I study the significance of phospholipids in mitochondria in the Claypool lab. My current focus is on cardiolipin — a signature phospholipid that ensures cellular energy production via oxidative phosphorylation. Cardiolipins have been evolutionarily found in the structures of the ADP/ATP carrier, which exchanges ADP and ATP across the membrane to enable oxidative phosphorylation. Our recent work revealed that the cardiolipins within the ADP/ATP carrier support its structure and activity. This finding highlights the conserved important roles of specific lipid-protein interactions in mitochondrial biology.
Questions & Answers
Why did you choose Johns Hopkins for your work? I joined Dr. Steven Claypool’s lab, aka the Mitochondrial Phospholipid Research Center, because I wanted to study phospholipids. This is a good place that makes me focus on lipids. What does receiving this award mean to you personally and professionally? Do you have any connection with the particular award you received? I feel really honored to receive this award and hope it will help my career. This award encourages me to continue participating in science. What contributed to your project’s success? (Special skills, interests, opportunities, guidance, etc.) There were several hurdles to continue this project. An error in mutant design, which I realized about one year after I started, made me start over everything that I had completed at that time. And the pandemic gave me a lot of struggles — trouble with international shipping to send our samples to collaborators was a tough one. Patience and great people surrounding me, including my mentor, Dr. Claypool, and our collaborators who performed excellent work, have been critical. What thoughts do you have about Young Investigators’ Day itself, as a celebration of the roles students and fellows play in research at Hopkins? It is a good opportunity that gives students and fellows motivation to develop themselves, and it enables their research to be recognized. What has been your best/most memorable experience while at Hopkins? I like the atmosphere here in which people warmly interact. It was obstructed by the pandemic but has been becoming back normal, which is what I feel great about. What are your plans over the next year or so? Graduating, looking for faculty positions, etc.? I am planning to wrap up my ongoing projects and begin to prepare for applying for faculty positions. Tell me something interesting about yourself that makes you unique. Do you have any special hobbies, interests or life experiences? I have enjoyed beer since I came to the United States. I am hoping to travel around looking for good ones.