Wang Xi

In Beer lab, we study computational genomics and gene regulatory mechanisms. My research focuses on the regulation of higher order chromatin architecture in mammalian cells. I developed a computational model to predict the interaction of chromatins in three-dimensional space based on a process called loop extrusion. It explains how factors like CTCF and cohesin work together to form loops between distant regions quantitatively, which has important implications in nuclear DNA packing and gene expression regulation.

Questions & Answers

Why did you choose Johns Hopkins for your work?

Johns Hopkins is an ideal place for graduate study because of the huge amount of exciting biomedical research going on here. Clinicians and basic researchers from different backgrounds work tightly with each other to exchange ideas on a daily basis. This equal, supportive and friendly environment spurs us to make novel discoveries constantly.

What does receiving this award mean to you personally and professionally? Do you have any connection with the particular award you received?

Receiving this award is a great honor. It is really important for young scientists to be recognized at early stages of our careers, as it helps us build confidence on the road toward making greater discoveries.

What contributed to your project’s success?

I owe most of my success to my supervisor, Mike Beer, for his patience and support during these years. He encourages me to always pursue the most important and exciting scientific problems, and directs me with his unique insights from physics. I also want to thank other members from Beer lab for their help and interesting discussion. Besides that, the ENCODE consortium we are within is an amazing scientific community that brings teams with different expertise together to collaboratively push the boundary of human knowledge on regulatory genomics.

What thoughts do you have about Young Investigators’ Day itself, as a celebration of the roles students and fellows play in research at Johns Hopkins?

Events like Young Investigators’ Day are highly valuable in my opinion. I think it’s really important to motivate trainees who did scientific research and made novel discoveries.

What has been your best/most memorable experience while at Johns Hopkins?

Receiving this award is definitely one of the best moments so far! Besides that, every time my scientific hypothesis got validated is memorable for me.

What are your plans over the next year or so?

I’m planning to pursue a career in academia in the foreseeable future.

Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I have a 20-month-old shiba inu. He is the best companion one could imagine during the pandemic, and practices physical distancing with me at home.