Ion-exchange chromatography is a major method used for large-scale protein separations. New zirconia-based polymeric cation-exchange HPLC stationary phases have been developed for protein separations. Two routes were employed for the synthesis. In one method, polyethyleneimine (PEI) was adsorbed onto porous zirconia particles and cross-linked with 1,4-butanediol diglycidyl ether (BUDGE). Succinic anhydride was then reacted with the remaining primary and secondary amine groups on PEI to afford anionic functionalities. The second method utilizes poly(acrylic acid) anhydride as both the cross-linker and the stationary phase. The resulting stationary phases act to separate proteins by a weak cation-exchange mechanism with a slight contribution to retention from hydrophobic interactions. In the presence of 20 mM phosphate buffer, Lewis acid/base interactions between the zirconia support and the proteins, which can significantly broaden the peaks, are sufficiently suppressed. The effects of ionic strength, mobile phase pH, and salt type are discussed. Protein mass recovery and loading capacity for protein separations on these phases have been evaluated. These weak cation-exchange stationary phases exhibit good stability under normal separation conditions for months and are stable in alkaline solution up to pH 10. In contrast to zirconia supports modified with small anionic species, these new phases have no limitation on the type of salt used as the eluent, and they exhibit unique selectivities. Therefore, they offer interesting alternatives for protein separations. To our knowledge, this work represents the first successful example of protein separations using porous zirconia-based polymeric phases under normal chromatographic conditions, which will definitely help make zirconia-based supports more useful for bioseparation.