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Current Lab members

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Yuwei Jiang, Ph.D
Principle Investigator

Dr. Jiang is originally from China and received her B.S degree in Biological Sciences from Fudan University, China. She was awarded her Ph.D degree in Molecular and Human Genetics from Baylor College of Medicine where she focused on organ development, disease modeling and gene regulations. She then moved to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Developmental Biology and the Division of Endocrinology.

Dr. Jiang started at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) as an assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in August 2018. Her current research focuses on the roles of adipose stem cells in adipose tissue development, expansion, and aging. In her spare time, Dr. Jiang enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, biking and going for short runs. In addition, she likes to spend her free time baking and listening to a wide array of podcasts.

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Dr. Jooman Park, Ph.D
Research Scholar

Jooman received his B.S in the Department of Life Science from Yonsei University, South Korea, and earned M.S. and Ph.D. in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Yonsei University, College of Medicine, South Korea. Previous his studies focused on the mechanisms regulating transcriptional factors by post-translational modification and its functional relevance to Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).


At the Jiang lab, he will investigate the mechanism of extending beige adipocyte longevity, and its role in adipose tissue dysfunction, such as obesity, T2DM, and lipodystrophy. In free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing basketball and soccer, traveling something new place.


Dr. Ruifan Wu, Ph.D
Research Scholar

Ruifan is a postdoctoral at South China Agriculture University, College of Animal Science, China. He received his Ph.D. at Zhejiang University, College of Animal Science, China. His research is focused on post-transcriptional and nutritional regulation of adipogenesis and adipose tissue expansion, and energy metabolism.


At the Jiang lab, he mainly investigates the mechanism of beige adipocyte maintenance. In his free time, he likes playing soccer and watching movies.

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Dr. Yexian Yuan, Ph.D
Research Scholar

Yexian received his Ph.D. in the Department of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science from South China Agricultural University, College of Animal Science, China. Previously his research was focused on adipose metabolism and immunity regulation. 

At the Jiang lab, he is investigating the mechanism of immunity and metabolic disease, such as obesity and diabetes. In his spare time, he loves to play Ping Pang.


Dr. Shaolei Xiong, Ph.D
Post-doctoral Research Associate

Shaolei received a B.S. with honors in ecology from Sun Yat-sen University and M.S. on genomics from Beijing Institute of Genomics, Chinese Academy of Science in China. Then he moved to the US and he studied cavefish evolutionary genetics at Stowers Institute for Biomedical Research with Dr. Nicolas Rohner. For his dissertation, Shaolei focused on revealing the molecular mechanisms that facilitate cavefish to gain higher body fat compared to surface fish after consuming the same amount of food. He found Pachón cavefish develop adipocytes earlier at the larva stage and show adipocyte hypertrophy as adults compared to surface fish. Moreover, he found enhanced lipogenesis through Pparγ in the liver of Pachón cavefish compared to surface fish. As a joint postdoc in Jiang lab, Shaolei is investigating the crosstalk between adipose tissue and the immune system. Moreover, he is also interested in the regulation of mitochondrial in adipose tissues. In addition, his hobbies include fishing, playing volleyball, and watching movies. 

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Zuoxiao (Cedric) Shi
Ph.D Student

Cedric is originally from China and received his B.S. degree in Biochemistry from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Previously, Cedric worked in research labs focused on prostate cancer and neuropathic pain. 

Currently, Cedric is focusing on understanding the nature of developmental adipocyte progenitor cells and their regulations using lineage tracing and transgenic mice. Cedric is a good skier, billiard player and cat lover.

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Ruoci Hu
Ph.D Student

Ruoci is a PhD student in the Jiang lab. She received her B.S in Pharmacy from Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, China, and then got her M.S. degree in College of Pharmacy from Seoul National University, South Korea. Previously she focused on anti-inflammatory effects of natural products and uncovering the underlying mechanisms.

In the Jiang lab, her current research focuses on beige adipocyte formation under physiological and pathological conditions such as aging and obesity. 


Yanyu Qian
Ph.D Student

Yanyu is a PhD student in the Jiang lab. She received her B.S. in Bioengineering from Southwest Jiaotong University, China, and then got her M.S. degree in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois Chicago.

In the Jiang lab, her current research focuses on beige adipocyte formation in different transgenic mouse models.

Yanyu loves rabbits. She is a super fan of Winnie the Pooh and Linabell from Disney.


Asma El-Sabbagh
Undergraduate Student

Asma is an undergraduate student at University of Illinois at Chicago who is majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Mathematics. She is on a pre-med track and has an avid interest in research, both in and out of the laboratory, and math education. She strongly believes that math and science are fundamental ingredients to better  understanding the world, and serving one’s purpose in it. 


At the Jiang Lab, she studies adipose stem cells and the mechanisms by which tissue remodeling can occur.  In her spare time, Asma loves to read, explore forest preserves, trek museums and visit ancient tombs with Pharaonic artifacts in Egypt.

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Sana Syed
Undergraduate Student

Sana is an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is on the pre-med track majoring in Biological Sciences and a minor in Psychology and Chemistry. She has an interest in the molecular and cellular aspect of biology. She believes that psychology will help her better understand the world and people around her.

At the Jiang Lab, she will be assisting in the adipose stem cell research. In her free time, she loves to travel and spend time with her family and friends. She also loves to knit, find new coffee shops, and sketch medical drawings.


Jaden Wang
Undergraduate Student

My name is Jaden Wang, and I’m a freshman at UIC. I’m on the pre-med track as a biomedical engineering major. In my off time, I like working out, playing table tennis, watching TV, and playing video games! 

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Former Lab members

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Lifeng Liu, Ph.D
Research Specialist

Lifeng is a research specialist at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).


At the Jiang Lab, he is interested in the application of adipose-derived stem cells in ameliorating Neurodegenerative diseases. He has 13 years’ experience of clinical neurology in China.

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Sunhye (Sonia) Shin, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Sonia received her B.S. and M.S. in the Department of Food and Nutrition from Seoul National University, South Korea, and earned her Ph.D. in the Interdepartmental Nutrition Program from Purdue University in 2018. In the biochemical and molecular nutrition emphasis group, she studied roles of dietary fatty acids in brown-phenotype acquisition of white adipose tissue using both in vitro and in vivo models. 


In the Jiang lab, she will explore the lineage dynamics of adipose stem cells and investigate their effects on adipose tissue expansion and metabolic disorders. She enjoys traveling, hiking, and watching sports in her free time.

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Brandon Lukas

Master's Student

Brandon received his B.S. in Bioengineering and is currently pursuing his M.S. in Bioinformatics at UIC. He hopes to practice medicine in the future, working directly with patients and using data science and modern technology to better diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases.


In the Jiang lab, Brandon investigates adipose stem cells to try to combat the obesity epidemic, something he believes should be considered a public health concern. In his free time, when he is not volunteering, Brandon enjoys running and coding.

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Aneriben (Aneri) Patel

Undergraduate Student

Aneri is an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is on the pre-med track majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Philosophy. She believes that philosophy is an important component to understanding the ethics and morals of medicine and research as well as holding an important role to establish a way of being and practice in all disciplines.

At the Jiang Lab, she will be assisting in the adipose stem cell research. She loves going on long bike rides and writing poetry and short stories. She also loves snow and the cold. Whenever she gets the chance to, she travels to mountains to ski and snowboard.


Michael Jose Lukas

Undergraduate Student

Michael is a pre-medicine undergraduate bioengineer at University of Illinois at Chicago, concentrating in cell and tissue engineering. He has a strong motivation to bridge the gap between engineering and medicine and solve world real problems through volunteer work and events.


He is interested in biology, chemistry, and physics, and likes applying what he has learned as a bioengineer to make the world a better place. Some of his hobbies include solving puzzles like Rubik's cubes, playing the piano, and video games. He also enjoy traveling, watching classic movies, listening to music, and hanging out with family and friends.

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Maryam Abdul Majid, Ph.D
Research Specialist

Maryam received her B.S and Ph.D in Bioengineering with the concentration in Cell and Tissue from University of Illinois at Chicago. Her Ph.D dissertation research was in the area of Ophthalmology and involved developing a decellularized human cornea to use as a scaffold for reconstructing the corneal epithelium and anterior stroma.


In Jiang’s lab, she  investigated the role of adipose proprietors and different diets on the adipose tissue remodeling and energy expenditure. Maryam specializes in mouse work. She enjoys traveling and learning history of different cultures and watching documentaries. Lately she has developed an interest in meditation.

The Jiang Lab welcomes strong candidates to apply to the lab as postdoctoral fellows, graduate students,  undergraduate students or professional scientists.


Individuals with experience/interest in stem cell, organ development and aging, obesity and diabetes, bioinformatics  or mouse genetics are especially encouraged to apply.

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