Adjunct Professor Loh Xian Jun

Executive Director
Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), A*STAR

Current Research Interests
Prof Loh’s primary research interest is in the area of soft materials e.g. hydrogels, organgels, micelles, vesicles and many others. The underlying theme of his research covers: 1) modification of naturally available biodegradable polymers for the synthesis of soft materials; 2) characterisation of the soft materials properties; and 3) development of simple fabrication techniques to realising these soft materials constructs. He pioneered the development of a new form of hydrogel which does not require chemical crosslinkers to self-assemble. Instead, these materials form hydrogels when they are in contact with the warm body environment without the need for any external triggers. Prof Loh’s work in the area of the supramolecular soft materials has brought significant impact to the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in the area of environment, sustainability and healthcare. His revolutionary work in thermogels and leadership in hydrogel engineering sits at the interface of chemistry and medicine. He is the first person to engineer thermogels to regenerate the vitreous humor in the eye, allowing a new method of performing vitrectomies for the treatment of retinal detachment and age-related macular degenerations.

Biographical Information
Prof Loh completed his basic and postgraduate studies at the National University of Singapore (NUS). A polymer chemist by training, he is currently the Executive Director of the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), Agency of Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). He is also the current Vice President and member of the Executive Committee of the Singapore National Institute of Chemistry. A polymer chemistry by training and well-recognised for his research work within the scientific community, Prof Loh holds concurrent Adjunct Professorship appointments at NUS and NTU to establish strong research collaborations with faculty researchers in the academia. As a pioneer and recognised global expert in the area of biodegradable thermogels, Prof Loh is highly knowledgeable in developing these materials for various applications spanning biomedical, engineering, cosmetics, personal care and food. His scientific contributions have earned him the position of Fellowship in Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge; Fellowship in the Royal Society of Chemistry; Fellowship in IOM3 – The Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining; and Fellowship of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He is also consistently named Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics. Most recently, he was awarded the prestigious and highly competitive 7th NRF Investigatorship (Class of 2021) for his research proposal on “Thermogels for Therapeutic Applications (THETA)”. With his extensive experience in authoring >250 journal papers, 38 patents and know-hows, >30 book chapters and 7 books, Prof Loh currently sits on several editorial boards of international journals as an expert in his area of research. He has also successfully helped in the commercialisation of 8 different products and is always interested in the translation of science to products.

Selected Publications
1. “A Morphable Ionic Electrode Based on Thermogel for Non-Invasive Hairy Plant Electrophysiology”. Advanced Materials (2021), 33(14), 2007848. Yifei Luo, Wenlong Li, Qianyu Lin, Feilong Zhang, Ke He, Dapeng Yang, Xian Jun Loh, & Xiaodong Chen

2. “Polymeric hydrogels as a vitreous replacement strategy in the eye”. Biomaterials (2021), 268, 120547.
Qianyu Lin, Jason Y.C. Lim, Kun Xue, Xinyi Su, & Xian Jun Loh

3. “A topical gel for extended ocular drug release”. Nature Biomedical Engineering (2020), 4, 1024-1025.
Ivan Seah, Xian Jun Loh, & Xinyi Su

4. “Thermogelling chitosan-based polymers for the treatment of oral mucosa ulcers”. Biomaterials Science (2020), 8(5), 1364-1379. Zheng Luo, Kun Xue, Xikui Zhang, Jason Y. C. Lim, Xiyu Lai, David James Young, Zhong-Xing Zhang, Yun-Long Wu, & Xian Jun Loh

5. “Tough hydrogel module towards an implantable remote and controlled release device”. Biomaterials Science (2020), 8(3), 960-972. Zhi Wei Kenny Low, Yifei Luo, Kangyi Zhang, Qianyu Lin, Cally Owh, Xiaodong Chen, & Xian Jun Loh

6. “A new highly transparent injectable PHA-based thermogelling vitreous substitute”. Biomaterials Science (2020), 8(3), 926-936. Kun Xue, Zengping Liu, Lu Jiang, Dan Kai, Zibiao Li, Xinyi Su, & Xian Jun Loh

7. “Recent innovations in artificial skin”. Biomaterials Science (2020), 8(3), 776-797. Zhi Wei Kenny Low, Zibiao Li, Cally Owh, Pei Lin Chee, Enyi Ye, Kai Dan, Siew Yin Chan, David James Young, & Xian Jun Loh

8. “Cyber-Physiochemical Interfaces”. Advanced Materials (2020), 32(8), 1905522. Ting Wang, Ming Wang, Le Yang, Zhuyun Li, Xian Jun Loh, & Xiaodong Chen

9. “Retinal-detachment repair and vitreous-like-body reformation via a thermogelling polymer endotamponade”. Nature Biomedical Engineering (2019), 3, 598-610. Zengping Liu, Sing Shy Liow, Siew Li Lai, Asfa Alli-Shaik, Graham E. Holder, Bhav Harshad Parikh, Subramanian Krishnakumar, Zibiao Li, Mein Jin Tan, Jayantha Gunaratne, Veluchamy Amutha Barathi, Walter Hunziker, Rajamani Lakshminarayanan, Clement Woon Teck Tan, Caroline K. Chee, Paul Zhao, Gopal Lingam, Xian Jun Loh, & Xinyi Su

10. “Hydrogels as Emerging Materials for Translational Biomedicine”. Advanced Therapeutics (2019), 2(1), 1800088. Kun Xue, Xiaoyuan Wang, Pei Wern Yong, David James Young, Yun-Long Wu, Zibiao Li, & Xian Jun Loh

11. “Sustained delivery of anti-VEGFs from thermogel depots inhibits angiogenesis without the need for multiple injections”. Biomaterials Science (2019), 7(11), 4603-4614. Kun Xue, Xinxin Zhao, Zhongxing Zhang, Beiying Qiu, Queenie Shu Woon Tan, Kok Haur Ong, Zengping Liu, Bhav Harshad Parikh, Veluchamy Amutha Barathi, Weimiao Yu, Xiaomeng Wang, Gopal Lingam, Walter Hunziker, Xinyi Su, & Xian Jun Loh

12. “Biodegradable Thermogelling Polymers”. Small Methods (2019), 3(3), 1800313. Xian Jun Loh, Pei Lin Chee, & Cally Owh

13. “Long-Term Real-Time In Vivo Drug Release Monitoring with AIE Thermogelling Polymer”. Small (2017), 13(7), 1603404. Sing Shy Liow, Qingqing Dou, Dan Kai, Zibiao Li, Sigit Sugiarto, Chris Yee Yung Yu, Ryan Tsz Kin Kwok, Xiaohong Chen, Yun-Long Wu, Seow Theng Ong, Atish Kizhakeyil, Navin K. Verma, Ben Zhong Tang, & Xian Jun Loh

14. “Highly Efficient Supramolecular Aggregation-Induced Emission-Active Pseudorotaxane Luminogen for Functional Bioimaging”. Biomacromolecules (2017), 18(3), 886-897. Sing Shy Liow, Hui Zhou, Sigit Sugiarto, Shifeng Guo, Madhavi Latha S. Chalasani, Navin Kumar Verma, Jianwei Xu, & Xian Jun Loh

15. “PHP-Based Gels as Delivery Agents of Chemotherapeutics for the Effective Shrinkage of Tumors”. Advanced Healthcare Materials (2016), 5(20), 2679-2685. Yun-Long Wu, Han Wang, Ying-Kun Qiu, Sing Shy Liow, Zibiao Li, & Xian Jun Loh

16. “Water soluble polyhydroxyalkanoates: future materials for therapeutic applications”. Chemical Society Reviews (2015), 44(10), 2865-2879. Zibiao Li & Xian Jun Loh

17. “Recent Progress in Using Biomaterials as Vitreous Substitutes”. Biomacromolecules (2015), 16(10), 3093-3102.
Xinyi Su, Mein Ji Tan, Zibiao Li, Meihua Wong, Lakshminarayanan Rajamani, Gopal Lingam, & Xian Jun Loh

18. “Biodegradable Thermogelling Polymers: Working Towards Clinical Applications”. Advanced Healthcare Materials (2014), 3(7), 977-988. Qing Qing Dou, Sing Shy Liow, Enyi Ye, Rajamani Lakshminarayanan, & Xian Jun Loh