Speaker
  • Dr. Zhu Chen, Shanghai Jiaotong University

    Dr. Chen is a professor at Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and an outstanding scientist in hematology and molecular biology. Dr. Chen has received many honors and awards, including the State Scientific and Technological Award by the Chinese government and the "Prix de l'Qise" by "La Ligue Nationale contre le Cancer" of France. Dr. Chen is an academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is also a foreign member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and a foreign member of the French Academy of Sciences. Dr. Chen has been studying the development, differentiation and epigenetics of hematopoietic stem cells and the genetic factors, molecular mechanisms and therapy of leukemia for many years. Dr. Chen and his colleagues have made tremendous contributions to this field. In particular, Dr. Chen has made a significant contribution to elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and arsenic trioxide in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). He proposed the "targeted therapy" for leukemia, opening up a new path for the selective differentiation and apoptosis treatment of this disease.


  • Dr. Xiaofeng Cao, Chinese Academy of Sciences

    Dr. Xiaofeng Cao is a professor in the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. She was elected to the “Hundred Talents Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences” in 2002. She received the National Outstanding Scientist Award and DuPont Young Professor Award. Dr. Cao is interested in studying the epigenetic regulation in higher plants. Using both Arabidopsis and rice as model organisms, his laboratory has made significant contributions to understanding how gene expression and plant development are regulated by histone modifications and small non-coding RNAs. His pioneering findings have uncovered the role of histone methylation in Arabidopsis flowering and rice transposon activity. Dr. Cao’s group also actively studies the biogenesis and roles of small RNAs in rice development.


  • Dr. Yifan Cheng, University of California, San Francisco

    Dr. Yifan Cheng is a professor in University of California, San Francisco and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Cheng has received numerous honors and awards including the Royal Norwegian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (NTNF) Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship and K. H. Kuo Award for Distinguished Scientist. Dr. Cheng’s lab specializes in electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM). For a long time, this technique's advantages were offset by its limited resolution compared to X-ray crystallography. Together with his collaborators, Dr. Cheng's lab developed programs for fast and accurate correction of beam-induced image motion, allowing users to take full advantage of sensitive new electron detectors and obtain high-resolution data from their samples. With his technical breakthrough, Dr. Cheng studies the structures of the members of the transient receptor potential (TRP) channel superfamily. He has now resolved the atomic structures of TRPV1 and TRPA1, providing a blueprint for understanding this large, diverse family of proteins. In addition, his lab also works on the structures and functions of ABC transporters and the protein degradation machinery.


  • Dr. Chuan He, University of Chicago

    Dr. Chuan He is the John T. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor and the director of the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics at University of Chicago. Dr. He is also an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. He has received many distinguished honors and awards, including the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award and the Sun Chan Memorial Award in Organic Chemistry. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. He is interested in studying gene expression regulated by the dynamic and reversible RNA and DNA methylation. Dr. He is best known for his work in discovering and deciphering reversible RNA methylation in the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. He and his colleagues discovered the first RNA demethylase, and now continue exploring the function of its target N6-methyladenosine. Dr. He’s lab also developed an effective sequencing technology for mapping the precise locations of DNA base modifications. His group has found DNA N6-methyldeoxyadenosine as a new DNA marker that could affect gene expression in eukaryotes. Dr. He’s lab has also contributed to our knowledge for understanding the virulence and antibiotic resistance, metal homeostasis and selective metal ion recognition.


  • Dr. Hans Clevers, Hubrecht Institute

    Dr. Hans Clevers is the director of research of the Princess Maxima Center for pediatric oncology. Dr. Clevers has received numerous awards and accolades, including the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Katharine Berkan Judd Award in 2005, the United European Gastroenterology Federation (UEGF) Research Prize in 2010, and the Swammerdam medal in 2016. Dr. Clevers is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Clevers’ research interests primarily focus on Wnt signaling in adult stem and cancer cells, and his lab was the first group to connect Wnt signaling with adult stem cell biology. Furthermore, Dr. Clevers’ group has shown that Lgr5, a Wnt target gene, marks small cycling cells within the intestinal crypts, and that these Lgr5 expressing cells are the epithelial stem cells in the intestines. Most recently Dr. Clevers’ group has established an Lgr5/R-spondin-based culture system, which allows for growing the Lgr5 stem cells into diverse organoids representing the adult tissues that they originated from. This system also allows for the creation of patient specific disease modeling by isolating the Lgr5 stem cells from patients and growing organoids for further investigation and testing. 


  • Dr. Melanie Cobb, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

    Dr. Melanie Cobb is a professor holding the title of the Jane and Bill Browning, Jr Chair in Medical Science position at UT Southwestern. Dr. Cobb is a forerunner in the field of protein kinase structure and function. She has received numerous awards and honors, including the Max Planck Research Award, the ASPET Goodman and Gilman Award in Drug Receptor Pharmacology. Dr. Cobb was also elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2006. The Cobb lab’s main research focus is studying signal transduction mechanisms of various protein kinases including ERK, MAPK, and WNK as they pertain to nutrient response, cancer biology and vesicular trafficking. Dr. Cobb is well known for her work identifying the first mammalian MAP kinases that can interact together to form a cascade to regulate essential cellular functions through signal transduction. Most recently the Cobb lab has done interesting work, deciphering the multistep regulation of autophagy and the identification of WNK1 as an inhibitor of autophagy.


  • Dr. Jiayang Li, Chinese Academy of Science

    Dr. Jiayang Li is a professor at the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology in the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Li is a well-respected expert in the field of molecular plant genetics and metabolism, and he has been the recipient of many distinguished awards and honors, including Thomson Reuters China Citation Laureates, Corresponding Membership Award for the American Society of Plant Biologists, and the Bioscientific Achievement Award from the Society of Chinese Biologists in America. Dr. Li is also a member of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences and a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences. The Li lab’s major research interest is focused on underlying the mechanisms of plant architecture and starch biosynthesis. Dr. Li is most well known for his contributions to understanding the protective mechanisms that contribute to UV-B tolerance in plants. More recently, Dr. Li’s work on identifying genetic characteristics of agronomic traits in rice and how they have adapted to various agro-climatic conditions has paved the way for the discovery of indispensable genes and alleles that can aid in cultivar improvement, which is important for the world food security.


  • Dr. Yigong Shi, Tsinghua University

    Dr. Yigong Shi is a professor and the Dean of the School of Life Science at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He is also one of the Vice Presidents of this university. Dr. Shi is well-known scientist in the field of structural and biophysical biology. He has received numerous awards, including the Gregori Aminoff Prize for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Dr. Shi is a member of Chinese Academy of Sciences and a Foreign Associate for the National Academy of Sciences USA. The Shi lab’s research interests are diverse, but with a primary emphasis on the regulation of 3 prominent cellular functions. These functions include apoptosis, macromolecule dynamics in large protein structures such as the spliceosome, and the mechanisms associated with regulated intramembrane proteolysis and how it pertains to Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Shi is most well known for his mechanistic studies on caspase activation and inhibition during apoptosis. In recent years, Dr. Shi’s work has primarily focused on the underlying structure of catalytically activated spliceosomes and proteasomes, while also examining the structural interactions of Bcl-2 and hepatitis B virus proteins and how they affect apoptosis.


  • Dr. Irving Weissman: Stanford University

    Dr. Irving Weissman is a Professor at Stanford University. He has been the Director of the Stanford Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine since 2003. Dr. Weissman’s research has been focused on hematopoietic stem cell biology, which is the phylogeny and developmental biology of the cells that make up the blood-forming and immune system. Dr. Weissman is widely recognized as the "father of hematopoiesis", in which he was the first to purify blood-forming stem cells in both mouse and humans. Dr. Weissman is also a leading expert in the field of cancer stem cell biology, where his work has shed light on the understanding of the pathogenesis of multiple human malignancies. He is also known for transgenic research in which human brain cells were grown in mouse brains. He has published more than 400 papers, including Science, Nature and Cell. He has received tremendous honors and awards, including election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1989 and being named California Scientist of the Year in 2002.


  • Dr. Liqun Luo, Stanford University

    Dr. Liqun Luo is a Professor of Biology at Stanford University and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Luo studies the logic of brain wiring using genetic tools. His lab has developed mosaic-marking systems in flies and mice and used them to study how signals are transduced from cell surface receptors to the cytoskeleton, how neuronal processes are pruned, and how neural circuits are organized and built. Dr. Luo has served on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, including Neuron, eLife, and Annual Review of Neuroscience. He has also served on the Pew Scholar National Committee and Scientific Advisory Committee of Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. He has received many honors and awards, including the McKnight Technological Innovation in Neuroscience Award and the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award. Dr. Luo is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


  • Dr. Jake Liang, National Institutes of Health

    Dr. Jake Liang is a tenured senior investigator and the Chief of Liver Diseases Branch at NIDDK, NIH. He is the training director of the NIH hepatology fellowship program that has trained and produced many international academic leaders in the field of liver disease. He also participated in the establishment of the Multi-specialty Senior Clinical Research Fellowship program at NIDDK, designing to train clinical investigators in interdisciplinary translational research. His research accomplishments in the field of viral hepatitis include identifying and characterizing various HBV variants, defining a novel genetic element of hepatitis B virus, elucidating the biological functions of HBV X gene, developing in vitro systems to generate HCV-like particles for vaccine development and to produce infectious HCV virus, creating transgenic mouse models to study hepatitis C, and discerning key steps in the pathogenesis of viral hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma. He has published over 100 papers and edited numerous books. He was also the recipient of British Liver Scholar Award and Leon Schiff Lectureship Award from University of Cincinnati. In 2016, he was elected to the membership of the National Academy of Medicine in USA.


  • Dr. Dihua Yu, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

    Dr. Yu is a professor and the Hubert L. & Olive Stringer distinguished chair in basic science in the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Her researches focus on dissecting mechanisms of resistance to targeted cancer therapies and designing counteracting strategies to make patients respond better to targeted therapies. Another major focus of her research team is studying cancer metastasis, especially brain metastasis, and designing more effective therapies based on mechanistic understanding. Furthermore, they are developing early detection, prevention, and intervention strategies for ER-negative, especially triple negative, early stage breast cancer. She has published more than 200 papers, including Nature, Nature Medicine, and Cancer Cell. Importantly, her research has led to multiple efficacious clinical trials to benefit cancer patients. Dr. Yu has received tremendous honors and awards, including the honor of AAAS fellow in 2011, the Achievement Award from the Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America-Texas in 2013, and the Fidler Innovation Award 2016 from the Metastasis Research Society (MRS). She was the SCBA President from 2014 to 2015. Currently, she is the President-Elect of MRS.