About KiBum Lee

KiBum Lee, Ph.D.

KiBum Lee is a professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University, where he has been a faculty since 2008. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northwestern University (with Chad. A. Mirkin; 2004) and completed his postdoctoral training at The Scripps Research Institute (with Peter G. Schultz; 2007). The primary research interest of Dr. Lee’s group is to develop and integrate nanotechnologies and chemical functional genomics to modulate signaling pathways in stem cells towards specific cell lineages or behaviors. In particular, his group is exploring critical problems in cancer research and stem cell biology pertaining to the cell-microenvironmental interactions, and how to control these interactions at the subcellular and single cell level using chemical biology and nanotechnology. From this research effort, he has developed innovative technology platforms that may overcome the critical barriers to harnessing the full therapeutic potential of stem cells.

One of the challenges to harnessing the full therapeutic potential of stem cells is the development of an easy, effective, and non-toxic methodology to control differentiation into specific cell lineages. In this regard, Dr. Lee’s group has recently focused on developing a variety of technologies to selectively control the differentiation of stem cells [e.g. Human Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs; hESCs and hiPSCs), Neural Stem Cells (NSCs), and Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs)] towards specific cell lineages (e.g. neurons, oligodendrocytes, chondrocytes, muscles, osteocytes, and adipocytes) (Chemical Reviews, 2015; Nature Chemical Biology, 2015; Accounts of Chemical Research, 2016). One approach involved the synthesis and application of a multifunctional vehicle comprised of cyclodextrin-modified dendritic polyamine construct (termed DexAM) to facilitate the simultaneous delivery of siRNA molecules and small molecules (J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2013). Multi-modal magnetic core-shell nanoparticles have also been used to effective deliver genetic material into NSCs using a magnetic-filed-facilitated delivery method and to monitor the delivery through dark-field imaging (Angewandte. Chem. Int. Ed., 2013). Substrates containing arrays of graphene-nanoparticle hybrids were also generated and seen to be a remarkable platform for NSC differentiation in neurons and the subsequent alignment of axons (Advanced Materials, 2013). With the goal of achieving an enhanced stem cell-based therapy for CNS-related injuries and diseases, his group is currently designing nanomaterial-based 3D scaffolds to enhance cellular viability and to modulate NSC differentiation spatiotemporally (Advanced Materials, 2014). Having the motivation to develop a highly robust, efficient nanoparticle-based platform to regulate gene expression and eventually stem cell reprogramming, his group has developed the NanoScript is the first nanomaterial TF protein that can interact with endogenous DNA as well as control stem cell differentiation to general useful cell lineages such as cartilage, bone, muscle cells, and neuronal cells (ACS Nano, 2014; J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2015; ACS Nano, 2015; Angewandte Chemie, 2015).

In recognition of his outstanding scientific achievement at Rutgers, Dr. Lee has received several awards including NIH Director’s New Innovator Awards (2009), American Chemical Society New Directions (ND) Award (2015), The University City Science Center’s QED Award (2016), Board of Trustees Research Award for Scholarly Excellence (2013), Burroughs Wellcome Fund Collaborative Research Grant Award (2014), Busch Biomedical Grant Award (2013), New Jersey Spinal Cord Exploratory Research Award (2013), Johnson and Johnson Proof-of-Concept Award (2011), Faculty Research Grant Award (2012), New Jersey Spinal Cord Research Award (2009), and Grant Proposal Development Award (2008). He is the first author, co-author, and corresponding author of approximately 67 articles published in high-profile journals including Science, Cell Stem Cell, Nature Chemical Biology, J. Am. Chem. Soc., Angew. Chem, Int. Ed., Nano Letters, ACS Nano, Advanced Materials, Accounts of Chemical Research, Chemical Reviews, Biomaterials, Scientific Reports, Lab Chip, Small, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., Nanomedicine, and Cancer Research, which are highly cited (>5000). [Total 68 publications, >5000 citations, h-index: 27; 22 Patents/applications]

Contact Info

  • Office: Chemistry Bldg. Room 315
  • Email: kblee (at) rutgers.edu
  • Phone: 848-445-2081

Academic Position

  • Professor, Dept. of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rutgers University


  • Biomedical Engineering Dept. Graduate Program
  • Graduate Program in Molecular Biosciences
  • NSF IGERT on Integrated Science and Engineering of Stem Cells / Nanotechnology for Clean Energy
  • Institute for Advanced Materials, Devices and Nanotechnology / Laboratory for Surface Modification
  • The Rutgers Stem Cell Research Center
  • Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey


  • Fall 2008 Special Topics Inorganic Chemistry: “Nanochemistry” [16:160:579]
  • Fall 2008 Guest lectureship in “Tissue Engineering: Fundamentals and Tools” [14:125:433]
  • Spring 2008 Guest lectureship in “Biointerfaces” (Course Instructor: Dr. Kathryn Uhrich)
  • Spring 2009 Invited guest lectureship in “Stem Cell Biology and Engineering” [16:125:586]
  • Spring 2009 Invited guest lectureship in “Nanotechnology for Cancer” (Course Coordinator: Dr. Charlie Roth)
  • Fall 2009 Special Topics Inorganic Chemistry: “Nanomaterials Synthesis” [16:160:579]
  • Fall 2009 Chemistry Research Colloquium Seminar [16:160:611]
  • Spring 2010 Invited guest lectureship in “Biological Applications of Nanomaterials and Nanostructures” [14:635:410]
  • Fall 2010 Special Topics Inorganic Chemistry: “Nanomaterials and their Applications” [16:160:579]
  • Fall 2010 Chemistry Research Colloquium Seminar [16:160:611]
  • Fall 2010 Invited guest lectureship in “IGERT NanoEnergy, Introduction to Nanoscience” (Course Coordinator: Dr. Leonard C. Feldman)
  • Fall 2010 Invited guest lectureship in “SAS honors class on Science at the Nanoscale” (Course Coordinator: Dr. Frederic Cosandey)
  • Spring 2011 Chemistry Research Colloquium Seminar [16:160:612]
  • Fall 2011 General Chemistry for non-chemistry major undergraduates: “Impact of Chemistry” [16:160:579]
  • Spring 2012 Invited guest lectureship in “Advanced Biotechnology” (Course Coordinator: Dr. Martin Yarmush)
  • Spring 2012 Chemistry Research Colloquium Seminar [16:160:612]
  • Fall 2012 Special Topics Inorganic Chemistry: “Nanochemistry” [16:160:579]
  • Spring 2013 Chemistry Research Colloquium Seminar [16:160:612]
  • Fall 2013 Special Topics Inorganic Chemistry: “Concepts in Nanochemistry” [16:160:579]