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Qian Zhao

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I am a postdoctoral associate in the Wang lab, and I have an unwavering passion for unraveling life's many mysteries. During my college days at China Agricultural University, I studied plant Argonaute proteins. Later, in pursuit of my PhD at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, I delved into biochemistry and structural biology. My PhD years were dedicated to investigating the chloroplast chaperonin complex CPN60 and its role in folding and assembling Rubisco, widely considered the most abundant protein on earth. Though the CPN60 proteins proved stubborn in their resistance to crystallization, the revolutionary Cryo-EM came to the rescue and enabled me to crack their structure.

As I got fascinated by protein homeostasis and aging and was eager to take one step further to work on things bigger than protein molecules, I joined the Wang lab at Baylor College of Medicine and started exploring the aging process of this "gigantic" worm – Caenorhabditis elegans. Now, my focus is on solute carrier (SLC) transporters – the second-largest membrane protein families. I'm determined to uncover how they mediate metabolic flux and maintain cellular balance, not only in cultured cell lines but also in a huge nematode with the life cycle of birth, aging, illness, and death. Currently at Janelia, I'm utilizing the cutting-edge cryo-EM facility to solve the structure of an orphan SLC transporter that functions in lysosomes during aging.


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B.S., Agricultural Biotechnology, China Agricultural University
Ph.D., Biochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences