Shasha Chong, Ph.D., Principal Investigator 

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA


Office: 150 Braun Laboratory

Shasha obtained her B.S. in Chemistry from University of Science & Technology of China and her Ph.D. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology from Harvard University. She did her postdoctoral research at University of California, Berkeley and joined the faculty of California Institute of Technology in August 2021. As a Ph.D. student under the direction of Xiaoliang Sunney Xie, Shasha developed novel optical imaging modalities and achieved detection of single-molecule optical absorption at room temperature. Then she ventured into the study of DNA-protein interactions and stochastic gene expression by in vitro single-molecule imaging. In particular, she developed a single-molecule RNA-imaging assay to tackle the mechanism of transcriptional bursting of highly expressed genes in E. coli. Her deep interest in more complex regulatory behaviors led her to move from bacteria to mammals for her postdoctoral research. In the joint laboratories of Robert Tjian and Xavier Darzacq, she combined powerful single-cell and single-molecule imaging tools with genome editing and genetics approaches to investigate how intrinsically disordered regions in human transcription factors perform critical functions in transcriptional regulation and oncogenesis. Her independent research group employs multidisciplinary approaches to tackle the fundamental rules that govern the interaction behaviors of intrinsically disordered regions and elucidate their roles in regulating gene transcription under normal and disease conditions. 


Shawn (Zhao) Irgen-Gioro, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow

Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2021
B.A., U.C. Berkeley, 2015


Shawn received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University's Department of Chemistry, where he studied with Prof. Elad Harel and Prof. Emily A. Weiss. He is fascinated by collective behavior and emergent phenomena. This led him to study semi-classical and quantum coherence in his graduate work, where he developed an understanding of the potential energy landscapes of individual proteins through non-linear spectroscopy and fluorescence microscopy. He has built numerous optical experiments ranging from multidimensional electronic spectroscopy to cryogenic single particle confocal microscopes. Shawn is joining the Chong Lab in September 2021. In his postdoc, he hopes to cultivate an understanding of the living world through the interactions of proteins. Shawn received his undergraduate degree in Physics from U.C. Berkeley, where he worked with Prof. Rich Saykally.