Professor Wei GAO


Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering
Scholar of Ronald JoAnne Willens
Investigator of Heritage Medical Research Institute
California Institute of Technology
Wei Gao is an Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering, Ronald and JoAnne Willens Scholar, and Heritage Medical Research Institute Investigator at the California Institute of Technology. He earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego in 2014, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley from 2014 to 2017. He is serving as an Associate Editor for Science Advances, npj Flexible Electronics, Biosensors and Bioelectronics, and Sensors & Diagnostics. His achievements have garnered a number of awards and honors, such as NSF Career Award, ONR Young Investigator Award, IAMBE Early Career Award, Sloan Research Fellowship, Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award, IEEE EMBS Early Career Achievement Award, IEEE Sensor Council Technical Achievement Award, 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35, ACS DIC Young Investigator Award, and Materials Today Rising Star Award. He is also recognized as a World Economic Forum Young Scientist, a Highly Cited Researcher (Web of Science), and is a member of the Global Young Academy. His research interests encompass a wide range of areas including wearable sensors, bioelectronics, flexible electronics, and micro/nanorobotics. For more information about Gao’s research, visit

Imaging Guided Medical Micro/Nanorobots for In Vivo Biomedical Applications

The 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage captured the world’s imagination, portraying a tiny submarine navigating through the human bloodstream and treating life-threatening medical conditions. Various biomedical applications would benefit from the development of efficient nano/microscale machines. I will discuss the advances of various synthetic micro/nanorobots that can be propelled via localized chemical reactions and external stimuli such as magnetic or ultrasound field toward biosensing, bioimaging, bioisolation, and targeted drug delivery applications. I will introduce the metal-organic framework nanorobots that are powered by bioavailable hydrogen peroxide overexpressed inside tumor cells for active mitochondria-targeted cancer therapy. I will also cover our works on imaging–guided micromotors for deep-tissue navigation and targeted delivery in vivo. These micro/nanorobots open the door to a number of in vivo and clinical applications of synthetic motors.