Talented UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry scientists have been selected for the department's 2020 Postdoctoral Research Awards.
Dr. Qin Cao (Eisenberg group), Dr. Lucía Fernández del Río (C. Clarke group), Dr. Chuancheng Jia (Duan group), and Dr. Dennis Svatunek (Houk group) were chosen for the award from a highly competitive group of nominations. The awardees will be honored at the 2020 Departmental Awards Ceremony in the future.
Dr. Qin Cao was nominated for the award for his 2019 determination of four polymorphic structures of fibrils of the pathogenic protein TDP-43 (Cao et al. Nature Structure and Molecular Biology). (He was in the postdoctoral series while this work was accomplished and published.) These are the first, and so far only molecular structures of this protein, found in fibrous form in the brains of patients with ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. “Qin is both an extremely talented structural biologist and bench biochemist,” Professor David Eisenberg wrote in his nomination letter. Cao received his B.Sc. in Bioengineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (2008) and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (2013) with Professor Xiao-Dong Su. He joined Eisenberg’s lab as postdoctoral scholar in 2013. He was recently promoted to Assistant project scientist and is currently applying for positions as assistant professor.
Dr. Lucía Fernández del Río was nominated for the award for her research on Coenzyme Q Transportation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. “Lucía is an incredibly important member of my group,” wrote Professor Catherine Clarke in her nomination letter. “I particularly value her interactions with the graduate and undergraduate students in my group because she is scientifically curious, brings great energy and optimism to every problem she tackles, and inspires the students she mentors.” Fernández del Río received her B.Sc. in Biology (2011), M.Sc. (2012) in Molecular, Cellular and Genetic Biotechnology, and her Ph.D. in Biomedicine (2017) from the University of Córdoba, Spain. Fernández del Río first came to UCLA in the summer of 2016 when she visited Clarke’s lab as a graduate student. She then returned in 2017 as a postdoctoral scholar. She recently received the Molecular Biology Institute’s 2020 Boyer/Parvin Postdoctoral Award.