I grew up in Nantong, an eastern coastal city in People’s Republic of China. I graduated in 2004 from Nanjing University in P. R. China with a B.S. in Biotechnology. From 2004 to 2007 I continued my masters studies in Microbiology & Biochemical Pharmaceutics in Nanjing University. My master thesis was focused on the isolation and characterization of secondary metabolites from endophytic fungi under the supervision of Prof. Ren Xiang Tan. During this period I obtained bioactive metabolites from several fungi species and discovered two new alkaloids from Endothia gyrosa and one alkaloid with novel framework from Chaetomium sp.
In August of 2007 I moved to the United States to pursue my Ph.D. studies at the University of Toledo-Ohio and did my Ph.D. research in the lab of Dr. Max Funk on the biochemical characterization of 12-lipoxygenase. There, I solved the crystal complex of leukocyte 12-lipoxygenase domain with its specific inhibitor 4-(2-oxapentadeca-4-yne) phenylpropanoic acid (OPP) to 1.9 Å resolution. This protein-inhibitor complex for the first time revealed a detailed structural basis for lipoxygenase reaction, including a new U-shaped substrate binding channel for arachidonic acid and a plausible access pathway for the other substrate, dioxygen.
After the completion of my Ph.D. in Chemistry, I joined the Marnett’s group at the end of January 2012. My project here is to utilize X-ray crystallography to study the structural basis of binding between different ligands and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), the interactions across the dimeric interface of COX-2, and the molecular basis for cyclooxygenase substrate selection.