Xiaokun Shu - Faculty Profile

Uploaded by ucsfpharmacy on 12.01.2012

So my name is Xiaokun Shu. I'm a assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical
Chemistry. I started from studying physics, that's about my bachelor degree. And then
I continue my graduate study at the University of Oregon. I studied physics there. Then after
I finished my Ph.D., I moved to San Diego in 2007, and there I learned how to design
and develop genetic tools for biology. Now I'm here at UCSF, which is very famous for
its biological study, and we have very good tradition about extensive collaboration among
faculty. So this is an ideal place for me because now I'm trying to move from genetic
tool development to biology studies.
Right now in my own lab at UCSF we are developing infrared fluorescent proteins because if we
want to know how disease develops, and how cancer develops, we need to study those proteins
in animals, not just in culture cells. So for that visible light is not very efficient
for this study because visible light gets absorbed by hemoglobin, that's why the blood
looks red, because hemoglobin in the blood they absorb visible light. So it looks like
So for this infrared fluorescent proteins, here I'm trying to improve its brightness;
infrared light can penetrate through tissue much better than visible light. So here, for
example, if we want to study P-53 protein, which is involved in many, many cancer development,
we can just attach our infrared fluorescent protein to P-53, and then we can study the
expression and the causation of this P-53 protein in mice. Before the mice develop cancer
we will know what's going on there at the molecular level, before any big tumors form.
After we figure out the molecular mechanisms of this cancer development caused by this
abnormal expression, or activation of this P-53 protein, then we can use this knowledge
to understand cancer development in humans, and we can also develop therapeutic drugs
against this abnormal properties of P-53, then we can figure out how to fight against
those cancers.