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TONG Yen Wah

Associate Professor

- PhD (Chem. Eng.) Toronto, 2000
- BSc ( Eng. Chem.) Queen's 1995

- Blk E5, 4 Engineering Drive 4, #03-15, Singapore 117576
- Tel: (65) 6516 8467 Fax: (65) 6779 1936
- Email:


My undergraduate training in Engineering Chemistry at Queens University has given me detailed insight into the basics of polymer chemistry while my PhD at the University of Toronto has driven my interest towards biomedical and tissue engineering. Since joining NUS in 2001, I have combined these interests by setting up my research programme in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) to focus research on synthesizing, modifying, and using polymers for applications mainly in the biomolecular and biomedical areas. Additionally, with our biological expertise gained since then, I have started research in the bioenergy and bioseparations field.

I believe that polymers are the foundation for multi-disciplinary research that characterizes the biomedical field thus polymers are used as a tool for my intended end goals. Our unique techniques are in the making of polymers into spherical nano- or microparticles, together with our strategies of synthesizing biomimetic polymers in combination with polymer modification. More concisely, it is my hypothesis that polymers can and should be designed with suitable properties based on knowledge of the biological requirements of the eventual application. Many of our works have been accepted for publication (see below), showing that our hypothesis has received international recognition.

In addition to research, I have taught many different subjects at NUS, from undergraduate core modules to graduate level classes with class sizes ranging from 10 to 300. Most of these relate to my research interests, including BN4301 Tissue Engineering and BN5203 Advanced Tissue Engineering, CN4202 Polymer Science and CN4203 Polymer Engineering, but also includes core Chemical Engineering subjects like CN2125 Heat and Mass Transfer, BN3501 Biothermodynamics and Transport Processes. I have received the NUS Annual Teaching Excellence Award from 2005 to 2009, and also the Faculty of Engineering Engineering Educator Award in 2005.

Peer-reviewed Publications

  1. L. Wang, K.-C. Loh, and Y.W. Tong+, “Immobilization of growing Sphigomonas sp. HNX200 to gelatin microspheres: efficient biotransformation of N-Cbz pyrrolidine and N-Boc pyrrolidine into hydroxyl pyrrolidine derivatives”, Biores. Tech., 2013 (submitted).
  2. W. Xie, F. He, B. Wang, T.-S. Chung, K.Jeyaseelan, A. Armugam, and Y.W. Tong+, “Imprinting of vesicles incorporated with aquaporins onto polymeric membranes for low energy water purification”, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2013 (submitted).
  3. S. Venkataraman, Z.A. Chowdhury, A.L. Lee, Y.W. Tong, I. Akiba, and Y.Y. Yang+, “Access to different nanostructures via self-assembly of thiourea-containing PEGylated amphiphiles”, Macromol. Rapid Commun., 2013 (accepted). (I.F. 4.596)
  4. S.C.L. Ho, Y.W. Tong, and Y. Yang+, “Generation of monoclonal antibody-producing mammalian cell lines”, Pharm. Bioproc., 2013 (accepted).
  5. S. Sundar, Y. Chen, and Y.W. Tong+, “Delivery of therapeutics and molecules using self-assembled peptides”, Curr. Med. Chem., 2013 (accepted). (I.F. 4.859)
  6. N. Sankarakumar and Y.W. Tong+, “Preventing viral infections with polymeric virus catchers: A novel nanotechnological approach to anti-viral therapy”, J. Mater. Chem. B, 1 (15), 2031-2037 (2013). (I.F. 5.968) (Front cover article)
  7. H. Wang, T.S. Chung+, Y.W. Tong, K. Jeyaseelan, A. Armugam, H.H.P. Duong, F. Fu, H.Seah, J. Yang, and M. Hong, “Mechanically robust and highly permeable Aquaporin Z biomimetic membranes”, J. Membr. Sci., 434, 130-136 (2013). (I.F. 3.850)
  8. N. Sankarakumar and Y.W. Tong+, “Probing protein adsorption behavior in batch and competitive conditions using nanoparticle surface imprinting”, RSC Adv., 3 (5), 1519-1527 (2013).
  9. H.Y.G. Lim and Y.W. Tong+, “Effect of collagen gel structure on fibroblast phenotype”, J. Emerging Investigators, 1-9, Nov 28 (2012).
  10. H. Wang, T.S. Chung+, Y.W. Tong, K. Jeyaseelan, A. Armugam, Z. Chen, M. Hong, and W. Meier, “Highly permeable and selective pore-spanning biomimetic membranes embedded with Aquaporin Z”, Small, 8 (8), 1185-1190 (2012). (I.F. 8.349)
  11. W.F. Yong, F.Y. Li, Y.C. Xiao, P.Li, K.P. Pramoda, Y.W. Tong, and T.S. Chung+, “Molecular engineering of PIM-1/matrimid blend membranes for gas separation”, J. Membr. Sci., 407-408, 47-57 (2012). (I.F. 3.850)
  12. S.C.L. Ho, M. Bardor, H. Feng, Mariati, Y.W. Tong, Z. Song, M.G.S. Yap, and Y. Yang+, “IRES-mediated tricistronic vectors for enhancing generation of high monoclonal antibody expressing CHO cell lines”, J. Biotech., 157 (1), 130-139 (2012). (I.F. 3.045)
  13. W. Chen. and Y.W. Tong+, “PHBV microspheres as neural tissue engineering scaffold support neuronal cell growth and axon-dendrite polarization”, Acta Biomater., 8 (2), 540-548 (2012). (I.F. 4.865)
  14. W. Chen. and Y.W. Tong+, “Mechanisms and promotion of 3D neurite bridging between PHBV microspheres in a microsphere-hydrogel hybrid scaffold”, Soft Matter, 7 (24), 11372-11379 (2011). (I.F. 4.390)
  15. Y. Liang, J. Jeong, R.J. DeVolder, C. Cha, F. Wang, Y.W. Tong, and H. Kong+, “A cell-instructive hydrogel to regulate malignancy of 3D tumor spheroids with matrix rigidity”, Biomaterials, 32 (35), 9308-9315 (2011). (I.F. 7.404)
  16. J. Luo and Y.W. Tong+, “Self-assembly of collagen-mimetic peptide amphiphiles into biofunctional nanofibers”, ACS Nano, 5 (10), 7739-7747 (2011). (I.F. 11.421)
  17. H. Wang, T.-S. Chung+, Y.W. Tong, W. Meier, Z. Chen, M. Hong, J. Kandiah, and A. Armugam, “Preparation and characterization of pore-suspending biomimetic membranes embedded with Aquaporin Z on carobyxlated polyethylene glycol polymer cushion”, Soft Matter, 7 (16), 7274 - 7280 (2011). (I.F. 4.390)
  18. Y. Liang, T.W. Jensen, E.J. Roy, C. Cha, R.J. DeVolder, R.E. Kohman, B.Z. Zhang, K.B. Textor, L.A. Rund, L.B. Schook, Y.W. Tong, and H. Kong+, “Tuning the non-equilibrium state of a drug-encapsulated super stiff poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogel for stem and progenitor cell mobilization”, Biomaterials, 32 (7), 2004-2012 (2011). (I.F. 7.404)
  19. N. Wiradhama, Y.W. Tong+, and Y.Y. Yang+, “Design and evaluation of peptide amphiphiles with different hydrophobic blocks for simultaneous delivery of drugs and genes”, Macromol. Rapid Comm., 31 (13), 1212-1217 (2010). (I.F. 4.596)
  20. Q.N. Xu, Y. Liang, Y.W. Tong, and C.-H. Wang+, “Design project on controlled release drug delivery devices: Implementation, management and learning experiences”, Chem. Eng. Edu., 44 (4), 275 (2010).
  21. W. Chen, Y. Tabata, and Y.W. Tong+, “Fabricating tissue engineering scaffolds for simultaneous cell growth and drug delivery”, Curr. Pharm. Des., 16 (21), 2388-2394 (2010). (I.F. 3.870)
  22. S.T. Khew, P.P. Panengad, M. Raghunath+, and Y.W. Tong+, “Characterization Of Amine Donor And Acceptor Sites For Tissue Type Transglutaminase Using A Sequence From The C-Terminus Of Human Fibrillin-1 And The N-Terminus Of Osteonectin”, Biomaterials, 31 (16), 4600-4608 (2010). (I.F. 7.404)
  23. H. Nie, S.T. Khew, L.Y. Lee, K.L. Poh, Y.W. Tong, and C.-H. Wang+, “Functionalized PLGA foams for controlled gene delivery: Influence of surface modification on matrix-DNA interaction”, J. Contr. Rel., 138 (1), 64-70 (2009). (I.F. 6.499)
  24. N. Wiradhama, Y.W. Tong, and Y.Y. Yang+, “Self-assembled oligopeptide nanostructures for co-delivery of drug and gene with synergistic therapeutic effect”, Biomaterials, 30 (17), 3100-3109 (2009). (I.F. 7.404)
  25. X.H. Zhu, C.H. Wang and Y.W. Tong+, “In vitro characterization of hepatocyte growth factor release from PHBV/PLGA microsphere scaffold”, J. Biomed. Mater. Res. A, 89A (2), 411-423 (2009). (I.F. 2.625)
  26. C.J. Tan, S. Wangrangsimakul, N. Sankarakumar, and Y.W. Tong+, “Response to comment on “Preparation of superparamagnetic ribonuclease A surface-imprinted submicrometer particles for protein recognition in aqueous media”, Anal. Chem., 80 (23), 9375-9376 (2008). (I.F. 5.874)
  27. X.H. Zhu, Y. Tabata, C.H. Wang, and Y.W. Tong+, “Delivery of basic fibroblast growth factor from gelatin microsphere scaffold for the growth of human umbilical vein endothelial cells”, Tissue Eng. A, 14 (12), 1939-1947 (2008). (I.F. 4. 022)
  28. X.H. Zhu, L.Y. Lee, J.S.J. Hong, Y.W. Tong, and C.H. Wang+, “Characterization of porous poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) sponges fabricated by supercritical CO2 gas-foaming method as a scaffold for three-dimensional growth of Hep3B cells”, Biotechnol. Bioeng., 100 (5), 998-1009 (2008). (I.F. 3.946)
  29. S.T. Khew, Q.J. Yang, Y.W. Tong+, “Enzymatically crosslinked collagen-mimetic dendrimers that promote integrin-targeted cell adhesion”, Biomaterials, 29 (20), 3034-3045 (2008). (I.F. 7.404)
  30. N. Wiradharma, M. Khan, Y.W. Tong, S. Wang, and Y.Y. Yang+, “Self-assembled cationic peptide nanoparticles capable of inducing efficient gene expression in vitro”, Adv. Func. Mater., 18 (6), 943-951 (2008). (I.F. 10.179) (Cover page)
  31. D.I. Zeugolis, S.T. Khew, E.S.Y. Yew, A.K. Ekaputra, Y.W. Tong, L.Y.L. Yung, D.W. Hutmacher, C. Sheppard and M. Raghunath+, “Electro-spinning of pure collagen nano-fibres – just an expensive way to make gelatin?”, Biomaterials, 29 (15), 2293-2305 (2008). (leading opinion paper) (I.F. 7.404)
  32. C.J. Tan, H.G. Chua, K.H. Ker and Y.W. Tong+, “Preparation of bovine serum albumin surface-imprinted submicron particles with magnetic susceptibility through core-shell miniemulsion polymerization”, Anal. Chem., 80 (3), 683-692 (2008). (I.F. 5.856)
  33. S.T. Khew and Y.W. Tong+, “Template-assembled triple-helical peptide molecules: Mimicry of collagen by molecular architecture and integrin-specific cell adhesion”, Biochemistry, 47 (2), 585-596 (2008). (I.F. 3.422)
  34. C.J. Tan, S. Wangrangsimakul, R. Bai and Y.W. Tong+, “Defining the interactions between proteins and surfactants for nanoparticle surface imprinting through miniemulsion polymerization”, Chem. Mater., 20 (1), 118-127 (2008). (I.F. 7.286)
  35. X.H. Zhu, Gan, S.K., C.H. Wang and Y.W. Tong+, “Proteins combination on PHBV microsphere scaffold to regulate Hep3B cells activity and functionality: a model of liver tissue engineering system”, J. Biomed. Mater. Res. A, 83A (3), 606-616 (2007). (I.F. 2.625)
  36. S.T. Khew and Y.W. Tong+, “The specific recognition of a cell binding sequence derived from Type I collagen by Hep3B and L929 cells”, Biomacromolecules, 8 (10), 3153-3161 (2007). (I.F. 5.479)
  37. S.T. Khew, X.H. Zhu and Y.W. Tong+, “An integrin-specific collagen-mimetic peptide approach for optimizing Hep3B liver cell adhesion, proliferation, and cellular functions”, Tissue Eng., 13 (10), 2451-2463 (2007). (I.F. 4. 022)
  38. S.T. Khew and Y.W. Tong+, “Characterization of triple-helical conformations and melting analyses of synthetic collagen-like peptides by reverse phase HPLC”, J. Chromatogr. B, 858 (1-2), 79-90 (2007). (I.F. 2.888)
  39. C.J. Tan and Y.W. Tong+, “Molecularly imprinted beads by surface imprinting”, Anal. Bioanal. Chem., 389 (2), 369-376 (2007). (I.F. 3.778)
  40. X.H. Zhu, C.H. Wang and Y.W. Tong+, “Growing tissue-like constructs with Hep3B/HepG2 liver cells on PHBV microspheres of different sizes”, J. Biomed. Mater. Res. B App. Biomater., 82B (1), 7-16, (2007). (I.F. 2.147)
  41. Y. Hu, J.W. Xie, Y.W. Tong, and C.H. Wang+, “Effect of PEG conformation and particle size on the cellular uptake efficiency of nanoparticles with the HepG2 cells”, J. Control. Rel., 118 (1), 7-17 (2007). (I.F. 6.499)
  42. C.J. Tan and Y.W. Tong+, “The effect of protein structural conformation on nanoparticle molecular imprinting of ribonuclease A using miniemulsion polymerization”, Langmuir, 23 (5), 2722-2730 (2007). (I.F. 4.186)
  43. S.Q. Liu, N. Wiradharma, S.J. Gao, Y.W. Tong, and Y.Y. Yang+, “Bio-functional micelles self-assembled from a folate-conjugated block copolymer for targeted intracellular delivery of anticancer drugs”, Biomaterials, 28 (7), 1423-1433 (2007). (I.F. 7.404)
  44. C.J. Tan and Y.W. Tong+, “Superparamagnetic surface imprinted sub-micrometer particles that can molecularly recognize ribonuclease A protein in aqueous media”, Anal. Chem., 79 (1), 299-306 (2007). (I.F. 5.856)
  45. X. Zhang, R.B. Bai+ and Y.W. Tong, “Selective adsorption behaviors of proteins on polypyrrole-based adsorbents”, Sep. Purif. Technol., 52 (1), 161-169 (2006). (I.F. 2.921)
  46. F.J. Xu, S.P. Zhong, L.Y.L. Yung, Y.W. Tong, E.T. Kang, and K.G. Neoh+, “Thermoresponsive comb-shaped copolymer-Si(100) hybrids for accelerated temperature-dependent cell detachment”, Biomaterials, 27 (8), 1236-1245 (2006). (I.F. 7.404)
  47. F.J. Xu, S.P. Zhong, L.Y.L. Yung, Y.W. Tong, E.T. Kang, and K.G. Neoh+, “Collagen-coupled poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate)-Si(111) hybrid surfaces for cell immobilization”, Tissue Eng., 11 (11-12), 1736-1748 (2005). (I.F. 4.022)
  48. H.K. Chng+, I. Islam, A.U.J. Yap, Y.W. Tong, and E.T. Koh, “Properties of a new root-end filling material”, J. Endodont., 31 (9), 665-668 (2005). (I.F. 2.880)
  49. S.Q. Liu, Y.W. Tong and Y.Y. Yang+, “Thermally sensitive micelles self-assembled from poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-N,N-dimethylacrylamide)-b-poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide) for controlled delivery of paclitaxel”, Mol. Biosyst., 1 (2), 158-165 (2005). (I.F. 3.534)
  50. S.Q. Liu, Y.W. Tong and Y.Y. Yang+, “Incorporation and in vitro release of doxorubicin in thermally sensitive micelles made from poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-N,N-dimethylacrylamide)-b-poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide) with varying compositions”, Biomaterials, 26 (24), 5064-5074 (2005). (I.F. 7.404)
  51. S.Q. Liu, Y.Y. Yang+, X.M. Liu and Y.W. Tong, “Preparation and characterization of temperature-sensitive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-b-poly(D,L-lactide) microspheres for protein delivery”, Biomacromolecules, 4 (6), 1784-1793 (2003). (I.F. 5.479)
  52. Y. W. Tong and M. S. Shoichet+, “Enhancing the neuronal interaction on fluoropolymer surfaces with mixed peptides or spacer group linkers”, Biomaterials, 22 (10), 1029-1034 (2001). (I.F. 7.404)
  53. Y. W. Tong and M. S. Shoichet+, “Defining the surface chemistry of ammonia-modified poly(tetrafluoroethylene-co-hexafluoropropylene) films”, Macromolecules, 32 (10), 3464-3468 (1999). (I.F. 5.167)
  54. Y. W. Tong and M. S. Shoichet+, “Peptide surface modification of poly(tetrafluoroethylene-co-hexafluoropropylene) enhances its interaction with central nervous system neurons”, J. Biomed. Mater. Res., 42 (1), 85-95 (1998). (I.F. 2.625)
  55. Y. W. Tong and M. S. Shoichet+, “Enhancing the interaction of central nervous system with poly(tetrafluoroethylene-co-hexafluoropropylene) via a novel surface amine-functionalization reaction followed by peptide modification”, J. Biomat. Sci. Polym. Ed., 9 (7), 713-729 (1998). (I.F. 1.691)
  56. Y. W. Tong, “Defining Fluoropolymer Surfaces for Enhanced Nerve Cell Interaction”, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada (2000).