Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China, 1994
PhD in Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000
Postdoc in Chemical Biology, Harvard University, 2000-2002
I am the John T. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in 1994 from the University of Science and Technology of China and my PhD in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000, studying under professor Stephen J. Lippard. After training as a Damon-Runyon postdoctoral fellow with professor Gregory L. Verdine at Harvard University, I joined the University of Chicago as an assistant professor in 2002, rising to associate professor in 2008 and full professor in 2010. I served as the director of the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics at the University of Chicago from 2012-2017 and was selected as an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2013.
Research in my laboratory spans a broad range of fields including RNA biology, chemical biology, epigenetics, cancer biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and genomics. My recent research concerns reversible RNA and DNA methylation in biological regulation. My laboratory has spearheaded the development of enabling technologies to study the biology of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) in mammalian genomes. In 2011, we discovered reversible RNA methylation as a new mechanism of gene expression regulation at the post-transcriptional level. My laboratory has also characterized proteins that recognize the m6A-modified RNA, providing a mechanistic understanding of the critical roles of m6A in regulating mRNA stability and translation efficiency during animal development and disease pathogenesis. Some of these proteins are targets for developing new anti-cancer therapies. My work has recently been recognized by Paul Marks Prize in Cancer Research (2017) and American Chemical Society Chemical Biology Lectureship (2019).
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