Welcome to the Qin lab.  As an affiliate of the Center for Cellular Construction, our mission is in line with the center’s mission “to turn cell biology into an engineering discipline by learning how to engineer the physical structure and interactions of living cells, to turn them into living bioreactors and modules of novel self-organizing devices.” Currently the lab is focusing on:

  1. Live bioreactor for synthetic biology

The lab is developing live bioreactors to synthesize products of commercial value. The system we are developing is capable of resisting contamination, and withstanding harsh conditions. We are translating the technology developed for potential industrial usages.

  1. The biogenesis of a cilium/flagellum

Our lab is interested in the conceptual frameworks that govern organelle biogenesis and the corresponding regulations.  The current main research effort in our lab is to understand. Cilia and flagella are microtubule-based appendages extending from the basal body of almost all eukaryotic cells, and are classified as either motile or primary. Motile cilia or flagella such as Chlamydomonas flagella, sperm flagella and respiratory tract epithelial cell cilia are responsible for movement or generation of fluid flow.  In contrast, primary cilia are non-motile organelles that are critically involved in visual, olfactory and auditory signal transduction and play key roles in regulation of gene expression, development and animal behavior.  Ciliary defects are linked to ciliopathies such as polycystic kidney disease, nephronophthisis, retinal degeneration, situs inversus, hydrocephalus, polydactyly and obesity. Our lab uses a combination of biochemistry, cell biology, and genetics approaches to understand the principles of ciliogenesis and its regulation.

  1. Flagellar axoneme structure and motility

The waveform of cilia is conserved, no matter whether the cilia are on green algae Chlamydomonas or mammalian epithelia found in the airways, the uterus and fallopian tubes, the efferent ducts of the testes, and the ventricular system of the brain. These motile cilia beat with a conserved planar asymmetrical waveform. We are beginning to learn how the asymmetry of the waveform is established and the mutant analyses are underway.