Yuchuan Miao


We study cell migration, a process that plays fundamental roles in normal physiology and disease conditions such as cancer metastasis. We are particularly interested in waves of cytoskeleton and signaling molecules observed near the surface of cells, and my project focused on how they are generated and what roles they play in cell migration. We developed tools to fine-tune wave propagation, and found that properties of these waves determine the types of protrusions that cells use to move around. With different types of protrusions, cells display distinct modes of motility. Our research provides causal evidence to support the idea that waves drive cell migration and shines light on why various cells move in different ways.

Questions & Answers

Why did you choose Johns Hopkins for your work? Johns Hopkins is a world-renowned institution on biomedical research; working here was always my dream. What does receiving this award mean to you personally and professionally? Do you have any connection with the particular award you received? I am very humbled to receive the Michael A. Shanoff Award. This honor brings me tremendous encouragement for my future pursuit of academic careers. What contributed to your project’s success (special skills, interests, opportunities, guidance, etc.)? I am thankful for all the guidance and freedom my mentors gave me. Help from colleagues and hard work also lead to the findings in my project. 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? Students and fellows contribute greatly to the excellence in research at Johns Hopkins and Young Investigators’ Day serves as a recognition and encouragement to them all. What has been your best/most memorable experience while at Johns Hopkins? Running to catch the last JHMI shuttle was my daily exercise. What are your plans over the next year or so?  I plan to graduate soon and move on for postdoctoral research. Tell us something interesting about yourself that makes you unique. Do you have any special hobbies, interests or life experiences? I enjoy cycling, swimming, traveling, singing and learning languages. I believe that colorful activities outside labs are essential to one’s health and success.