Babak Javid

Babak Javid is a physician scientist with an interest in tuberculosis, infectious diseases and protein translational fidelity. He did his medical training in the UK, his PhD on antigen processing and presentation with Paul Lehner at Cambridge, and post-doctoral training on mycobacterial genetics with Eric Rubin at Harvard. He joined Tsinghua School of Medicine in October 2011.

Email: bjavid{at} (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

PhD students

Jiayao Hong

All ribosomes are not created identical. Emerging evidences reveals that ribosome heterogeneity provide another level of complexity in translation regulation in both prokaryote and eukaryote. Despite several mechanisms underlying heterogeneity, my project mainly focuses on rRNA methylation in mycobacteria. We will test the hypotheses that mycobacterial rRNA methylation level varies when encountering different states and cellular dynamics of rRNA methylation is adapted to environmental conditions by altering translation regulation.

Email: m18202736703{at} (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

Shizheng Zhu

Mistranslation has been shown to be necessary and sufficient for bacterial drug tolerance, and previous work of our lab has proved that GatCAB protein plays a role in modulating mistranslation rates in mycobacteria. I am interested in gatCAB heterogeneity in Staphylococcus aureus clinical isolates and whether these mutation we find can modulate mistranslation rate, and have further effect in mice chronic infection model.

Email: zhusz17{at} (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

Yayun Zheng

Transfer RNAs act as adapters in translation process deciphering genetic codes. The accuracy of tRNA aminoacylation maintains the fidelity of translation. An ambiguous tRNA gene in human genome is annotated as valyl-tRNA due to its anticodon, while its accept stem is characterized to be charged with alanine. This is a result of a common SNP in the anticodon of a canonical alanyl-tRNA. I aim to reveal the physiological consequence possessing this ambiguous tRNA in human genome.

Email: yayunzheng{at} (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

Biwei Wang

Sub-population of mycobacteria can grow and divide under rifampicin stress, which is termed as RSPR. These survivors remarkably increase treatment time so find out the mechanisms of them is very important. As a powerful screening method, Tn-seq is widely used in microorganisms also for mycobacteria. My project is investigating which genes are contributed in RSPR through different lineages by Tn-seq.

Email: wangbw16{at} (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

Yuemeng Chen

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is previously proved to be able to tolerate high level mistranslation, which can contribute to the adaption to stress conditions.
For it is an obligate pathogen, it has no niche in natural environment. So I try to investigate the role of mistranslation in the interaction between mycobacteria and hosts.

Email: mengmeng1054{at} (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

Zhuo Bi

My project is to screen genes that may be involved in the misacylated tRNA mistranslation process and trying to understand the mechanism of protein translation fidelity in mycobacteria, which is an essential factor contributing to rifampicin tolerance.

Email: bz16{at} (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

Yangyang Li

Mycobacteria lack glutamine and asparagine aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases. Instead, they use a two-step indirect pathway, in which GatCAB, a heterotrimeric amido-transferase complex plays a crucial part. Previous studies have identified clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis with mutated gatCAB, which had both increased mistranslation rates and tolerance to rifampicin, a first-line anti-tuberculosis drug, suggesting mycobacterial GatCAB plays a potential role in regulating adaptive mistranslation. My research interest is to characterize the enzymatic activity and stability of mycobacterial GatCAB and clinically-relevant mutants using independent in vitro biochemical and biophysical assays.

Email: liyangya15{at} (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

Jiazi Wang

Transfer RNA isodecoder genes show a large diversity in eukaryotes. But most of their functions are still unknown. I’m interested in how SNPs in human tRNAs may alter their canonical (translation) and non-canonical functions.

Email: wangjz14{at} (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

Rongjun Cai

In mycobacteria, tRNAAsn and tRNAGln are generated by a two-step synthesis, involving physiological misacylation to Glu-tRNAGln and Asp-tRNAAsn intermediates which are amidated to the cognate forms by GatCAB. I am focusing on the role of GatCAB in this indirect pathway to identify its potential link to relative mistranslation rate in mycobacteria. I am also interested in mechanisms to manipulate mycobacteria genetically including generation of SNPs via recombineering.

Email: kim32000{at} (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

Research staff

Lei Duan

As lab manager, She ensures the smooth and efficient running of the lab. She also works as Babak’s assistant and administrative aid.

Email: duanlei87{at} (Please replace {at} to @ in the address.)

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