Kun Cheng

Curators' Distinguished Professor


Dr. Cheng received his B.S./M.S. in pharmaceutical sciences from China Pharmaceutical University and M.S. in pharmacy from National University of Singapore. He was a research scientist at the Brightfuture Pharmaceutical Company in Hong Kong prior to joining the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, where he received his Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences. He joined the UMKC School of Pharmacy in 2007.

Dr. Cheng’s research focuses on following areas:

  • Discovery of novel therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease
  • Drug delivery through the blood-brain barrier (BBB)
  • Discovery of peptide-based checkpoint inhibitors for cancer immunotherapy
  • Development of targeted drug delivery systems for macromolecules
  • Discovery of molecular ligands for imaging, diagnosis, and targeted drug delivery
  • Development of anti-tumor prodrugs for improving target-ability and efficiency
  • Development of novel therapeutics for liver diseases
His research has been continuously supported by the Department of Defense (DoD), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Cancer Society (ACS), and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS). Dr. Cheng is the recipient of the 2011 AAPS New Investigator Award in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology. He is the recipient of the UMKC Chancellor’s Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching (2013), the UMKC Trustees Faculty Scholar Award (2013), the UMKC Trustees Faculty Fellowship Award (2018), the N.T. Veatch Award for Distinguished Research and Creativity (2019), and the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring (2020). He was inducted as an American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Fellow in 2020 and an American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) Fellow in 2021.



  • Development of novel therapeutics and drug delivery systems for cancer, liver fibrosis, and Alzheimer’s disease