micro-scale passages through skin. 
For drug testing, he has been building miniaturized lab-on-a-chip in vitro testing platforms. One of his testing devices for drug permeation through skin, has already been licensed to a start-up company. In addition, he also works on a 3D printed lung models to test drug deposition into different regions of human lungs for personalized drug delivery.
For tissue engineering, he fabricated hydrogel microwell arrays for 3D cardiac tissue cultures and demonstrated adult cardiac progenitor cell aggregates exhibit survival benefit both in vitro and in vivo. With a similar design, they mimicked the architecture of human hair follicles and created a hydrogel microstructure to enhance the communication between the mesenchymal and epithelial cells, aimed at human hair follicle regeneration in vitro.


Dr Lifeng Kang.

Research location

Sydney Pharmacy School

Program type



Currently, his lab is focused on the following 4 topics. First, 3-Dimensional printing-enabled drug delivery and testing systems. 
First, Three-dimensional printing, or additive manufacturing, emerges as a rapid prototyping technology and has gained its popularity recently due to its simple concept and many applications. In pharmaceutical applications, it can be used for individualized drug delivery systems. Currently he lab is developing a wearable microneedle drug delivery device for protein drugs. Another project is focused on a biomimetic lung model to test particle deposition into the different regions of airway, which can be used for inhalation product testing.
Second, In vitro 3D human blood brain barrier (BBB) testing platforms.
The aim is to build A 3D human BBB model using microwell arrays to study the central toxic attenuation by compatibility of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In vitro 3D human BBB model will be developed, and the effect of culture conditions on BBB tight junction and the regulation of drug transporters will be investigated. Furthermore, the combination of herbal compounds will be investigated to screen the compounds which could affect the brain uptake of the target compounds. Finally, the BBB transporter-mediated drug-drug interactions will be investigated.
Third, In vitro human hair follicular engineering.
The aim is to reconstitute hair follicular units with natural appearance and functions by tissue engineering method in vitro. The project starts with the fabrication of a 3D biomimetic hydrogel microstructure for culturing dermal papilla cells and maintaining their hair inductivity. Then epithelial cells and mesenchymal cells will be immobilized inside the hydrogel microstructures at designated locations, in a manner that recapitulates the in vivo organization in human hair. The focus is to test the regenerative potential of these hair units in cultured skin grafts.
Fourth, differentiation of adult cardiac progenitor microtissues.
In the previous study, a system has been established to culture cardiac progenitor cells by using 3D microgels. It shows that the cell aggregates exhibit better survival benefit both in vitro and in vivo. These cardiac microtissues provide a new therapy to treat heart diseases potentially. This project is to follow up on the previous research findings to include high level biological manipulations of the microtissues to better mimicking native features in human. The focus is to study the development of the cells after they are injected into cardiac tissues. 
Many of his research projects have a strong focus on industrial applications. He has the following collaborative projects with companies from Australia, Singapore, India, China and USA.
• Nova Pharma., Australia, topical formulations
• P&G, Singapore, skincare product characterization
• Rusan Pharma., India, topical analgesic product development
• GRF Biotechnology, China, testing of anti-wrinkle delivery system
• Willowcroft Health International, USA, microneedle patches for transdermal drug delivery

Additional information

Industrial postgraduate scholarships may be available for Australian citizen or permanent resident. Please email Dr. Kang ( for more information

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2617