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We're excited to share our new paper in JoVE where we present the protocol of a single-molecule imaging-based method for quantifying the dynamics by which proteins interact with each other in biomolecular condensates in live cells. Check out our paper here and click on the video to listen to Shawn Yoshida, the first author, introducing the method. Congratulations Shawn!


Our postdoctoral scholar Barun Kumar Maity has accepted a faculty position at the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in Kolkata, India. Barun will be leaving for the new position in mid-August. Warm congratulations and well done, Barun! We are so proud of you as our first lab alumnus to become a professor. We cherish the time working alongside you and wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors. Meanwhile, our lab is actively recruiting a postdoctoral scholar. Interested applicants, please email Shasha. More information can be found here



Our lab is growing! Michael Di Martino (Bioengineering G1) has officially joined the lab! Michael grew up in Hawaii and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2020 with a B.A. in General Biology with minors in Chemistry and Theatre Arts. His undergraduate research experiences were a combination of biomicrofluidics and immunology. He is presently interested in modeling biological systems, cellular dynamics and precision medicine. Warm welcome, Michael! We are so excited to have you join the team!

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Jiapei Miao (CB&MB G1), officially joins us as our fifth graduate student today! Jiapei is originally from Tianjin, China, and later moved to Singapore. She earned a B.S. in Chemistry from the National University of Singapore. During her undergraduate studies, she worked on a computational project aimed at identifying potential drug candidates targeting PTK6, utilizing the approach of in silico structure-based drug design. Jiapei is a joint graduate student between us and the Thomson Lab. Warm welcome, Jiapei! We are so excited to have you join the team!



Shasha and the Chong Lab received the 2024 CCE Innovation Award that comes with $50,000 of unrestricted research funding. The award-winning project titled "A new method to decode the composition of biomolecular condensates in live human cells"is led by Qinyu Han. Congratulations Shasha and Qinyu!

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Happy New Year! We kicked off the new year with five new members. We are excited to welcome postdocs, Jiamin Guo and Yanghao Zhong, as well as new rotating students, Roujon Nowzari (BMB G1), Jordan Santana (Physics G1) and Andrew Schilling (CB&MB G1). We look forward to working with all of you!



Congratulations to Shasha on receiving a research grant ($75,000) from the Margaret E. Early Medical Research Trust. The Margaret E. Early Medical Research Trust makes annual grants to assist charitable organizations conducting research into the causes, treatment, and potential cures for cancer and related diseases. Congratulations Shasha!



We welcome Sophia Gonzalez (CB&MB G1), our newest rotation student today. Welcome, Sophia, we look forward to working with you!

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We have two new rotation students in the lab: Chi Zhang (Chem G1) starting Oct. 31, and Michael Di Martino (Bioengineering G1) starting Nov. 6. Welcome to the team! We look forward to working with both of you!

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A huge congratulations to Qinyu Han for winning the CCE Seminar Day Speaker Award, for her talk titled, "Mapping protein interactomes in biomolecular condensates in live cells." We are so proud of you Qinyu! 



Molecular Cell hosted a Meet the Authors Q&A where the three senior authors of our recent paper, including Shasha, discuss their research, career, mentorship philosophy, and more. Check it out here!


We are excited to welcome Emily Tu to the lab! Born and raised in Southern California, Emily is working towards attaining a B.S. in bioengineering at Caltech. She has joined us to understand the inner-workings of a professional lab and to further explore her interests regarding cancer treatment and prevention within the realm of molecular biology.

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The lab celebrates a fantastic week with a lovely lunch at the Athenaeum. We've just got a new article published in Molecular Cell and received research funding from the Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation. Congratulations Qinyu, Barun, and Shawn for publishing and thanks all for the hard work! Check out our new paper "Hormone-induced enhancer assembly requires an optimal level of hormone receptor multivalent interactions".

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Congratulations to Shasha on receiving the Mallinckrodt Research Grant Award from the Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation, which supports the lab's research in the coming year with $75,000 of funding. The Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation supports early-stage biomedical investigators engaged in basic and translational research that has the potential to make fundamental advances in biomedical science. Congratulations Shasha!

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Jiapei Miao (CB&MB G1) starts her rotation with us. Welcome Jiapei, we look forward to working with you!

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The lab celebrated Anish Somani, our summer AMGEN scholar's, last day with a fun and casual dinner intended to recognize all of his hard work over the summer. Although we are sad to see Anish go, we are thrilled that he'll be returning to UC Berkeley with more experience and knowledge under his professional belt. Thank you, Anish, it's been a pleasure working with you - we'll miss you!

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We celebrated our two July birthdays: Shawn Yoshida and Jonathan Banh! Gentlemen, we are proud and grateful to have you in the lab. We wish both of you another wonderful year full of happiness, wellness, and prosperity. Happy Birthday indeed!

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We are excited to welcome Anish Somani (Amgen Scholar, undergraduate student at UC Berkeley) to the lab. We hope you have a productive and enjoyable summer working with us!


We are excited to have Jonathan Banh join us as a post-baccalaureate student! A Los Angeles native, Jonathan graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2023 with a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. He joined the Chong Lab in order to further explore research as an aspiring physician-scientist. His interests lie in exploring cellular transcriptional control in the context of disease pathogenesis. Warm welcome, Jonathan!

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We published an article where we review popular cell fixation methods and discuss their abilities to faithfully preserve intracellular protein localizations and mechanisms underlying fixation artifacts. Kudos to Shawn and Barun! Check out the details "Visualizing protein localizations in fixed cells: caveats and the underlying mechanisms".



Anthony Gutierrez (Bio G1), officially joins us as our fourth graduate student today! Anthony grew up in the Los Angeles area and obtained his B.S. in Microbiology from California State University-Northridge. During his undergraduate studies, he studied the role of a phospholipid synthase on the dynamics of cytoskeletal proteins and cell membrane interactions within Caulobacter crescentus. He is currently broadly interested in infectious disease, pathology, and regulation of gene transcription and expression. Warm welcome, Anthony! We are so excited to have you join the team!

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Warm congratulations to Shawn Yoshida for being awarded a 2023 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! So well deserved. Looking forward to more of your success!



We are excited to read a beautiful Insight article published on eLife today regarding our recently published findings that PFA fixation can both enhance and diminish the appearance of phase separation in living cells. Many thanks to the author, Judith Miné-Hattab, and the eLife team! Check out the Insight article "Condensates: When fixation creates fiction."



Today we celebrated Qinyu's birthday! Happy Birthday, Qinyu, and many happy returns! Qinyu's excellent contribution to our collaborative project with Xiaotian Zhang's lab at UTHealth Houston has also just earned our lab a subaward over the next two years from the American Association of Cancer Research. Thank you and congratulations, Qinyu! 



Happy New Year! We are excited to welcome Wren Stiefel (Chemistry, rotation student) and Junpeng Gao (BMB, rotation student) to the lab. We hope you both have a productive and enjoyable term working with us!


We start to have group lunches celebrating team members' birthdays. Excited to have the first birthday lunch of the series today honoring Barun! Happy Birthday, Barun, and many happy returns!


We celebrate a fantastic week where we've got two papers come out together! Congratulations Qinyu, Shawn, and Victoria for publishing! Thanks to Sadie for getting us the delicious cakes and champagnes. Check out details of our work in "Mutant NPM1 hijacks transcriptional hub to maintain pathogenic gene programs in acute myeloid leukemia" and "Fixation can change the appearance of phase separation in living cells".


Anthony Gutierrez (Biology G1) starts his rotation with us. Welcome Anthony!


We are excited to have Barun Kumar Maity officially join us as a postdoctoral scholar. Barun grew up in India. He obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Calcutta, his M.S. in Chemistry from IIT Kanpur, and his Ph.D. in Chemical Sciences from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. During his PhD, Barun studied amyloid aggregation and developed novel microscopy and spectroscopy methods. During his first postdoc in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he developed new super-resolution imaging methods. In the Chong Lab, he investigates how intrinsically disordered regions of oncogenic transcription factors play a role in oncogenesis using single-molecule imaging and genome engineering approaches. Welcome Barun!



We are excited to have Jenny Jang officially join us as a research technician. Jenny is originally from Seoul, South Korea and grew up in Los Angeles. She received her B.S. in Science-Business from the University of Notre Dame and M.S. in Medical Sciences from Boston University. Her previous research entailed studying the differentiation and regeneration pathway of hematopoietic stem cells. Jenny is currently interested in using single-molecule imaging and genome editing techniques to study the mechanism behind LCD-mediated transcriptional regulation.



Jamie Takashima (Chem G1), officially joins us as our third graduate student today! Jamie grew up in Mountain View, CA and earned their BS in Chemistry and BS in Biochemistry at the University of Arizona. During their undergraduate research, they studied the interactome of the chemotactic receptor cAR1 in the lab of Prof. Pascale Charest. Jamie is a joint graduate student between us and the Hsieh-Wilson Lab. They are interested in studying the effect of post-translational modifications on multivalent interactions between the intrinsically disordered regions of proteins. Warm welcome, Jamie! We are so excited to have you join the team!

Shasha was awarded a Merkin Innovation Seed grant from Caltech's Merkin Institute for Translational Research! These awards provide early support and funding for translational projects with an emphasis on partnering with clinicians. Shasha's research proposal has earned the lab an award of $100,000 for the next year. Congratulations Shasha!


We are excited to welcome William Liu (Cambridge Scholar) to the lab. We hope you have a productive and enjoyable summer working with us!


We are excited to welcome Nina Le (BMB, G1, rotation student) and Michael Xiong (Amgen Scholar) to the lab. We hope you both have a productive and enjoyable summer working with us!


Shasha was named a 2022 Pew–Stewart Scholar for Cancer Research! The Pew–Stewart Scholars Program for Cancer Research is a national initiative designed to support promising early-career scientists whose research will accelerate discovery and advance progress to a cure for cancer. Shasha is among six scholars of the 2022 class who were recognized for their research and potential to solve some of cancer's greatest challenges. With this award, Shasha earns the lab $300,000 research funding over the next four years. Congratulations Shasha!


Big Day today as we celebrate the full installation of our brand new Nikon microscope that has the capabilities of point-scan confocal imaging, single-molecule imaging, and high-content imaging. Can't wait to acquire interesting data using the new microscope! Thanks to Nikon Instruments and Caltech Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering for making this happen.


Shasha was named a 2022 Searle Scholar! The Searle Scholars Program supports the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry who have recently been appointed as assistant professors. The Program’s Scientific Advisory Board chooses the Scholars based on rigorous standards aimed at finding the most creative talent interested in pursuing an academic research career. Shasha's research proposal has earned the lab an award of $300,000 over the next three years. Congratulations Shasha!


Our first paper came out in Molecular Cell today! This is Shasha’s work together with the Tjian/Darzacq Lab at UC Berkeley. We report that endogenous gene transcription requires narrow optimum of transcription factor (TF) low-complexity domain (LCD) multivalent interactions, and phase separation can be counterproductive (A). We also show that mislocalized TF LCD multivalent interactions can outcompete stochiometric TF-DNA binding and sequester a TF away from its target genes to distrupt its functions, indicating a new therapeutic strategy for targeting disease-causing TFs, e.g., EWS::FLI1 (B). Furthermore, we provide proof-of-concept demonstration that single-molecule measurements of protein diffusion rates can serve as an effective means for detecting phase separation in vivo. We detected a slower TF diffusion in the phase-separated nucleolus than in the nucleoplasm (C). Check out the details in "Tuning levels of low-complexity domain interactions to modulate endogenous oncogenic transcription."

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Shawn Yoshida (BMB, G1) officially joins us as our second graduate student today! Shawn is originally from Tokyo, Japan and grew up in Illinois. He earned a B.A. in Physics from Case Western Reserve University, where he applied novel super-resolution techniques to the characterization of biomolecular diffusion in the extracellular matrix. He is currently interested in the dynamics of transcriptional regulation. Warm welcome, Shawn! We are so excited to have you join the team!



We are excited to move to our newly renovated space at Braun Laboratories today! The brand new space is now fully equipped and we look forward to making interesting discoveries here. Many thanks to Caltech Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and Alex Moving for making all this happen!



We are so excited to receive our first external research grant from the Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation, which will fund the lab with $250,000 per year in the next two years. Thanks so much for the generous support! 


We welcome 3 new rotation students, Rongrong Du (Bioengineering G1), Chuqi Lu (Chem G1), and Allen Chen (BMB G1), to the lab. We hope you have a productive and enjoyable rotation with us this quarter! 


Happy Holidays from the Chong Lab! Our brand new space in the basement of Braun Laboratories is completed. A big thanks goes to Caltech Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Caltech Design & Construction, and Swinerton. We are excited to fill the space with equipment and move in the New Year!


Bo Li (Chem G1) starts his rotation with us. Welcome Bo!


Shawn Yoshida and Andres Orta presented their rotation work at the BMB rotation symposium. They gave great talks, and we wish them continued success in their next rotations!


Qinyu Han (Chem, G1) officially joins us as our first graduate student today after her rotation! Qinyu obtained her B.S. in Chemistry and Biological Chemistry from Nanyang Technological University. During her undergraduate research, she developed various fluorescent probes for biosensing and nanotherapy. In her Ph.D. study, Qinyu is interested in using quantitative imaging approaches to understand complex biological processes in mammalian cells. Warm welcome, Qinyu! We are so excited to have you join the team!


Ziyan Wu (Chem G1) starts to rotate with us. Welcome Ziyan!


Shasha has been appointed as a Ronald and JoAnne Willens Scholar by Caltech. Congratulations Shasha!


The academic year starts and we are excited to have four graduate students rotate with us in the Fall Quarter. Welcome Qinyu Han (Chem G1), Kent Leslie (Bio G1), Shawn Yoshida (BMB G1), and Andres Orta (BMB G1)!


We are so grateful to receive a generous gift from the John D Baldeschwieler & Marlene R Konnar Foundation in support of our research!


We are excited to have Shawn (Zhao) Irgen-Gioro officially join us as a postdoctoral fellow. Shawn received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northwestern University and his B.A. in Physics from U.C. Berkeley. He developed an understanding of potential energy landscape of individual proteins through many spectroscopy and microscopy experiments during his graduate study. In his postdoc, he hopes to cultivate an understanding of the living world through studying interactions of proteins by high-resolution imaging. Welcome Shawn!


We are excited to have Victoria Walling officially join us as a lab technician. Victoria a SoCal native that grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. She received her B.S. in Microbiology from UC San Diego and has previously worked with various start-up biotech companies. Welcome Victoria!


Grand opening of the Chong Lab! Thanks to the support from Caltech Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, we have a fully equipped lab since Day 1! We temporarily locate in B106 ​Norman W. Church Laboratory for Chemical Biology while our space in Braun Laboratory is under renovation. We are very grateful to colleagues in the Ondrus Lab who let us share the space with them.

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