From OpenWetWare
Jump to: navigation, search


Home        Research        Publications        Lab Members        Lab Alumni        Fun Stuff        Contact




Babak Javid


Melody Toosky

Post-doc, Tsinghua University, 2012- present;
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}

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.;


Graduate Students


Zhu, Junhao 朱军豪
Second-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}

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
First-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}

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
First-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}

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
First-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.

Research Staff

Xue, Jiaying 薛佳莹
Assistant / Lab manger

2011.07-present: School of medicine, Tsinghua University, Research assistant;
2008.09-2011.07: Shang Dong University, Graduate student;
2004.08-2008.8: Ocean University of China, Bachelor degree;

Hobbies: climbing, hiking
Email: xuejiaying2006{at}

My work is to make our lab run in an orderly and efficient manner. This includes procurement and management. I also help Professor Babak Javid as his assistant, for example translation of documents between English and Chinese and generally making sure he doesn’t get into too much trouble.


Li, Hao 李浩
Research Assistant

2011.07-present: School of medicine, Tsinghua University, Research assistant;
2008.09-2011.07: Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Graduate student;
2004.08-2008.8: Henan Agricultural University, Bachelor degree;

Hobbies: basketball, hiking, movies
E-mail address: leehao{at}

The Main research field: The interaction of Mycobacterial with the host.
1: Research on the protein Trehalose-6-phosphate Phosphatase (OtsB2) from Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
2: Research on antigen presentation during mycobacterial infection.


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}

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 assay to screen drugs in order to find hits which can decrease mycobacteria mistranslation. My ultimate goal is to decrease the phenotypic drug resistance of Mycobacteria tuberculosis. My hobbies are.


Undergraduate Students


Du, Yuxian 杜禹贤
Senior Undergraduate Student (Tsinghua University)

Hobbies: calligraphy, poem recitation performance, singing, and sports.
Emali: bobthu09{at}

My project focuses on the dynamics of macrophage surface proteins following mycobacterial infection. Mycobacteria have co-evolved with its host, macrophages, so that they are fully adapted to living inside this effector cell of the innate immune system. Many changes to surface proteins occur following infection but it is unclear whether these changes represent host responses to infection, or mycobacterial adaptations to the host – subverting the host machinery for their own needs. Further experiments will attempt to answer these questions.


Leng, Tianqi 冷天祺
Junior Undergraduate Student (Peking University)

Hobbies: Marvel superhero movies, swimming, table tennis and badminton.
Email: lengtq{at}

My project investigates the repertoire and rate of mycobacterial mistranslation in the model organism Mycobacterium smegmatis. I will use gain of function luminescence reporters to accurately identify the rate of many different types of translational error.


Chen, Yanan 陈亚男
Senior Undergraduate Student (Nanjing Agricultural University)

Hobbies: Korean language, reading novels
Email: chenyanan90618{at}

I am investigating the role of EF-Tu discrimination in mycobacterial mistranslation, which will examine one potential mechanism for mycobacterial mistranslation. The residing dogma states that misacylated tRNAs cannot take part in protein translation due to discrimination by EF-Tu, but this has not been investigated in vivo.
We know that fidelity in translation is associated with two key events: synthesis of correctly charged aminoacyl transfer RNAs (aa-tRNAs) by aminoacyl tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) and accurate selection of aa-tRNAs by the ribosome. However, the precise molecular mechanism of mycobacterial mistranslation is poorly understood.

Specifically, it is not known if mistranslation results from errors of ribosomal decoding or misacylation of amino-acylated tRNAs. This is particularly relevant since mycobacteria physiologically misacylate glutamine and asparagine tRNAs before modifying them to the correct form by the action of the enzyme GatCAB.