Reporter: Dr. Zhang Zhen, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania
Host: Professor Hu Peng
Time of report: 10:00 am, July 20, 2023
Place of report: Conference Room 1002, Marine Science and Technology Building
About the reporter: Dr. Zhang Zhen is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating from the Department of Forensic Medicine of Shanxi Medical University with a Bachelor’s degree, Dr. Zhang Zhen further obtained a Master’s degree from the Department of Biochemistry of the Fourth Military Medical University under the guidance of Professor Zhang Yingqi. Later, Dr. Zhang Zhen engaged in research as a visiting researcher at Professor Huaiyu Hu’s Laboratory at the SUNY Upstate Medical University, and began to study for a Doctoral degree under the guidance of Professor Chad Slawson at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2011. During the Doctoral period, Dr. Zhang Zhen mainly engaged in research on the regulation of fetal hemoglobin gene transcription and red blood cell development by protein post-translational modification (PTM) O-GlcNAc glycosylation. After obtaining the Doctoral degree in 2017, Dr. Zhang Zhen joined the Laboratories of Junwei Shi and Shelley L. Berger at the University of Pennsylvania for postdoctoral research, and has been engaged in research on the development of new gene-editing systems for primary cells and the epigenetic regulation of exhausted T cells. Recently, the research team of which Dr. Zhang Zhen is a member has successfully established a modified CRISPR-Cas gene-editing system, PAGE（Peptide-Assisted Genome Editing）, which can perform gene editing on multiple primary cells in a quick, efficient, and low-toxicity manner. This achievement was published online by Nature Biotechnology in April 2023, and has been reported by multiple domestic and foreign media, including Penn Medicine, BioArt, and BioWorld. Dr. Zhang Zhen’s research results provide new tools and methods for the development of gene editing, and are expected to play a significant role in disease treatment and gene therapy.