I am a biochem and cell biology graduate student, with an emphasis on biostatistics and cancer biology. In my lab, we focused on mitochondria health and its potential role in various types of diseases development. My focus is to understand how mitochondria bioenergetic and biosynthetic changes impact cancer progression and metabolism, including leukemia, glioblastoma and breast cancers.
I consider myself an open and highly-motivated person, eager to listen, help and collaborate with my peers, not afraid to take responsibility where they are due, striving always to learn and be better. In brief, my professional goal is to be part of teams developing solutions that will ultimately lead to people living longer and healthier lives either through working on new drugs and therapies or providing support for such projects and technologies.
Development of a high-throughput screening assay for identification of mitocans
Utilizing synergetic potential of mitochondria-targeting drugs for leukemia treatment development.
Identification of mitophagy activators PINK-1 stabilizing (PS) compounds in C. elegans model
Study of mechanisms of novel PINK-1 stabilizers' selectivity in human leukemic cells
1. Discovered and optimized a high-throughput screening cytotoxicity assay for mitocan selection.
2. Discovered the changes in mitochondrial bioenergetic parameters in leukemia.
3. Observed sensitivity of leukemia (both in cell lines and in primary cells) to mitochondria-targeting drugs and their combinations with typical chemotherapeutic agents.
4. Identified 8 PS molecules activated mitophagy in C.elegans.
5. Discovered potential neuroprotective effect of PS molecules in C.elegans model of Alzheimer's disease.
6. Verified cytotoxicity of PS compounds in human glial and epithelial cells.
7. Discovered the changes in mitochondrial bioenergetic parameters in leukemia.
8. Observed sensitivity of leukemia (both in cell lines and in primary cells) to PS compounds and their combinations with typical chemotherapeutic agents.
9. Observed the potential of PS compounds that induced caspase-independent cell death mechanism (ferroptosis and necroptosis) in leukemia upon caspase inhibition.
Study of a non-human sialic acid's immunosuppression effect to innate immune system via Siglec pathway.
Expanding genetic code with a non-canonical amino acids.
1. Built lab standard for cancer lines and human primary cell culture.
2. Drafted protocols for viral transduction, flow-cytometry, cytotoxicity assay protocol and PBMC isolation.
3. Observed NK killing resistance in multiple breast cancer cell lines with over-expression of Neu5Gc sialic acid. The resistance of NK induced killing effect on cancer cells is removed when Neu5Gc was removed from the target cells by internal expression of sialidase.
1. Overall gpa 3.89
2. Top 5% of class
3. National scholarship of Peking University (2013-2014)
1. Overall gpa 3.65
2. 2015-2016: Vice President of UT Chinese Student & Scholars Association(CSSA)
3. 2014-2016: Vice president of Department of Propaganda in Dream Corp. at Austin
4. 2014-2015: College honor of College of Natural Science
1. Pei J, Panina SB, Kirienko NV. An Automated Differential Nuclear Staining Assay for Accurate Determination of Mitocan Cytotoxicity. J Vis Exp. 2020 May 12;(159). doi: 10.3791/61295. PMID: 32478749.
2. Panina SB, Pei J, Baran N, Konopleva M, Kirienko NV. Utilizing Synergistic Potential of Mitochondria-Targeting Drugs for Leukemia Therapy. Front Oncol. 2020 Apr 3;10:435. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2020.00435. PMID: 32318340; PMCID: PMC7146088.
3. Panina SB, Pei J, Kirienko NV. Mitochondrial metabolism as a target for acute myeloid leukemia treatment. Cancer Metab. 2021 Apr 21;9(1):17. doi: 10.1186/s40170-021-00253-w. PMID: 33883040; PMCID: PMC8058979.
4. Tang J, Robichaux MA, Wu KL, Pei J, Nguyen NT, Zhou Y, Wensel TG, Xiao H. Single-Atom Fluorescence Switch: A General Approach toward Visible-Light-Activated Dyes for Biological Imaging. J Am Chem Soc. 2019 Sep 18;141(37):14699-14706. doi: 10.1021/jacs.9b06237. Epub 2019 Sep 9. PMID: 31450884; PMCID: PMC6812504.
5. Chen Y, Wu KL, Tang J, Loredo A, Clements J, Pei J, Peng Z, Gupta R, Fang X, Xiao H. Addition of Isocyanide-Containing Amino Acids to the Genetic Code for Protein Labeling and Activation. ACS Chem Biol. 2019 Dec 20;14(12):2793-2799. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.9b00678. Epub 2019 Nov 14. PMID: 31682403; PMCID: PMC6925311.
6. Tjahjono E, Pei J, Revtovich AV, Liu T, Swadi A, Kirienko NV. Small Molecule Stabilization of PINK-1/PINK1 Improves Neurodegenerative Disease. BioRxiv 2021.06.07.447442; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.07.447442
7. Pei J, Panina SB, Baran N, Konopleva M, Kirienko NV. Novel PINK-1 stabilizing compounds identified in C. elegans model selectively eradicate human leukemic cells.(Manuscriptinpreparation)
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