Division of
Natural and Applied Sciences

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Biological, behavioral sciences and health

Xianzhi Lin

LncRNA Drivers in Ovarian Cancer: Function and Interactome Dr. Lin’s RNA Biology Group uses ovarian cancer as model system to study the molecular mechanisms of cancer initiation and progression. We focus on the largest group of transcripts in the human genome known as long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), many of which have been demonstrated to have regulatory functions in both physiology and diseases. Molecular and genetic analyses are being carried out to interrogate their roles in cancer hallmarks and enabling characteristics. Using RNA-centric and protein-centric methods, our group identifies and validates lncRNA-binding partners that contribute to the functions of lncRNAs. The lncRNAs and their binding partners are potential targets for developing therapeutic drugs to prevent cancer progression. The current projects include (1) Studying the functional roles and underlying molecular mechanisms of lncRNAs in aerobic glycolysis and drug resistance in ovarian cancer. (2) Developing RNA-centric methods to identify weak and/or transient lncRNA-interacting partners that are key to regulating lncRNA functions.

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The Kwok Lab

Sze Chai Kwok

Kwok’s research lies at the intersection among neuroscience, behavior, and psychology. He is head of the Laboratory of Phylo-Cognition and his research team studies the neural bases of episodic memory, metacognition, and other related higher cognitive processes in the primate species. Elucidation of such intricate brain/mind/behavior relationships is attained by armamentaria of methods including multimodal neuroimaging, in vivo electrophysiology, neuromodulatory methods, state-of-the-art behavioral paradigms and computational techniques. His teaching interests at Duke Kunshan include topics within cognitive neuroscience, behavioral sciences, and psychology. He is author of 60 academic papers including several in leading high-impact journals such as Science, Neuron, eLife, the Journal of Neuroscience, and Nature Human Behaviour. He is a recipient of the Shanghai Pujiang Talent Program Award (2016) and Young IBRO Regions Connecting Award (2020). He serves as handling editor for the journal Cognitive Processing (Springer). Kwok has a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from the University of Hong Kong and a doctoral degree in experimental psychology from the University of Oxford. Before joining Duke Kunshan in 2020, he was associate professor at East China Normal University and held a scholar-in-residence adjunct position at NYU Shanghai

The Gu Lab

Chuanhui Gu

The Environmental Hydrology Lab at Duke Kunshan University is a dynamic research center dedicated to unraveling the complexities of environmental hydrology and fostering sustainable solutions to pressing challenges. The lab serves as a focal point for innovative studies merging hydrology, ecology, and environmental engineering. One of the lab’s primary research thrusts is understanding pollutant removal mechanisms through groundwater-surface water interactions. By elucidating the intricate dynamics of natural filtration processes, the lab aims to develop nature-based solutions for water quality enhancement. Moreover, we investigate the impact of bio-invasion on the resilience of salt marshes to sea-level rise. By studying how invasive species alter marsh dynamics and geomorphology, the lab contributes to understanding and mitigating the effects of coastal habitat degradation. Additionally, ongoing projects delve into soil carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions, shedding light on the delicate balance between carbon storage and release in terrestrial ecosystems. The lab also explores innovative approaches for soil amendment using biosolid, aiming to enhance soil fertility while minimizing environmental impacts. Through collaborative partnerships and interdisciplinary inquiries, the Environmental Hydrology Lab at Duke Kunshan University is committed to advancing knowledge and fostering sustainable solutions to complex environmental challenges, ultimately contributing to a more resilient and sustainable future.

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The Tsigkou Lab

Anastasia Tisgkou

Our Lab focus on reproductive biology, particular the study of inhibin and progesterone receptors in uterine leiomyomas and ovarian cancers. One of her main achievements was the development of a novel immunoassay inhibin total (A&B) (Inhibin-TGF-β family). Development of the assay led to the successful licensing of the antibodies and assays with total royalty income to Oxford Brookes University in the U.K. of more than GBP 2 million. Our laboratory can carry out molecular biology experiments such as cell culture, Western blotting, qPCR,immunohistochemistry and apoptosis.

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The Lee Lab

Joohyun Lee

Joohyun Lee lab, Environmental Molecular Epigenetics lab, is currently exploring epigenetic regulation through Arabidopsis thaliana using mutant studies and bioinformatic analysis to overcome limitations of animal models.   Epigenetic regulation involves modifying gene expression without altering the DNA sequence, and these changes can be inherited across cells and/or generations. However, the lethality of epigenetic mutants in animal models has limited research into the mechanisms underlying the maintenance of epigenetic modifications in response to environmental signals. To address the questions, the Lee lab is using Arabidopsis as a model plant, which is tolerant of epigenetic mutations. Lee lab uses various molecular and bioinformatic analysis, including large-scale transcriptome, small RNA seq, DNA methylome, chromatin opening (ATAC seq) and chromatin modification (ChIP seq) analysis, to investigate the mechanisms underlying epigenetic regulation, which are highly conserved in higher eukaryotes.

The Zheng Lab

Changcheng Zheng

Optical properties of semiconductors and nanostructures, exciton/carrier dynamics in bulk and low dimensional systems, nonlinear optical properties of novel luminescent/fluorescent materials.

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