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About School of Life Sciences
By building world-class research programs and centers, the School of Life Sciences at Westlake University strives to pursue questions fundamental to our understanding of biology and disease, and to develop enabling technologies that advance human health and civilization. The school is dedicated to cultivating future leaders in biomedical research through an emphasis on multidisciplinary training in biology, chemistry, medicine, and engineering.
The School of Life Sciences plans to establish research programs in Biophysics and Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics and Developmental Biology, Neurobiology, Immunology and Microbiology, Systems and Synthetic Biology, Chemical Biology, and other related fields.
To facilitate research and training, the School of Life Sciences has established an Advanced Biomedical Technology (ABT) Core Facility and an Animal Resources Center. The ABT Core Facility is equipped with state-of-the-art research technology; including facilities for cryo-electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, flow cytometry, light microscopy, genomics, metabolism, bioinformatics, and high- throughput screening.
The School of Life Sciences comprises research programs in Biophysics and Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics and Developmental Biology, Neurobiology, Immunology and Microbiology, Systems and Synthetic Biology, and Chemical Biology. The unique flat-structure of the school overcomes boundaries of different research directions to promote collaboration and inspiration while enhances clusters of focused research discussions.
Biophysics and Biochemistry
Director Yigong Shi
Associate Director Dan Ma
We mainly study structure and function of biomacromolecules, and their complexes involved in important biological processes or related to major diseases; investigate protein expression, modifications and interacting principles under physiological or pathological conditions; explore development mechanism of diseases and seek treatment methods through multidisciplinary approaches. Our primary members have made discoveries at the forefront of related research fields internationally, including mechanisms of nuclear pore complex assembly, mRNA splicing and COVID-19 infection, structural basis for critical ion channelosome during fertilization, analysis of blood biomarkers for severe COVID-19 patients, etc.
Director Hongtao Yu
Associate Director Shang Cai
With research interests in stem cell, cancer cell, immune cell and neural cell, the cell biology program aims to explore the cellular homeostasis, fate determination, cell-cell communication, and organelle functionalities during development, ageing and disease pathogenesis. We strive to uncover the most fundamental laws, including biochemical and biophysical principles, underlying cell replication and proliferation, cancer initiation and progression, pathogen-host interaction, as well as brain normal physiology and disorders. Our talented team have made numerous internationally recognized scientific achievements in cell division, cell migration, genome duplication and transcription, cellular stress response, signaling transduction, genome stability and fate determination.
Genetics and Developmental Biology
Director Tian Xu
Associate Director Xianjue Ma
This program aims to decipher the fundamental principles of genetics and development at the molecular, cellular, individual and population levels and to understand how alterations of these principles affect disease, aging and regeneration. The individual labs in this program conduct frontier and challenge research utilizing vertebrate and invertebrate model organisms and/or human subjects. Multi-disciplinary approaches and technologies including genetics, developmental biology, cell biology, immunology, molecular biology, evolution, AI and bioinformatics are employed in basic and translational research.
The program emphasizes a broad and cross-disciplinary training for Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows and supports the career development of outstanding young scientists through frontier research projects, comprehensive courses, cutting-edge techniques and equipment.
Director Qiufu Ma
Associate Director Danyang He
Neurobiology program is a highly interdisciplinary research program that is committed to understanding how the nervous system works and discovering new ways to prevent or treat neurological disorders. We are pushing forward the frontiers of technology to decode neural networks underlying complex cognitive behaviors, elucidate how nervous system interacts with peripheral organs , and dissect neurovascular and neuroimmune units and the underlying regulatory mechanisms. We are aimed to discover how these functions are disrupted by disease, and finding new approaches to treating disease.
Immunology and Microbiology
Director Ren Sun
Associate Director Xing Chang
Research in the microbiology and immunology program is largely focused on areas including virology, bacteriology, vaccinology, innate and adaptive immunity, cancer immunology, and microbial-host interactions. The program seeks to identify novel mechanisms of immune regulation and to unlock mysteries of pathogenic microorganisms and their interactions with the host. It aims at major scientific bottlenecks and key technical issues associated with mechanisms, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases. The goal is to translate these scientific discoveries into effective clinical applications for major human diseases.
Systems and Synthetic Biology
Director Jian Yang
Associate Director Peilong Lu
Systems and synthetic biology investigates the interactive, multifaceted networks of a living system and seeks to create novel biological parts, devices, and systems. Our program covers a variety of research directions, such as systems biology, synthetic biology, computational biology and biotechnology.
Chemical Biology (Co-built with the School of Science)
Director Dan Yang
Associate Director Bobo Dang
Chemical biology program organically integrates chemistry and biology to develop advanced chemical synthesis, chemical analysis, biological analysis techniques to explore, intervene, and manipulate complex life processes. Key members of this program have strong expertises in the fields of natural small molecule discovery, small molecule biological probe development, small molecule drug discovery , and peptide and protein macromolecules design and engineering.
Dean Hongtao Yu
Professor Hongtao YU received his B.S. in Chemistry from Peking University in 1990, and received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University in 1995. He then completed his postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School. Prof. Yu began his independent research career in 1999 as Assistant Professor in Department of Pharmacology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2004 and to Professor in 2008. From 2008-2019, he was appointed Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator. He was the holder of the Serena S. Simmons Distinguished Chair in Cancer Immunopharmacology before joining the faculty of Westlake University in December, 2019.
Prof. Yu studies the cellular mechanisms that govern chromosome inheritance and integrity, focusing on understanding the spindle checkpoint and sister-chromatid cohesion—cellular systems and processes that ensure all chromosomes are properly segregated during cell division. Defects in these processes lead to genomic instability and aneuploidy, which can cause birth defects, premature aging, and tumorigenesis. Using a multidisciplinary approach, his laboratory has contributed significantly to the molecular understanding of chromosome segregation and genome maintenance. His research has highlighted general principles in cell biology and revealed exquisite spatiotemporal control of opposing activities during cellular transitions.
Prof. Yu is a recipient of the Damon Runyon Scholar Award (1999), Burroughs Wellcome New Investigator Award in Pharmacological Sciences (2000), Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering (2000), Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar Award (2003), and W. M. Keck Distinguished Young Scholar Award (2003). He was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2012 and Board Member of Chinese Biological Investigator Society (CBIS) in 2018.
Associate Dean for Administration Tingliang Wang
Associate Dean for Research Xiaochun Yu
1991-1996, Beijing Medical University (Peking University Health Center), M.D.
1996-2002, Kurume University, Japan, Ph.D.
2002-2006, Research Associate, Mayo Clinic
2006-2011, Assistant Processor, University of Michigan Medical School
2011-2015, Associate Processor, University of Michigan Medical School
2015, Professor, University of Michigan Medical School
2015-2020, Professor, Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope
2020-, Professor, Westlake University .
The research interests of our laboratory include the mechanisms of DNA damage response, chromatin remodeling, epigenetic modifications, and their roles in tumorigenesis. As a principle investigator, I have extensive expertise and motivation necessary to successfully carry out the research projects that are supported by various funding agencies. The research conducted in my laboratory results a number of manuscripts published in leading journals. Eleven trainees from my laboratory have successfully become independent investigators, established their own laboratories, and generated scientific contributions in the cancer research field. Our current research mainly focuses on the role of protein poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation in DNA damage repair and cancer chemotherapy. Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation is an unique posttranslational modification induced by DNA damage. Targeting poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation by PARP inhibitors suppresses DNA damage repair and selectively kill tumor cells with DNA damage repair defectives. Our recent studies not only reveal the basic molecular pathway of poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation in DNA damage repair, but also suggest novel therapeutic targets in this pathway for future cancer treatment. In addition, we recently developed small molecule inhibitors specifically targeting dePARylation enzymes for cancer chemotherapy.
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Jian Yang
Jian Yang is a Professor of Statistical Genetics at the School of Life Sciences, Westlake University, China. He received his PhD in 2008 from Zhejiang University, China, before undertaking postdoctoral research at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia (2008-2011). He moved to The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia, as a Research Fellow in 2012 and was reappointed as a Senior Research Fellow and Group Leader in January 2014. He was promoted to be an Associate Professor in December 2014, and then a Professor in 2017 at UQ. He joined Westlake University in 2020. His primary research interests are focused on understanding the genomic variations among individuals within and between populations and the links of genomic variations with health outcomes.
He was the 2012 recipient of the Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize, in recognition of his contribution to solving the ‘missing heritability’ paradox. He was awarded the Australian Academy of Science Ruth Stephens Gani Medal for distinguished research in human genetics (2015) and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Sciences - Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year (2017). He was named in the Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers from 2018 to 2021. He has published a career total of >200 papers, which have received >37,000 citations (Web of Science, Nov 2021).
Office of the Dean
Kaina LI, Director
Wenyue YU, Administrative Assistant
（0571）86910287 firstname.lastname@example.org Research Affairs
Han DAI, Administrative Assistant
（0571）87928303 email@example.com Administrative Affairs
Xi CHENG, Administrative Assistant
（0571）87921963 firstname.lastname@example.org Human Resources
Wensong ZHOU, Administrative Assistant
（0571）87310235 email@example.com Human Resources (Postdocs)
Chao Zhang, Administrative Assistant
（0571）86910287 firstname.lastname@example.org Finance
Lydia ZHU, Administrative Assistant
（0571）87025879 email@example.com Academic and Student Affairs
Luona XU, Administrative Assistant
（0571）86968565 firstname.lastname@example.org Ph.D. Student Counsellor (Student Affairs)
Yiyun LOU, Administrative Assistant
（0571）86776719 email@example.com Academic affairs
Ziwei LI, Administrative Assistant
（0571）88112070 firstname.lastname@example.org Party Affairs
The Inaugural Meeting of the Westlake Life Sciences Symposium
The Inaugural Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Life Sciences, Westlake University
Westlake Master Forum Ada Yonath
Westlake Master Mini-symposium Mu-ming Poo
SLS Faculty Work-in-Progress Seminar
PhD Student Work-in-Progress Seminar
Postdocs and Research Fellows Work-in Progress Seminar
Faculty Academic Hour
SLS Seminar Series
The First Meeting of Westlake Laboratory of Life Sciences and Biomedicine Academic Advisory Committee
2020 Academic Meeting of Key Laboratory of Structural Biology of Zhejiang Province
The SLS Staff Union’s Autumn Trip to Nanxun in Huzhou (December 2019)
Water Sports Club Trip to Wuxing in Huzhou (October 2020)
The Magnificent Beauty of Life Exhibit
The SLS Faculty Retreat on the Thousand-Island Lake (September 2020)
The SLS Women of Westlake (WOW) Meeting (October 2020)
The Second Westlake Table Tennis Competition on Yunqi Campus
Westlake University Running Team on Yunqi Campus
Westlake University New Year’s Gala (January 2020)
The SLS Year-end Meeting (January 2021)
PhD Students’ Spring Hike to Tea Mountains at Longwu (April 2021)
PhD Students’ Field Trip to Liangzhu Art Center (March 2021)
Westlake University New Year’s Gala (December 2020)
Westlake University Postdoc Team-building Exercise during the Plum Blossom Week in Jiaxing (October 2020)
SLS Happy Hour (July 2020)
The SLS Hangzhou Tour Series: China Academy of Art (December 2020)
PIs from the SLS Women of Westlake (WOW)
Brainstorming Session Among PI and PhD Students
Faculty and Staff Visit to the Construction Site at the Yungu Campus of Westlake University (October 2020)
Professional Development Training at the SLS Administrative Office
The School of Life Sciences Promotional Video, Westlake University
The Cell｜Cell Biology Program Promotional Video
Code of Life｜Genetics and Developmental Biology Program Promotional Video
Molecular Basis｜Biophysics and Biochemistry Program Promotional Video
Links｜Neurobiology Program Promotional Video
Guardian of Life｜Immunology and Microbiology Program Promotional Video