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Lion fountain with blue skies on Kaufman Mall.

Michael Kong


Batten Endowed Chair of Bioelectrics and Professor of Electrical Engineering

PHONE: 757-683-7047

EMAIL: mkong@odu.edu

ADDRESS: IRP 2, 4211 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA, 23508


  • Postdoctoral fellow: University of Nottingham, UK, 1993-1995
  • Postdoctoral fellow: University of Liverpool, UK, 1992-1993
  • Ph.D.: Electrical Engineering, University of Liverpool, UK, 1992.
  • M.S.: Electronics Engineering, Zhejiang University, P R China, 1987
  • B.S.: Electronics Engineering, Zhejiang University, P R China, 1984

Lab Members

Fanying Li, Lab manager

JiaJun Jiang, Ph.D. student. Joint supervision with Dr. C.H. Chen (ECE) and Dr. M.G. Kong (CBE and ECE)

Research Description

Our laboratory is interested in science and engineering of cold atmospheric plasma (CAP), its biological effects, and their applications in medicine, agriculture, and environmental remediation. Much of our research is empowered by redox chemistry of exogenous reactive and metastable molecules, electrons and ions, photons, transient electric field, and others produced by CAP. With modeling-guided precision engineering (Iza, Lee & Kong, Phys Rev Lett 2009), we explore how best CAP can improve the current standard of care for multiple human disorders. Some of such opportunities are discussed in our review paper on plasma medicine. (Kong et al, New J. Phys. 2009).

Our research shows that CAP deactivates infectious proteins (such as prions), bacteria in planktonic and biofilm states, fungi and virus (including those with spike protein such as SARS-CoV-2). An example of how these findings are translated to clinical settings is non-thermal decontamination of bacterial biofilm-contaminated endoscopes, Using the effluent of CAP, we observe potent bacterial killing and biofilm disruption in gastrointestinal endoscopes of 2.2 meters long (Bhatt et al Gastrointest Endoscopy 2019). Further, we are investigating how CAP may improve the outcome of hard-to-heal injuries, such as chronic wounds, by boosting its potentiation of endogenous repair and regenerative processes of mammalian tissues.

A long-term research interest of our laboratory is cancer therapy that may improve the prognosis of patients who suffer from therapy resistance and disease progression. The ten cancer hallmarks (Hanahan & Weinberg, Cell 2011) represent the most fundamental pathways for cancer cell survival. Noting that many of these survival pathways are susceptible to regulation by reactive oxygen species (ROS), we search and explore a sweet spot where multiple cancer cell survival pathways may be downregulated by exogenous ROS and other effectors from CAP. This is shown to be possible in our recent discovery of CAP-mediated simultaneous blockade of three major cancer cell survival pathways and their crosstalks (Guo et al, PNAS 2021). We are testing this and other findings in clinically relevant model of cancer drug resistance.

For clinical translation, CAP technologies have been used clinically for coagulation and tissue ablation and there have been clinical trials of CAP treatment of diabetic wounds and of head and neck tumor. In collaboration with clinical dermatologists, we undertook a randomized and controlled clinical trial of CAP-activated hydrogel treatment of vitiligo, an autoimmune skin disorder that affect ~1% of the world population. Data of this clinical trials show that 80% of patients with focal vitiligo achieved partial repigmentation and 20% achieved full repigmentation (Zhai et al, J. Invest. Dermatol. 2021).


Most relevant publications

  1. Guo, B., Pomicter, A. D., Li, F., Bhatt, S., Chen, C., Huang, C., Deininger, M. W. Kong, M. G. and Chen H.-C. Trident cold atmospheric plasma blocks three cancer survival pathways to overcome therapy resistance. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci, USA, 118, e2107220118 (2021).
  2. Zhai, S., Xu, M., Li, Q., Guo, Q., Guo, K., Chen, H. L., Kong, M. G. & Xia, Y. Successful treatment of vitiligo with cold atmospheric plasma-activated hydrogel. J. Investigative Dermatology 141, 2710-2719.e6 (2021).
  3. Bhatt, S., Mehta, P., Chen, C., Schneider, C., White, L., Chen, H. L. & Kong MG. Efficacy of low-temperature plasma activated gas disinfection against biofilm on contaminated GI endoscope channels. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 89, 105 - 114. (2019).
  4. Iza, F., Lee, J. K. & Kong, M. G. Electron kinetics in radio-frequency atmospheric-pressure microplasmas. Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 075004 (2007).
  5. Kong, M. G., Kroesen, G., Morfill, G. Nosenko, T. Shimizu, T., van Dijk, J. and Zimmermann, J. L. Plasma Medicine: an Introductory Review. New J. Phys. 11, 115012 (2009).
full list of publications

Awards and Honors

  • International Society for Plasma Medicine Award (2010)
  • Fellow of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) (2012).
  • IEEE Plasma Science and Application Exceptional Service Award (2012)
  • IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Merit Award (2015)
  • Chair, IEEE Plasma Science and Application ExCom (2017-18)
  • Advisory Board for the m/q Initiative, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, USA (2018-20)
  • In the top 2% of most-cited scientists in his field in 2020 - Stanford study

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