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October 2023 QCB Newsletter

e-Newsletter Volume 3 Issue 7 | October 2023

Personal Remarks by Dr. Remo Rohs

I will be honest that I didn’t know how to start this month’s newsletter. I support that it is not the role of departments to make political statements. These are my brief personal remarks and I will say that this month, the unimaginable happened. I feel the pain of everyone who is affected. I want to thank everyone who reached out to colleagues near or far and checked in on students. Please remain vigilant and make the well-being of our community a priority.

What awaits us in QCB in the coming month? The main event is our departmental retreat on November 11th and 12th in Ventura, CA. Our graduate students will present their research at the retreat through talks and posters, and there will be plenty of opportunities to network, find new friendships, and strengthen the community of the department.

The keynote speaker at this year’s QCB retreat will be Professor Mike Levine from Princeton University who is spending some time in the Rohs and Fudenberg labs this semester. Mike was the chair of the external review committee evaluating the QCB Department. What better feedback can we get, than after reviewing us, deciding to spend a sabbatical with us?

In November, we will also finally open our new departmental administrative office. While we are sad that our QBIO undergraduate students can no longer utilize this cherished space, we would like to thank the Dornsife Dean’s office and Alfonso D’Onofrio for making it possible for us to operate a department administrative unit.

Remo Rohs, Ph.D.

QCB Department Chair

QCB PhD Program Applications

Please see the flyer above for QCB PhD Program Applications and spread the word! We will be accepting applications until December 15th, 2023. Contact Christian Robbie at for any questions. You can also directly apply through this website:

QCB Faculty

The lab of QCB joint faculty Dr. Cornelius Gati published a breakthrough paper in Cell titled “Molecular basis of anaphylatoxin binding, activation, and signaling bias at complement receptors”. The study reveals 9 cryo-EM structures of the key immune system receptors C5aR1 and C3aR in complex with different G proteins and ligands, explaining their biological and pathological mechanisms. This paper can be found here, and Dornsife press coverage here.

Dr. Stacey Finley co-chaired the 2023 Annual Meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), held in Seattle, WA Oct. 11-14. This event is the nation’s leading showcase of the latest biomedical engineering research and innovation, and this year included 18 tracks with over 50 sessions and more than 4800 attendees. Read more about this event here.

Dr. Steve Kay planned and co-chaired the Keck-Viterbi Retreat titled “Synthetic Biology, Tissue Engineering, and Cellular Therapies”, held at Michelson Hall (MCB) on October 30, 2023.

QCB Graduate Students

Yuxuan Du from Dr. Fengzhu Sun lab published a paper titled, “MetaCC allows scalable and integrative analyses of both long-read and short-read metagenomic Hi-C data” in Nature Communications. They developed a unified metagenomic contig binning approach for both long and short reads using metagenomic Hi-C data. This is Yuxuan’s fifth paper and second Nature Communications paper during his graduate studies. Read the paper here.

Yilin Gao from Dr. Fengzhu Sun’s lab published a paper “Batch normalization followed by merging is powerful for phenotype prediction integrating multiple heterogeneous studies” in PLoS Computational Biology. They investigated optimal approaches for phenotype prediction integrating multiple heterogenous metagenomic data. Read more here.

Tianqi Tang of Dr. Fengzhu Sun’s lab successfully defended his dissertation “Machine learning in sorting metagenomics sequences”. He will be a postdoctoral fellow at University of California San Francisco. Congratulations, Tianqi!

QBIO Undergraduate Students

The Quantitative Biology Association (QBA) held their second general meeting in October. This event brought in a panel consisting of Dr. Peter Calabrese (QCB Faculty), Nicholas Markarian (USC/Caltech MD/PhD Candidate), Raktim Mitra (QCB PhD Candidate), and Kayla Xu (City of Hope Researcher). QBA members learned about the world of research within QBIO, and got to speak with the panelists about pursuing career paths within academia and research fields.

Upcoming Events

November 2nd @ 2pm (RRI 101): Seminar from Russell Rockne, City of Hope.

November 9th @ 2pm (RRI 101): Seminar from Lorin Crawford, Brown University & Microsoft Research.

November 14th @ 6pm (RRI 101): Quantitative Biology Association (QBA) General Meeting #3.

November 16th @ 2pm (RRI 101): Seminar from Katie Galloway, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

November 30th @ 12:30pm (TRF-120B): Seminar from Alexander Tropsha, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

November 30th @ 2pm (RRI 101): Seminar from Alison Feder, University of Washington.

QCB Job Announcement

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