Dr. Hongli Sun is an Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Engineering program at the University of South Dakota (USD). Prior to his joining at USD, he worked as a Research Fellow in the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences at the University of Michigan. Dr. Sun earned his Ph.D. degree in Cell Biology from Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China at 2007. Dr. Sun has authored several articles in peer-reviewed journals including Biomaterials, Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering, ACS Nano, Journal of Controlled Release and etc. In addition, he serves as a manuscript and grant reviewer in bone, stem cells and tissue engineering related areas. His research is currently funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR) and BioSystems Networks / Translational Research (BioSNTR).

Teaching Interests:

Celluar Engineering; Tissue Engineering; Stem Cell; Dental materials; Cell Biology

Research Interests:

Our long-term goal is to develop novel stem cells/biomaterials based- strategies for musculoskeletal related diseases. Current research interests: • Promote endogenous bone formation by developing bio-mimicking nanofibrous 3D scaffolds; • Promote challenged bone repair by targeting angiogenesis/inflammation via local drug delivery (small molecule drugs); • Study the role of adult stem cells and 3D microenvironment in bone metastasis.


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, 2014
  • Ph D, Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2007
  • MS, Cell Biology, Nanjing Normal University, 2004
  • BS, Biology, Changchun Normal University, 2001


  • Functionalized Nanofibrous Scaffold for Endogenous Bone Regeneration, NIH. Grant Role: Principal. (2018 - 2019)
  • MRI: Acquisition of a Micro-CT system for 3D tissue and materials structure analysis, NSF. Grant Role: Principal. (2017 - 2020)
  • Engineering a biomimetic nano-structured 3D bone niche for cancer bone metastasis study, BioSNTR/SD EPSCoR/NSF. Grant Role: Principal. (2016 - 2017)
  • The use of human growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 to increase cellular proliferation in fibroblasts and osteocytes to accelerate injury recovery, S.T. Li Foundation. Grant Role: Principal. (2015 - 2018)
  • Competitive Research Grant Program Award, South Dakota Board of Regents. Grant Role: Principal. (2015 - 2017)


Citations listed below are presented in a standardized, modified format for display purposes only. They do not necessarily reflect the preferred style and conventions of the faculty member or discipline.

  • Yao, Qingqing, Liu, Yangxi, Selvaratnam, Balaranjan, Koodali, Ranjit T., and Sun, Hongli. Mesoporous Silicate Nanoparticles/3D Nanofibrous Scaffold-mediated Dual-drug Delivery for Bone Tissue Engineering. Journal of Controlled Release, 2018. (DOI: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2018.04.011)
  • Liu, Yangxi, Yao, Qingqing, and Sun, Hongli. Prostaglandin E2 Modulates Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 Induced Osteogenic Differentiation on a Biomimetic 3D Nanofibrous Scaffold. Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology, 2018. (DOI: 10.1166/jbn.2018.2490)
  • Jordahl, Jacob, Solorio, Luis, Sun, Hongli, Ramcharan, Stacy, Teeple, Clark, Haley, Henry, Lee, Kyung Jin, Eyster, Thomas, Luker, Gary, Krebsbach, Paul, and Lahann, Joerg. 3D Jet Writing: Functional Microtissues Based on Tessellated Scaffold Architectures. Advanced Materials, 2018. (DOI: 10.1002/adma.201707196)
  • Miszuk, Jacob M., Xu, Tao, Yao, Qingqing, Fang, Fang, Childs, Josh D., Hong, Zhongkui, Tao, Jianning, Fong, Hao, and Sun, Hongli. Functionalization of PCL-3D Electrospun Nanofibrous Scaffolds for Improved BMP2-Induced Bone Formation. Applied Materials Today, 2017. (DOI: 10.1016/j.apmt.2017.12.004)
  • Yao, Qingqing, Sandhurst, Eric, Liu, Yangxi, and Sun, Hongli. BBP-Functionalized Biomimetic Nanofibrous Scaffold Can Capture BMP2 and Promote Osteogenic Differentiation, 5196-5205 . Vol. 5. Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 2017. (DOI: 10.1039/C7TB00744B)
  • Lamichhane, Sujan, Anderson, Jordan, Vierhout, Thomas, Remund, Tyler, Sun, Hongli, and Kelly, Patrick. Polytetrafluoroethylene Topographies Determine the Adhesion, Activation, and Foreign Body Giant Cell Formation of Macrophages.. Sioux Falls: Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 2017. (DOI: 10.1002/jbm.a.36099)
  • Yao, Qingqing, Cosme, Jaqueline, Xu, Tao, Miszuk, Jacob, Picciani, Paulo, Fong, Hao, and Sun, Hongli. Three dimensional electrospun PCL/PLA blend nanofibrous scaffolds with significantly improved stem cells osteogenic differentiation and cranial bone formation, 115-127. Vol. 115. Biomaterials, 2016. (DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2016.11.018)
  • Yao, Qingqing, Liu, Yangxi, Tao, Jianning, Baumgarten, Keith, and Sun, Hongli. Hypoxia-mimicking nanofibrous scaffolds promote endogenous bone regeneration. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2016. (DOI: 10.1021/acsami.6b10538)
  • Lamichhane, S, Anderson, J A., Remund, T, Sun, Hongli, Larson, M K., Kelly, P, and Mani, Gopinath. Responses of Endothelial Cells, Smooth Muscle Cells, and Platelets Dependent on the Surface Topography of Polytetrafluoroethylene.. Journal of biomedical materials research. Part A, 2016. (DOI: 10.1002/jbm.a.35763)
  • Xu, Tao, Miszuk, Jake, Zhao, Yong, Sun, Hongli, and Fong, Hao. Electrospun Polycaprolactone 3D Nanofibrous Scaffold with Interconnected and Hierarchically Structured Pores for Bone Tissue Engineering.. Adv Healthc Mater, 2015. (DOI: 10.1002/adhm.201500345)
  • Deshpande, S S., Gallagher, K K., Donneys, A, Nelson, N S., Guys, N P., Felice, P A., Page, E E., Sun, H, Krebsbach, P H., and Buchman, S R.. Stem cells rejuvenate radiation-impaired vasculogenesis in murine distraction osteogenesis, 799-806. Vol. 135, Iss. 3. Plast Reconstr Surg., 2015.
  • Peterson, J R., De La Rosa, S, Sun, H, Eboda, O, Cilwa, K E., Donneys, A, Morris, M, Buchman, S R., Cederna, P S., Krebsbach, P H., Wang, S C., and Levi, B. Burn injury enhances bone formation in heterotopic ossification model, 993-8. Vol. 259, Iss. 5. Ann Surg, 2014.
  • Havens, A M., Sun, H, Shiozawa, Y, Jung, Y, Wang, J, Mishra, A, Jiang, Y, O'Neill, D W., Krebsbach, P H., Rodgerson, D O., and Taichman, R S.. Human and murine very small embryonic-like cells represent multipotent tissue progenitors, in vitro and in vivo, 689-701. Vol. 23, Iss. 7. Stem Cells Dev. , 2014.
  • Sun, H, Zhu, F, Hu, Q, and H, P. Controlling stem cell-mediated bone regeneration through tailored mechanical properties of collagen scaffolds, 1176-84. Vol. 35, Iss. 4. Biomaterials, 2014.
  • Sun, H, Kim, J K., Mortensen, R, Mutyaba, L P., Hankenson, K D., and Krebsbach, P H.. Osteoblast-targeted suppression of PPAR? increases osteogenesis through activation of mTOR signaling, 2183-92. Vol. 31, Iss. 10. Stem Cells, 2013.
  • Deshpande, S S., Gallagher, K K., Donneys, A, Tchanque-Fossuo, C N., Sarhaddi, D, Sun, H, Krebsbach, P H., and Buchman, S R.. Stem cell therapy remediates reconstruction of the craniofacial skeleton after radiation therapy, 1625-32. Vol. 22, Iss. 11. Stem Cells Dev. , 2013.
  • Havens, A M., Shiozawa, Y, Jung, Y, Sun, H, Wang, J, McGee, S, Mishra, A, Taichman, L S., Danciu, T, Jiang, Y, Yavanian, G, Leary, E, Krebsbach, P H., Rodgerson, D, and Taichman, R S.. Human very small embryonic-like cells generate skeletal structures, in vivo., 622-30. Vol. 22, Iss. 4. Stem Cells Dev., 2013.
  • Jung, Y, Kim, J K., Shiozawa, Y, Wang, J, Mishra, A, Joseph, J, Berry, J E., McGee, S, Lee, E, Sun, H, Wang, J, Jin, T, Zhang, H, Dai, J, Krebsbach, P H., Keller, E T., Pienta, K J., and Taichman, R S.. Recruitment of mesenchymal stem cells into prostate tumours promotes metastasis, 1795. Vol. 4. Nat Commun., 2013. (DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2766)
  • Sun, H, Jung, Y, Shiozawa, Y, Taichman, R S., and Krebsbach, P H.. Erythropoietin modulates the structure of bone morphogenetic protein 2-engineered cranial bone., 2095-105. Vol. 18, Iss. 19-20. Tissue Eng Part A, 2012. (DOI: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2011.0742.)
  • Kim, J, Jung, Y, Sun, H, Joseph, J, Mishra, A, Shiozawa, Y, Wang, J, Krebsbach, P H., and Taichman, R S.. Erythropoietin mediated bone formation is regulated by mTOR signaling., 220-8. Vol. 113, Iss. 1. J Cell Biochem., 2012.
  • Feng, K, Sun, H, Bradley, M A., Dupler, E J., Giannobile, W V., and Ma, P X.. Novel antibacterial nanofibrous PLLA scaffolds., 363-9. Vol. 146, Iss. 3. J Control Release, 2010.
  • Zhang, J, Sun, H, and Ma, P X.. Host-guest interaction mediated polymeric assemblies: multifunctional nanoparticles for drug and gene delivery, 1049-59. Vol. 4, Iss. 2. ACS Nano, 2010.
  • Sun, H, Feng, K, Hu, J, Soker, S, Atala, A, and Ma, P X.. Osteogenic differentiation of human amniotic fluid-derived stem cells induced by bone morphogenetic protein-7 and enhanced by nanofibrous scaffolds, 1133-9. Vol. 31, Iss. 6. Biomaterials, 2010.
  • Huang, Y, Jin, X, Zhang, X, Sun, H, Tun, J, Tang, T, Chang, J, and Dai, K. In vitro and in vivo evaluation of akermanite bioceramics for bone regeneration., 5041-8. Vol. 30, Iss. 28. Biomaterials, 2009. (DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2009.05.077)
  • Sun, H, Dai, K, Tang, T, and Zhang, X. Regulation of osteoblast differentiation by slit2 in osteoblastic cells., 69-80. Vol. 190, Iss. 2. Cells Tissues Organs. , 2009. (DOI: 10.1159/000178020)
  • Rui, Y, Wang, Y, Zhang, X, Sun, H, Qu, Z, and Dai, K. Construction and identification of recombinant retroviral vector containing human interleukin 1 receptor antagonist and its expression in osteoarthritic human articular chondrocytes, 533-8. Vol. 22, Iss. 5. Zhongguo Xiu Fu Chong Jian Wai Ke Za Zhi, 2008.
  • Sun, H, Wu, C, Dai, K, Chang, J, and Tang, T. Proliferation and osteoblastic differentiation of human bone marrow-derived stromal cells on akermanite-bioactive ceramics., 5651-7. Vol. 27, Iss. 33. Biomaterials, 2006.

Awards and Honors:

  • 2018 AADR/CADR Oral Session Chair: Novel Strategies for Bone Tissue Engineering, American Association for Dental Research, 2018
  • Member of Junior Leadership Development Committee, International Chinese Musculoskeletal Research Society, 2017
  • 2017 IADR/AADR/CADR Oral Session Chair: Biological Effects/Implants/Osseointegration, American Association for Dental Research, 2017
  • President's Awards for Research Excellence: New & Mid-Career Faculty, USD, 2016
  • 2016 AADR/CADR Annual Meeting Poster Session Chair, American Association for Dental Research, 2016
  • Competitive Research Grant Program Award, South Dakota Board of Regents, 2015
  • Tissue Engineering and Regeneration grant (T32), NIH, 2013
  • Cover story selected by Journal of Cell Biochem, Journal of Cell Biochem, 2012
  • Top 50 highly cited articles in Biomaterials, Elsevier, 2011