Lab Members

Staff Scientist

Huilin Huang, Ph.D.
Huilin Huang received her Ph.D. degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Sun Yet-sen University, China, in 2012 for her thesis entitled “Oridonin triggers the ubiquitin-proteasomal degradation of c-Myc and the reprogramming of microRNAs in tumor cells”. She joined the laboratory of Dr. Chonghui Cheng at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine as a postdoctoral fellow in 2013 and investigated how RNA secondary structures determine RNA splicing and contribute to EMT and the development of breast cancer. After joining Professor Jianjun Chen’s lab in 2015, Huang started to pursue her research goals of studying the biological mechanism and function of RNA epigenetics. She has identified a novel family of RNA m6A reader proteins, IGF2BPs, which specifically recognize m6A-containing RNAs and protect target mRNAs from degradation and also promote translation of target mRNAs. Her current project is focusing on understanding how RNA m6A modification is determined by histone modification and what the function of RNA m6A modification in cancer.

Visiting ScholarS

Li Han
Li Han was awarded her bachelor degree in clinical pharmacy from China medical University.  She started her graduate training in Molecular Biotechnology at China medical University where she studied the important roles of lncRNAs and miRNAs in maintaining the stemness of cancer stem cells and the underlying molecular mechanisms. In January 2017, Li Han joined the Jianjun Chen Laboratory as a visiting graduate student. She focuses on understanding the biological functions of DNA and RNA epigenetics regulators in leukemogenesis and drug response.
 
Mingli Sun, Ph.D.
Mingli Sun received his Ph.D. degree in pharmacology from China Medical University, China, in 2014, before joining City of Hope as a Visiting Scholar. Mingli gained great interest in designing small molecular compounds and peptides targeting regulators of DNA/RNA epigenetics of carcinogenesis. His current work focuses on understanding of roles of different RNA epigenetic regulators, especially m6A readers and their potential co-factors, in AML development, and also designing small molecular compounds and peptides targeting these regulators.

Postdocs

Xiaolan Deng, Ph.D.
Xiaolan Deng was awarded her Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of KU Leuven, Belgium, in 2013. She then joined the laboratory of Dr. Yusuke Nakamura, section of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago as a postdoctoral scholar, where her project focused on the development of a new cancer therapy targeting methyltransferase and precision medicine on cancer treatment. She joined the lb of Jianjun Chen, Ph.D., in December 2016 to further her research goals of understanding the role of RNA m6A modification in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Her current project at City of Hope is the development of a new cancer therapy targeting RNA modification, especially in AML.
 
Lei Dong, Ph.D.
Lei Dong received his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Peking Union Medical College, China, in 2014. His major interest was conducting bioinformatic analysis of genetics, genomics and proteomics data to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying pathogenesis of leukemia. During his postdoc training with Dr. Jianjun Chen, he has been focusing on studying the molecular mechanisms by which DNA/RNA modifications play essential roles in leukemia.
 
Chao Shen, Ph.D.
Chao Shen got his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Peking Union Medical College, China, in 2015. His PhD thesis title is “The function and mechanism of microRNA-22 in monocyte/macrophage differentiation and acute myeloid leukemia as well as its potential application in therapy”. He then joined Dr. Jianjun Chen’s lab as a postdoctoral fellow from the beginning of 2017. Since then, his projects have been focusing on studying the DNA and RNA epigenetics, specifically, the function and mechanism of 5hMC and m6A regulators during leukemogenesis and normal hematopoietic differentiation, as well as identifying novel small molecular inhibitors targeting 5hMC and m6A modification for leukemia therapy.
 
Rui Su, Ph.D.
Rui Su got her Ph.D. degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Peking Union Medical College, China, in 2014. Her Ph.D. thesis title is “MiR-181 family: the regulators of myeloid differentiation and acute myeloid leukemia as well as potentially therapeutic targets”. She then joined the lab of Jianjun Chen, Ph.D., as a postdoctoral fellow from the beginning of 2015. During this period, her projects are focused on studying the effects of miR-126, PBX3, MEIS1, R-2HG, FTO and m6A mRNA modification during leukemogenesis and normal hematopoietic differentiation, as well as identifying novel small molecular inhibitors targeting m6A modification for leukemia therapy.

Graduate Students

Xi Qin, B.S, M.S.
Xi Qin received her B.S. degree in Life Sciences and Biotechnology from Wuhan University, China, in 2013, and her M.S. degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from Illinois Institute of Technology in 2015. In July 2015, she joined Dr. Jianjun Chen’s laboratory as a research assistant. In August 2017, she joined the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences at City of Hope as a graduate student. Her research interests focus on the epigenetic regulations underlying the development of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and early hematopoiesis.
 
Ying Qing, Ph.D.
Ying Qing completed her clinical medical training and obtained her M.D. degree under the guidance of Dr. Min Wang at Shandong University, China, before moving to City of Hope to pursue her Ph.D. During her M.D. training, her major interest was the effect of the phytochemical sulforaphane on chemoprevention of colorectal cancer and its epigenetic mechanism. She also studied the correlation between H. pylori related gastric diseases and colorectal neoplasia. Qing gained great interest in the epigenetic mechanisms of carcinogenesis through these trainings, and joined the lab of Jianjun Chen, Ph.D.,  to conduct her Ph.D. research to be further trained in the field of DNA/RNA epigenetics of leukemogenesis and/or solid cancer development. Her current work focuses on understanding of roles of different RNA epigenetic players, especially m6A readers and their potential co-factors, in acute myeloid leukemia development.