GONG Jian PingProfessor

Laboratory of Soft & Wet Matter
Research Theme
Creation of Functional Polymer Gels as Biomaterials
Research Keywords

Soft matter, Soft materials, Polymer gels, Mechanical strength, Toughness, Fracture, Friction, Lubrication, Artificial cartilage, Cell Scaffold, Biomaterials

Overview of Research

Besides bones, tooth, and nails, the human body consists of soft tissues. The dynamic functions of the human body are mostly realized by these soft tissues. For example, muscles generate force to move bones, tendons transfer force from muscle to bone, and cartilage absorbs the shock and reduces the friction of bone motion. These soft tissues, consisting of biopolymers (DNA, proteins, polysaccharides) and 30-80% water, belong to a category of substances called Soft & Wet Matter. The mechanisms of why soft tissues are able to exhibit such excellent functions are not understood yet, but it is considered to originate from their soft & wet nature.

A hydrogel, consisting of cross-linked macromolecules and water, is also soft & wet matter. My research goal is to unravel the secrets of soft tissues, creating hydrogels with soft tissue-like functions, and applying these hydrogels as artificial soft tissues, such as cartilage, tendon, and muscles.

Our strategy is as follows: 1) design the hydrogel by extracting the structural essences of the soft tissue using physical principles; 2) synthesize hydrogels with soft tissue-like structure using chemical approaches; and 3) investigate the functions of hydrogels thus obtained and understand the mechanisms of soft tissues by comparing these hydrogels with real soft-tissues.



The science of Soft & Wet Matter is a new interdisciplinary area that covers chemistry, physics, biology, and materials sciences. Students who are interested in unraveling the secrets of bio-tissues, in the creation of hydrogels with bio-tissue like functions, and in applying these hydrogels in medical sciences are welcome.

Representative Publications

H. Fan, J. P. Gong, “Bioinspired Underwater Adhesives,” Advanced Materials, 33(44), 2102983 (2021).

R. Long, C. Y. Hui, J. P. Gong, E. Bouchbinder, “The Fracture of Highly Deformable Soft Materials: A Tale of Two Length Scales,” Annual Review of Condensed Matter Physics, 12(1), 71-94 (2021).

H. Fan, J. P. Gong, “Fabrication of Bioinspired Hydrogels: Challenges and Opportunities,” Macromolecules, 53(8), 2769-2782 (2020).

C. Yu, H. Guo, K. Cui, X. Li, Y. N. Ye, T. Kurokawa, J. P. Gong, “Hydrogels as Dynamic Memory with Forgetting Ability,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(32), 18962-18968 (2020).

T. Nonoyama, Y. W. Lee, K. Ota, K. Fujioka, W. Hong, J. P. Gong, “Instant Thermal Switching from Soft Hydrogel to Rigid Plastics Inspired by Thermophile Proteins,” Advanced Materials, 32(4), 1905878 (2020).

H. Fan, J. Wang, Z. Tao, J. Huang, P. Rao, T. Kurokawa, J. P. Gong, “Adjacent Cationic-Aromatic Sequences Yield Strong Electrostatic Adhesion of Hydrogels in Seawater,” Nature Communications, 10, 5127 (2019).

H. Guo, T. Nakajima, D. Hourdet, A. Marcellan, C. Creton, W. Hong, T. Kurokawa, J. P. Gong, “Hydrophobic Hydrogels with Fruit-like Structure and Functions,” Advanced Materials, 31(25), 1900702 (2019).

T. Matsuda, R. Kawakami, R. Namba, T. Nakajima, J. P. Gong, “ Mechanoresponsive Self-growing Hydrogels Inspired by Muscle Training”, Science, 363(6426), 504-508 (2019).

P. Rao, T. L. Sun, L. Chen, R. Takahashi, G. Shinohara, H. Guo, D. R. King, T. Kurokawa, J. P. Gong, “Tough Hydrogels with Fast, Strong, and Reversible Underwater Adhesion Based on a Multi-Scale Design”, Advanced Materials, 30(32), 1801884 (2018).

T. I. Mredha, T. Nonoyama, T. Nakajima, Y. Z. Guo, T. Kurokawa, J. P. Gong, “A Facile Method to Fabricate Anisotropic Hydrogels with Perfectly Aligned Hierarchical Fibrous Structures”, Advanced Materials, 30(9), 1704937 (2018).



<Office Hour>
– Time: Anytime during the lecture period
– Place: Frontier-AMLS, 2F
Please contact in advance by E-mail.
E-mail: gong[at]