Dr. Wujie Zhang, associate professor of biomolecular engineering, has been named a Milwaukee Business Journal 40 Under 40 winner. More than 300 nominations were submitted for the award, which recognizes professional achievement as well as community involvement.

According to Mark Kass, editor-in-chief of the Milwaukee Business Journal, “This 40 Under 40 class represents the future of community leadership in southeastern Wisconsin. These leaders have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement while also becoming leaders in their communities.”

Zhang has been at MSOE since 2012 and is able to combine all of his interests in his role at MSOE. “I joined the MSOE faculty when the biomolecular engineering program was looking for someone with expertise in biopolymers, drug delivery and nanotechnology—those happen to be all my fields.”  

One of the projects Zhang is leading—the development of artificial red blood cells—has turned many heads at MSOE. When Zhang and his team of undergraduate biomolecular engineering students started out, they were trying to optimize an oral drug delivery system that used curcumin to treat colon cancer. Through this process they discovered the structure of the delivery system resembled that of a blood cell. That’s when a new research project around developing artificial blood cells started to take shape.  

Outside the classroom, Zhang is an advisor for the MSOE Chinese Students Association. He also volunteers throughout the community with organizations including VISIT Milwaukee, Sherman Park Revival Celebration, STEM Merit Badge Clinic, PrideFest and Milwaukee Aquarium Society, to name a few. He is actively involved with professional organizations including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists American Chemical Society, American Institute of Chemical Engineers and many others.  

Zhang received the Karl O. Werwath Engineering Research Award and Falk Engineering Educator Award from MSOE in 2016.