S. Michael Yu

Professor of Biomedical Engineering & Adjunct Professor of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Utah


Ph.D., Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1998

B.S., M.S., Organic Chemistry, Korea University, Seoul, Korea, 1993


36 S. Wasatch Dr, Room 4501, SMBB Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Phone: 801.587.1264

Fax: 801.585.5361

Email: michael.yu@utah.edu


Prof. S. Michael Yu received his doctoral degree from the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering of University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he studied the liquid crystalline properties of recombinant proteins with Prof. David A. Tirrell. Subsequently, he conducted his post-doc training at the University of Wisconsin at Madison with Prof. Samuel H. Gellman, synthesizing novel surfactants, beta-peptides and poly(beta-amino acids). His diverse training in bio-organic chemistry, polymer science and protein/peptide engineering has allowed him to work closely at the interface between materials science and biology. He began his independent career at Johns Hopkins University as an assistant professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and was promoted to associate professor with secondary appointments in Departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Chemistry. He joined the Bioengineering Department of University of Utah in 2013, where his group has been conducting research that applies principles of protein folding and assembly to the development of various materials and biotechnologies, ranging from piezoelectric films and nanoparticle assembly to tissue engineering scaffolds and diagnostic molecules. He was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for the innovative work on collagen scaffolds. The strength of his work has not only been the ability to design new protein/peptide architecture that is of high scientific values, but also to identify and solve real-world “material” problems that have a potential to greatly impact multiple scientific and medical fields.

Awards and Distinctions


  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2008

  • Participants of Frontiers of Engineering Symposium (National Academy of Engineering), 2009

  • NSF Career Award (CAREER), 2007

  • NIH Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 1999 - 2001


  • NIH BMBI Study section, Standing Panel Member 2021-2025

  • Huntsman Cancer Institute Cancer Center, Member

  • Member of NIH Interagency Modeling and Analysis Group (IMAG) and the Multiscale Modeling (MSM) Consortium: “Integrated multiscale biomaterials experiment and modeling group (IMuBEaM)”

  • Invited Participants of NSF sponsored workshop to interface synthetic biology and biomaterials, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. (2020)

  • NIH Panel Review Members (ad hoc) for BMBI, GDD, MTE, IMST, F-fellowship

  • NSF Panel Review Members (ad hoc) for DMR, CMMI, NIRT, FIBR

Recent Grants and Contracts


  • NIH R01(NIAMS) "Targeting Collagen Mechanical Damage Using Collagen Hybridizing Peptide"


$2,211,000 (total amount)

Role: Principal Investigator (Multi-PI: Weiss)

  • NIH R21 (OD) "In Situ Imaging of Collagen Degradation Activity in Multiple Myeloma and Lung Fibrosis Mouse Model"


$429,688 (total amount)

Role: Principal Investigator (Multi-PI: Lee)

  • NIH R21 (NEI) "Sustained Intravitreal Delivery of Ranibizumab Mediated by ECM Binding"


$429,375 (total amount)

Role: Principal Investigator (Co-Is: Owen, Ambati)

Recently Completed

  • ONR "Flexible and Tunable Acoustic Transducers for Energy Harvesting"


$414,819 (total amount)

Role: Principal Investigator (Co-PIs: Chang, West, Kang)

  • NIH R01 (NIAMS) “Study and Application of Collagen Mimetic Peptide-Collagen Hybridization”

2011 – 2017

$1,792,663 (total amount)

Role: Principal Investigator (single investigator grant)

  • NIH R21 (NIAMS) "Collagen-Targeted Therapeutics of Cathepsin Inhibitors"


$423,725 (total amount)

Role: Principal Investigator (Co-I: Pomper)

  • DOD Prostate Cancer Program (PCRP) “Imaging Prostate Cancer Microenvironment by Collagen Hybridization”

2012 – 2017

$1,200,000 (total amount)

Role: Principal Investigator (Co-PI: Pomper)

  • ONR “Development of Piezoelectric Polymer Composite Fibers for Energy Harvesting and Acoustic Transducers”

2013 – 2017

$591,021 (total amount)

Role: Principal Investigator (Co-PIs: West, Foster)

Grant Officer: Jan Lindberg

Reviewing Activities for Funding Agencies

  • National Cancer Institute Site Visit Team (Oct 2017).

  • National Institute of Health F05-D fellowship (review panel, 2017, 2018).

  • National Institute of Health GDD study section (review panel, 2016).

  • National Institute of Health MTE study section (review panel, 2015).

  • National Institute of Health BMBI study section (review panel, 2013, 2014, 2015).

  • National Institute of Health ZRG1 BST-T (review panel).

  • National Institute of Health IMST 13 SBIR study section (review panel).

  • National Institute of Health IMST study sections (review panel).

  • National Science Foundation-DMR Biomaterials (review panel, 2008, 2009, 2011)

  • National Science Foundation-CMMI Materials Processing and Manufacturing (review panel)

  • National Science Foundation-CMMI Nanomanufacturing (review panel)

  • National Science Foundation-NIRT (review panel)

  • National Science Foundation-DMR Gels and Networks (review panel)

  • National Science Foundation-FIBR

  • American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund

  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) of United Kingdom

  • Medical Research Council (MRC) of United Kingdom (UK Regenerative Medicine Platform)

  • Cariipo Foundation of Italy

  • Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) of Portugal

  • Hopkins University, Institute for NanoBio Technology, Therapeutics grant review

  • Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Representative Papers in Recent Years (see publication for full list)

  • Nature Communication, 8, 14913, 2017.

  • Journal of American Chemical Society, 139, 16640-16649, 2017.

  • Molecular Pharmaceutics, 14, 1906–1915, 2017.

  • ACS Nano, 11, 9825-9835, 2017.

  • Journal of Controlled Release, 240, 323-33, 2016.