Meet our team
Yarui Diao, PhD
Assistant Professor of Cell Biology
Yarui obtained his B.Sc and PhD from Nanjing University and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2006 and 2011, respectively. In 2013, he joined Dr. Bing Ren's lab at UC San Diego as a postdoc fellow to receive the training on genomics and gene regulation. His postdoc work was supported by the prestigious Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) long-term fellowship. His graduate work was focused on signaling transduction, transcriptional, and epigenetic regulation of myogenesis in muscle stem cell and rhabdomyosarcoma. As a HFSP fellow, he spearheaded the effort to develop high-throughput CRISPR-based genetic screening approaches to identify enhancers from the native chromatin context. He has also made key contribution to generate the 3D cis-regulatory chromatin interaction maps in 27 human tissue and cell types. In the Fall of 2018, with 8 faculty job offers (from 11 interviews) in the U.S., he decided to move to North Carolina and established his independent research program at Duke Cell Biology. As a junior faculty, he continues the effort of developing and deploying cutting-edge function genomics tools to study the gene regulation mechanism of tissue regeneration and cancer development. He is awarded the NIH Genomic Innovator Awards, V Scholar for Cancer Research, Junior faculty award from American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) and Glenn Foundation, and the Whitehead Scholar of Duke Medical School. He has been a key member of ENCODE and 4D Nucleome consortium, and now serving as Co-Chair of the Cell and Perturbation Working Group of 4DN Consortium. When he is not thinking about research, he might be doing BBQ in his backyard and spending time with his two kids Emily and Olivia.
Xiaolin Wei, PhD
Xiaolin obtained his PhD from Peking University /Tsinghua University /NIBS (PTN) joint program (the best biomedical graduate training program in China). His PhD work with Dr. Xiao Liu was focused to develop novel genome assembly method by designing barcoded BAC libraries. He joined the Diao lab in 2018, and he is our technology guru on genomics technologies. His projects are to develop multi-omics single cell co-assays that can be used to profile chromatin structure and gene expression in complex tissue.
Tongyu Sun, PhD
Tongyu received his PhD training at Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences with Dr. Jun Qin to study epigenetic regulation and tumorigenesis. He joined our lab in 2019 and spearheaded the effort to develop CRISPR-BioID proteomic approaches to study mechanism controlling the activity of non-coding regulatory DNA and RNA.
Xin Lin, PhD
Xin received his PhD on Veterinary Medicine at Zhejiang University, China with Dr. Caiqiao Zhang. His graduate work is to study the degradation and functions of the regressed ovarian follicles in chickens. Now he is focused on transcriptional and epigenetic control mechanisms determining skeletal muscle regeneration and rhabdomyosarcoma tumorigenesis.
Yaneli Guerra Hernandez
Enxiang Zhang, PhD
Enxiang received his PhD from China Agricultural University in 2020 to study metabolic liver diseases. Prior to joining the Diao lab in Sep 2022, he finished his first postdoc training at Westlake University, mainly working on epigenetic regulation in liver regeneration and liver cancer. His current research focus is to decipher the epigenetic mechanism of muscle injury and regeneration using single-cell multi-omics co-assays.
Arinze was admitted by Duke BME PhD program and is currently a PhD student in Cell Biology. Prior to joining Duke, Arinze received his training in Human Physiology, Genetics, Bioinformatics and Data Science. He believe next generation -omics technologies will play an important role in health and research in the future. Thus, his interests lie at the intersection of Stem Cell Biology, Computational Genomics and Machine Learning. He enjoy integrating these in exploring the complex biology of regeneration and gene regulation among other complex things 🙂. He is awarded the Morton H. Friedman Fellowship from the Department of BME and the Burroughs-Wellcome Graduate Fellowship from School of Medicine. In his free time, he love to sing, cook, and hang out with people.
Joy Ban, PhD
(Co-mentored with Dr. Ben Alman)
Joy finished my Ph.D from Rosa Serra lab in University Alabama at Birmingham. During her doctoral course, she studied connective tissue development, especially TGF-b role in intervertebral disc development, by using mouse model and stem-like cells. After joining Duke, she is studying a disease of connective tissue like sarcoma. She is focusing on the role of epigenetic factors in undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS) metastasis under the guidance of Dr. Alman and Dr. Diao.
Derek Peters, MD, PhD
Derek received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School and was a member of the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology (HST). His Ph.D. research in the laboratories of Dr. Chad Cowan and Dr. Kiran Musunuru focused on the application of genome editing and human pluripotent stem cells to characterize genetic variation underlying common human diseases. Derek joined our lab in 2020 as a postdoctoral fellow after completing two years of clinical training in general surgery at Duke. Derek is studying gene regulation during skeletal muscle regeneration and investigating how abnormal regeneration may contribute to the development of human diseases including critical limb ischemia.
Lizhi Yi, PhD