Hi, I am Shawn Liu from China, and I got my B.S. in Nankai University. When I was an undergraduate, I was deeply attracted by the interdisciplinary research between chemistry and biology. For my bachelor thesis, I worked with one professor in the State Key Laboratory of Elemental-organic Chemistry, whose research field is focused on separation and synthesis of nature products. I completed the synthesis of an important precursor of Guaianolide, which is one of sesquiterpene lactones, exhibiting a variety of bioactivities such as high antitumor activity. Then I was eager to understand how this potential anticancer drug works. I believe biochemistry is the basic principle and powerful tool to understand this kind of issue. My keen interest in biochemistry, and the dream to do some research in this field led me to pursue graduate study and research. Therefore, I choose Purdue University for its outstanding renown in this field.
I currently work under Dr. Xiaoqi Liu who studies protein phosphorylation regulating cell cycle progression. It is now widely accepted that cancer arises at least partly due to the perturbation of normal cell cycle progression. Our lab particularly focuses on Polo-like kinase 1 which emerged as a key player in many cell-cycle related events. By using a yeast two-hybrid system and mass spectrometry we are able to find Plk1-interacting proteins and further analyze the function of phosphorylation during cell cycle. This will definitely contribute to the whole signal pathway and help to understand the mechanism of cancer and search for potential cancer drugs. With my Ph. D., I would like to be a researcher in signaling field. It’s fantastic for me to understand even a little about the wonderful accuracy of life.