Steven J. Jonas, M.D., Ph.D.

Steven J. Jonas, M.D., Ph.D. 

Clinical Instructor, Pediatrics


Steven J. Jonas, M.D., Ph.D., is a physician who treats children with cancer and blood disorders with stem cell transplants and gene therapies. As a scientist with a doctorate in engineering, he concentrates on the development of new nanotechnologies that facilitate safer and quicker delivery of therapeutic materials, such as genes and gene-editing materials, directly to patient cells. The ultimate goal of Jonas’ research is to create complementary tools that reduce costs and increase the efficiency of pre-existing treatments like cancer immunotherapies.

Nanotechnologies enable scientists to manipulate molecules and cells more effectively by using infinitesimally small materials and devices that are measured in units called nanometers.  One strand of hair averages between 80,000 and 100,000 nanometers wide. Jonas’ passion for nanotechnology stems from his doctoral studies in materials science and engineering in the lab of Bruce Dunn. With a unique background that spans pediatric medicine, materials science, bioengineering, stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, Jonas bridges these diverse fields and hopes to develop technologies to advance the discovery and manufacturing of stem cell-based therapies.

Jonas recently led a team that developed a new device and methodology for the safer delivery of DNA into stem and immune cells. The technique uses high-frequency acoustic waves generated in microfluidic devices to make cell membranes temporarily porous, enabling therapeutics to enter the cell without causing any permanent cell damage. Currently, cell collection, processing and modification can take weeks or months to deliver genetic material into enough patient cells to produce a therapeutic dose. Jonas hopes this “acoustofluidic” technology, alongside complementary research projects he is pursuing, can shorten preparation time considerably and one day facilitate the same-day collection, genetic manipulation and reinfusion of patient stem cells for a wide range of gene therapy applications.

Jonas earned both his doctorate in materials science and engineering and medical degree at UCLA, where he completed his residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric hematology-oncology.


Acoustofluidic sonoporation for gene delivery to human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells
Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday May 19, 2020.

Dual Supramolecular Nanoparticle Vectors Enable CRISPR/Cas9-Mediated Knockin of Retinoschisin 1 Gene—A Potential Nonviral Therapeutic Solution for X-Linked Juvenile Retinoschisis
Published in Advanced Science on Thursday April 16, 2020.

Lipid Bicelle Micropatterning Using Chemical Lift-Off Lithography
Published in Applied Materials & Interfaces on Monday February 24, 2020.

An Absence of Lamin B1 in Migrating Neurons Causes Nuclear Membrane Ruptures and Cell Death
Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday December 3, 2019.

Bio-Inspired NanoVilli Chips for Enhanced Capture of Tumor-Derived Extracellular Vesicles: Toward Non-Invasive Detection of Gene Alterations in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Published in Applied Materials & Interfaces on Wednesday March 20, 2019.

Precision-Guided Nanospears for Targeted and High-Throughput Intracellular Gene Delivery
Published in ACS Nano on Wednesday March 14, 2018.

Precision Medicine in Pediatric Neurooncology: A Review
Published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience on Monday December 4, 2017.

Multiple-Patterning Nanosphere Lithography for Fabricating Periodic Three-Dimensional Hierarchical Nanostructures
Published in ACS Nano on Thursday September 28, 2017.

Hydrophobic Surfaces for Enhanced Differentiation of Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Embryoid Bodies
Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Friday September 12, 2008.

Honors & Affiliations


  • California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA
  • UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Society of Hematology
  • American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
  • International Society for Stem Cell Research
  • Children’s Oncology Group
  • Materials Research Society
  • American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy


Jonas’ work is supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the UCLA Innovation Fund, Hyundai Hope on Wheels, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.


Steven J Jonas, M.D., Ph.D.- 2017
Dr. Steven Jonas is training in the lab of Paul S. Weiss. His research focuses on gene and cellular therapies where modified blood-forming stem cells or immune cells are used to correct disease-causing mutations and/or to assist patients fighting disease. In this video, Jonas describes his work to develop nanotechnologies that will enable stem cell biologists to probe and interact with stem cells more precisely. He hopes that this enhanced precision will empower stem cell scientists to bring effective and efficient stem-cell-based gene therapies to patients who urgently need them.
Steven J Jonas, M.D., Ph.D.- 2018
Dr. Steven Jonas is training in the lab of Paul Weiss. His research focuses on developing new methods that utilize engineering solutions to create nanostructures that deliver gene editing packages to stem cells within the body in a safer, faster and more efficient way than current gene editing methods. In this video, he describes how these types of nanotechnologies could be used as the foundation for translating stem cell-based therapies from the lab to the clinic in the future.
Ask a Scientist: How is nanotechnology used in medicine?
In this video, Dr. Steven Jonas describes nanotechnology as an amalgamation of chemistry, physics, biology and engineering. He then gives some examples of nanotechnology in action, in medicine and beyond.