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School of Medicine, Tsinghua University

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Babak Javid

Babak Javid is a physician scientist with an interest in tuberculosis, infectious diseases and protein translational fidelity. He did his medical training in the UK, his PhD on antigen processing and presentation with Paul Lehner at Cambridge, and post-doctoral training on mycobacterial genetics with Eric Rubin at Harvard. He joined Tsinghua School of Medicine in October 2011.

Email: bjavid{at}gmail.com (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)




Melody Toosky

Post-doc, funded by the Gates Foundation, Harvard Chan School of Public Health, USA, 2014- present;
Post-doc, Tsinghua University, 2012- 2014;
Ph.D., Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Dakota 2012;
B.S., Biology, University of California, Irvine 2004;

Hobbies: Chinese language, culture, music and food
Email: mtoosky{at}gmail.com (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

Mycobacterial infections are characterized by the need of the host to contain the invading pathogen as well as by the need of the pathogen to escape the host cell in order to infect other cells. An important phase during this interaction pertains to host cell death decision pathway. My project involves looking at this pathway using proteomic tools to get some clues about how mycobacteria can influence the manner in which host cells die.

Swarnava Chaudhuri

Post-doc, Tsinghua University, 2014-present;
Post-doc, Meharry Medical College, 2013-2014;
Post-doc, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2011-2012;
Ph.D, Microbiology & Immunology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2011;
M.Sc, Biochemistry, University of Calcutta, 2005;
B.Sc, Microbiology, University of Calcutta, 2003;

Hobbies: Travelling, photography, reading
Email: swarnavachau{at}yahoo.com (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

The prolonged antibiotic regime during treatment of tuberculosis is a serious healthcare burden. The long treatment period for tuberculosis results from rifampicin tolerance in Mycobacteria. Reduced translational fidelity, which results in the formation of mistranslated protein variants, is a key mechanism behind rifampicin tolerance in mycobacteria. My project is to identify drugs that increase the translational fidelity in mycobacteria, and thereby make the bacterium more susceptible to rifampicin。The other part of my project is to identify the mechanism by which these drugs increase translational fidelity in mycobacteria.



Zhu, Junhao 朱军豪
Fifth-year Postgraduate Student (PTN Programme)

2011.09-present: College of Life Science, Peking University, PhD;
2007.09-2011.07: College of Life Science, Peking University ,Bachelor;

Hobbies: basketball, painting and cooking
E-mail address: newforlofe{at}gmail.com (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

In a homogeneous bacterial population (identical in genomic information), the phenotypes of individual cells may vary significantly due to gene expression, protein synthesis and other processes. One reason for this variation may be the rate of errors generated during protein synthesis (mistranslation), which we hypothesise may benefit cell survival when they are challenged by stress or antibiotics. I am designing novel reporters to measure mistranslation at the single cell level. I hope to find what's controlling the heterogeneity of mistranslation in a clonal population and a potential clues for novel drug development.


Su, Hongwei 苏宏伟
Fourth-year Postgraduate Student (PTN Programme)

2012.09-present: College of Life Science, Tsinghua University, PhD;
2007.09-2012.07: College of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary, Jilin university, Bachelor;

Hobbies: basketball, and other sports, watching movies
Email: suhongwei0108{at}gmail.com (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

Based on previous work of the lab, mycobacteria could tolerate high mistranslation rates and this phenotype could help them to adapt to different kinds of environment including some antibiotic such as rifampicin. So there may be some specific elements which control translational fidelity. My project is to find the genetic elements controlling mycobacterial translation fidelity using forward genetic screens.


Cai, Rongjun 蔡荣俊
Fourth-year Postgraduate Student

2012.09-present: School of Medicine, Tsinghua University, PhD;
2008.09-2012.07: College of Animal Sciences & Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Bachelor;

Hobbies: computer techniques
Email: kim32000{at}hotmail.com (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

In mycobacteria tRNAAsn and tRNAGln are generated by a two-step synthesis, involving physiological misacylation to Glu-tRNAGln and Asp-tRNAAsn intermediates which are amidated to the cognate forms by GatCAB. I am focusing on the role of GatCAB in this indirect pathway to identify its potential link to relative mistranslation rate in mycobacteria. I am also interested in mechanisms to manipulate mycobacteria genetically including generation of SNPs via recombineering.


Long, Jing 龙晶
Fourth-year Postgraduate Student

2012.09-present: School of Medicine, Tsinghua University, PhD;

Hobbies: photography, food

My projects are based on the hypothesis that mistranslation may contribute to mycobacterial adaption to the intracellular environment. One of my projects is to verify the hypothesis by measuring the mycobacterial mistranslation rate before or after infection; the other one is to understand the interactions between the host and mycobacteria during the process of infection.


Li, Hao 李浩
Third-year Postgraduate Student (PTN Programme)

2013.09-present: College of Life Science, Tsinghua University, PhD;
2011.07-2013.09: School of medicine, Tsinghua University, Research assistant;
2008.09-2011.07: Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Master degree;
2004.08-2008.8: Henan Agricultural University, Bachelor degree;

Hobbies: basketball, hiking, movies
E-mail address: leehao{at}biomed.tsinghua.edu.cn (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

The main Research fields:
1)The interaction of Mycobacteria tuberculosis with the host.
About one third of the population in the world is infected with Mtb and remain asymptomatic. Of the latent population, about 5% will develop active tuberculosis in their lifetime. We want to know that why some individuals are protected from infection while others not.
2)The mechanisms of drug resistance and tolerance in Mycobacteria.
The MDX/XDR has become a big problem in the world especially in China. Also the Mycobacteria become drug tolerance via natural selection. These may be big barriers to shortening TB treatment. We want to find the mechanisms behind these problems.


Chen, Yanan 陈亚男
Third-year Postgraduate Student (PTN Programme)

2013.09-present: College of Life Science, Tsinghua University, PhD;
2009.09-2013.07: College of Life Science, Nanjing Agricultural University, Bachelor;

Hobbies: Hip-Hop, novels
Email: chenyanan90618{at}163.com (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

Stop codons normally represent the termination signal during translation, but sometimes translation can continue through a stop codon, a mechanism known as stop codon readthrough. Previous studies have shown that hundreds of Drosophila genes undergo stop codon readthrough. We therefore expect to determine the precise molecular mechanism for high level stop codon readthrough in Drosophila melanogaster.

Zhang,Yiwei 张一薇
Third-year Postgraduate Student

2013.09-present: College of Medicine, Tsinghua University, PhD;
2009.09-2013.07: College of Life Science, Nanjing Agricultural University, Bachelor;

Hobbies: Violin, travelling
Email: zhang-yw13{at}mails.tsinghua.edu.cn (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

The previous work of the lab indicates that mistranslation may help mycobacteria survive in some antibiotic environments such as rifampicin. This finding leads us to further think the mechanism and effects of mistranslation in eukaryote. So, I choose yeast as my research material, trying to find the genetic elements controlling translation fidelity and find out what effects mistranslation may have on eukaryote.


Chen,Yuxiang 陈宇翔
Third-year Postgraduate Student

2013.09-present: School of Life Science, Tsinghua University, PhD;
2009.09-2013.06: School of Life Science, Sichuan University, Bachelor;

Hobbies: Music, language, Computer games
Email: chenyx13{at}mails.tsinghua.edu.cn (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

1. Mycobacterial leaderless mRNA translation regulation;
2. Ribosome heterogeneity;
3. Mechanism of increasing translation fidelity in mycobacteria


Wang, Jiazi 王嘉梓
Second-year Postgraduate Student (CLS Programme)

2014.09-present: School of Life Science, Tsinghua University, PhD;
2010.09-2014.06: School of Life Science, Xiamen University, Bachelor;

Hobbies: food film travel shopping
Email: wangjz14{at}mails.tsinghua.edu.cn (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

Transfer RNA isodecoder genes show a large diversity in eukaryotes. But most of their functions are still unknown. I’m interested in how SNPs in human tRNAs may alter their canonical (translation) and non-canonical functions.




Duan,Lei 段蕾
Assistant / Lab manger

2013.08-present: School of medicine,Tsinghua University, Research assistant;
2010.09-2010.07: Shanxi medical University, Master degree;
2005.09-2010.07: Lanzhou University, Bachelor degree;

Hobbies: reading, cooking, music
Email: duanlei87{at}126.com (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

As lab manager, I ensure the smooth and efficient running of the lab. I also act as Babak's assistant and administrative aid.

Pan, Miaomiao 潘苗苗
Research Assistant

2012.07-present: School of medicine, Tsinghua University, Research assistant;
2009.09-2012.07: Nankai University, Master degree;
2005.09-2009.07: Shaanxi University of Technology, Bachelor degree.

Hobbies: reading, watching movies, climbing and sleeping
E-mail address: panmm99{at}gmail.com (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

I am interested in the hypothesis that a high phenotypic drug resistance in mycobacteria species is caused by high adaptive mistranslation. I am currently developing a gain of function reporter to measure the mistranslation rate using a M. smegmatis model. I will use this reporter to screen for molecules that alter mycobacterial translational fidelity.

LAST UPDATED: September 2015


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