Yitshak Zohar, PhD

Professor, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Email Address: 
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-8093
(520) 621-8191

Internal Contact Information

UACC Organizational Unit: 
Professional Bio: 

Dr. Zohar is a Professor in the Departments of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering as well as Biomedical Engineering at the University of Arizona. He is also a member of The University of Arizona Cancer Center and the Bio5 Institute in Tucson. He specializes in the development of microfluidic systems for bio/chemical/medical applications.

Dr. Zohar earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Aeronautical Engineering from the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology, and received his PhD degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern Californina.

Dr. Zohar teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Dr. Zohar has been developing various technologies and devices, in collaboration with colleagues across several disciplines, to contribute to the understanding and cure of cancer. This includes development of surface chemistry technology to immobilize surface ligands for specific interaction with membrane receptors identified by colleagues as bio-markers for certain types of cancer such as prostate and breast. The aim is to develop liquid biopsy techniques for the isolation of tumor cells circulating in the blood stream as an early detection of cancer without invasive procedures. They also develop microfluidic systems mimicking blood vessels, i.e. microchannels coated with endothelial cells, where local chemokine gradients can be generated in a controlled manner. The goal is to establish ex-vivo systems for studying cancer metastasis processes such as intravasation and extravasation of circulating tumor cells. These systems can be utilized not only to elucidate the basic mechanisms involved in cancer metastasis, but also to test the efficacy of certain anti-cancer drugs designed to disrupt cell-signaling pathways or utilize nanoparticles as drug delivery vehicles.

Collaborators include colleagues from the Arizona Cancer Center, Surgery, Neurology, Molecular & Cellular Biology, Chemical & Environmental Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.

Research Information

Research Program: 
Cancer Biology
Member Status: 
Associate Research Member
Year of Membership Acceptance: 
Selected Publications: 
  1. Zhao, C., Lee, Y.K., Xu, R., Liang, C., Liu, D., Ma, W., Piyawattanametha, W. & Zohar, Y. 2014 Isolation of circulating tumor cells under hydrodynamic loading using microfluidic technology. Advances in Mechanics, 44, 201412.
  2. Zheng, X.J., Jiang, L., Schroeder, J.A., Stopeck, A.T. & Zohar, Y. 2014 Isolation of viable circulating tumor cells in antibody-functionalized microfluidic devices. Biomicrofluidics, 8, 024119. DOI: 10.1063/1.4873956
  3. Riahi, R., Yang, Y.L., Kim, H., Jiang, L., Wong, P.K. & Zohar, Y. 2014 A microfluidic model for organ-specific extravasation of circulating tumor cells. Biomicrofluidics, 8, 024103. DOI: 10.1063/1.4868301
  4. Stamm, M., Trickey-Glassman, A.S., Jiang, L. & Zohar, Y. 2014 Specific interactions between functionalized particles and circulating tumor cells. IET Nanobiotechnol., 8, 18-23. DOI:10.1049/iet-nbt.2013.0034
  5. Stamm, M.T., Zha, Z., Jiang, L., Dai, Z. & Zohar, Y. 2012 Functionalization of particles with antibodies for specific targeting of cancer cells. J. Physic. Chem. Biophysic., 2:1. DOI:10.4172/2161-0398.1000105
  6. Zheng, X.J., Cheung, L.S.L., Schroeder, J.A., Jiang, L. & Zohar, Y. 2011 Cell receptor and surface ligand density effects on dynamic states of adhering circulating tumor cells. Lab Chip, 11, 3431-3439. DOI:10.1039/C1LC20455F
  7. Zheng, X.J., Cheung, L.S.L., Schroeder, J.A., Jiang, L. & Zohar, Y. 2011 A high-performance microsystem for isolating circulating tumor cells. Lab Chip, 11, 3269-3276. DOI:10.1039/C1LC20331B
  8. Cheung, L.S.L., Zheng, X.J., Wang, L., Baygents, J.C., Guzman, R., Schroeder, J.A., Heimark, R.L. & Zohar, Y. 2011 Adhesion dynamics of circulating tumor cells under shear flow in a bio-functionalized microchannel. J. Micromech. Microeng., 21, 054033. DOI:10.1088/0960-1317/21/5/054033
  9. Yetisen, A.K., Jiang, L., Cooper, J.R., Qin, Y., Palanivelu, R. & and Zohar, Y. 2011 A microsystem-based assay for studying pollen tube guidance in plant reproduction. J. Micromech. Microeng., 21, 054018. DOI:10.1088/0960-1317/21/5/054018
  10. Cheung, L.S.L., Zheng, X.J., Wang, L., Guzman, R., Schroeder, J.A., Heimark, R.L., Baygents, J.C. & Zohar, Y. 2010 Kinematics of specifically captured circulating tumor cells in a bio-functionalized microchannel. JMEMS, 19, 752-763.

Professional Information

Professional Affiliations: 
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) – Fellow (1992-present)
American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) – Senior Member (2004-2010)
American Physical Society (APS) – Member (1992-2008)
Positions and Honors: 
University of Arizona 2007 Technology Innovation Award
21st IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems – Co-Chair, 2008
Excellence at the Student Interface, College of Engineering, University of Arizona, 2010
Editor – Microfluidics and Nanofluidics (2014-present)
Editor – Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems (2005-present)
Advisory Editorial Board – Microfluidics and Nanofluidics (2008-2013)
Editorial Board Member– Journal of Physical Chemistry & Biophysics (2011-present)
Associate Editor, Sensors and Actuators A: Physical, 2006-2009.

Academic Information

Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1990
Master's Degree: 
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, 1984
Undergraduate School: 
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, 1981