The Yen Fellowship
The Institute invites applications for the Institute’s Yen Fellowship. This fellowship is for recent Ph.D. graduates and seeks to support outstanding individuals to undertake interdisciplinary research in the area of subcellular transport of macromolecules, using a combination of biophysical, genetic, computational, biochemical and cell biological tools. Yen Fellows are given considerable latitude in defining their research direction and will conduct their research in the laboratories of Institute faculty. A description of the Institute faculty and their research interests can be found here. We encourage applicants to contact Institute faculty directly about potential projects.
Applicants should send their curriculum vitae, three reference letters and a short research proposal to Candice Lewis.
The endowed Yen Fellows Program has been established to attract postdoctoral level researchers who will be associated with one or more IBD faculty but have the freedom to conduct research independently. This program is supported by the endowment of a gift from U of C Chemistry Department alumnus Yung-Tsai Yen, PhD ’75, and his wife Ho-Tzu.
2021 Yen Fellow
My research aims to understand subcellular dynamics that control tissue organization and functioning, in physiological and pathological conditions. In particular, I am interested in deciphering the cytoskeletal crosstalk mechanisms that contribute to cell adhesion, migration and mechanotransduction in normal tissues, and how alterations in these cellular processes can drive disease progression. During my postdoctoral work in Margaret Gardel’s Lab, I am investigating how the LIM domain family of proteins sense and adapt to mechanical stresses to trigger specific downstream mechanotransduction pathways. I am focusing on how the force-dependent localization of LIM proteins at different cytoskeleton-associated structures can be exploited to maintain the overall functioning and homeostasis of tissues. During my scientific research career, I have gained expertise in classical cell and molecular biology assays, as well as several cutting-edge techniques at the intersection of mechanobiology and cancer cell biology, including super-resolution microscopy, traction force microscopy, TIRF, FRAP, laser ablation, microfabrication, microinjection, optogenetics, and organoid cultures. In my postdoctoral research, I will leverage this expertise towards understanding the role of LIM domain proteins in mechanotransduction. In the long term, I aim to establish my independent academic career leading a research group to explore the mechanisms of by which cells sense mechanical stimuli and respond to environmental cues to perform functions that contribute to maintaining homeostasis or drive pathological conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
2021 Yen Fellow
Bei Liu is a postdoctoral researcher working in Dr. Chuan He’s lab in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on understanding the biological functions of epitranscriptomic modifications. He graduated from Duke University where he worked on investigating the impact of chemical modifications on RNA structure and dynamics. He is interested in developing methods to manipulate RNA structure and activity in cells.
2020 Yen Fellow
Riccardo is a postdoc in Arvind Murugan and Rama Ranganathan’s groups since July 2021. He is interested in the connection between structure, function and evolution in biology both at the microbial and protein level. Prior to this, Riccardo pursued his PhD at EPFL in Lausanne under the supervision of Matthieu Wyart. He worked on understanding the physical principles behind the emergence of long-range functional response in elastic material as a proxy to understand allostery in proteins. He also worked with inference models to predict allosteric function from sequence data.