Jianjun Qi, PhD, Research Associate
Dr. Qi received his PhD 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, including pH-sensitive fluorescent dyes, and advanced technologies in general organic synthesis. He is working with Youli Zu, MD, PhD to develop molecular probes for early cancer detection and a DNA aptamer-based cancer drug delivery system.
Zihua Zeng, MD, Research Associate
Zhenghu Chen, MD, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow
Dr. Chen received his MD and PhD 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 for targeted cancer therapy. 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 mechanisms underlying cancer heterogeneity and aggressiveness and on developing novel therapies for cancer patients through a clinic-based, hypothesis-driven translational approach. Dr. Chen’s central objective is to end cancer and save lives through his close work with leading physicians and scientists in the field.
Xiaohui Liu, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow
QUanyuan Wan, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow
Dr. Wan earned his PhD in Aquatic Animal Medicine at the Huazhong Agricultural University in China. Using molecular and cellular techniques, he discovered functional differences in how RIG-I and MDA5 genes control the induction of interferon, and the relationship between iron metabolism and antiviral immune responses. Subsequently, Dr. Wan was trained in cancer immunotherapy as a post-doctoral fellow at the Houston Methodist Research Institute (HMRI). In an animal model of melanoma, he studied the therapeutic efficacy of Type I interferon (IFN-I) and nano-vaccine combination therapy. Dr. Wan also investigated ways in which to optimize the therapeutic efficacy of CAR-T in lymphoma. Currently, he is a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Youli Zu, MD, PhD, developing novel clinical applications for oligonucleotide aptamer technology in disease diagnosis and precision therapy. Dr. Wan is also interested in developing aptamer-guided cancer vaccines for tumor-specific immunotherapy.