Jianjun Qi, PhD, Research Associate
Jianjun Qi, PhD, received his doctorate degree in Medicinal Chemistry from Peking Union Medical College (Beijing, China) and completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. He is an expert on organic synthesis and related technologies, including HPLC, mass spectrometry, UV-visible spectrophotometers, and fluorometers. Dr. Qi’s research focuses on drug design and synthesis, antitumor drug delivery, biomolecular sensors such as pH-sensitive fluorescence dye, and advanced technologies in general organic synthesis. He is working with Youli Zu, MD, PhD, on developing molecular probes for the early detection of cancers and a DNA aptamer-based cancer drug delivery system.
Zihua Zeng, MD, Research Associate
Zhenghu Chen, MD, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow
Zhenghu Chen received his MD and PhD degrees from Tongji University (Shanghai, China) in 2017. Dr. Chen was trained at the Baylor College of Medicine Department of Hematology and Oncology as a visiting scholar in the joint-training program from 2013-2016. During his time at Baylor, Dr. Chen conducted in-depth translational research in neuroblastoma, one of the most common and deadly pediatric cancers, by screening small molecule compounds to develop targeted cancer therapy for neuroblastoma patients. After graduation, Dr. Chen spent two years in postdoctoral training at Baylor College of Medicine before he joined the Houston Methodist Research Institute in 2019. Dr. Chen’s current research interests focus on the mechanism that contributes to the heterogeneity and aggressiveness of cancers and developing novel therapies for cancer patients through a clinically-based, hypothesis-driven translational approach. Above all, Dr. Chen’s ultimate goal is to end cancer and save cancer patients’ lives by working closely with leading physicians and scientists in the field.
Xiaohui Liu, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow
QUanyuan Wan, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow
Quanyuan Wan earned his PhD in Aquatic Animal Medicine at the Huazhong Agricultural University in China. By using molecular and cellular biotechniques, he found the functional difference between RIG-I and MDA5 genes in controlling the induction of interferon, and the relationship of iron metabolism and antiviral immune response. Subsequently, Dr. Wan was trained in cancer immunotherapy as a post-doctoral fellow at the Houston Methodist Research Institute (HMRI). Using an animal model, he studied a combination therapy of Type I interferon (IFN-I) and a nano-vaccine to treat melanoma. Dr. Wan also investigated optimizing the therapeutic efficacy of CAR-T on lymphoma. Currently, he is a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Youli Zu, MD, PhD, developing novel clinical applications of oligonucleotide aptamer technology for disease diagnosis and precision therapy. Dr. Wan is also interested in developing aptamer-guided cancer vaccines for tumor-specific immunotherapy.