Yigong Shi, Ph.D. Yigong Shi received his undergraduate education from 1985 to 1989 at Tsinghua University, with a major in Biology and a minor in Mathematics. He graduated one year ahead of his class and received his Bachelor’s Degree in 1989. He spent three months at the Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, before transferring to the Inter-campus Program in Molecular Biophysics (IPMB) at Johns Hopkins University in 1990. He performed his doctoral thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Jeremy Mark Berg. As a graduate student, he discovered that the C2H2-type zinc fingers prefer RNA-DNA hybrid over DNA duplex and that zinc fingers can unwind DNA upon binding. He received his Ph.D. Degree in 1995 at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. After a transitional period, Yigong Shi began his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Nikola P. Pavletich at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in early 1996. He spearheaded the structural biology projects on SMAD proteins in TGF- signaling, PTEN, and BRCA1 projects. He elucidated the first piece of structural information on SMAD4 (also known as DPC4), which is mutated in 50 percent of pancreatic cancers. He was offered an Assistant Professorship by Princeton University in April 1997 and delayed joining Princeton until January 1998. At Princeton, Yigong Shi initially continued his research effort on SMAD proteins in TGF- signaling but quickly expanded into programmed cell death (apoptosis). With more than 40 crystal structures and associated biochemical characterization, Yigong Shi’s laboratory was the major contributor in the structural biology of both TGF- signaling and apoptosis. He was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2001 and Full Professor in 2003. Currently, Yigong Shi is the Warner-Lambert Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University. He was a Searle Scholar and a Rita Allen Scholar. His laboratory has determined more than 80 crystal structures of important proteins and protein complexes in the last 10 years. Yigong Shi has authored more than 90 research papers, including 28 in Cell, Nature, and Science. For his research contributions, Dr. Shi has received a number of recognitions, including the 2003 Irving Sigal Young Investigator Award from the Protein Society. Although Yigong Shi is best known for his research accomplishment in apoptosis, he has made important contributions to a number of other biological research areas, such as regulation of hemoglobin stability, intramembrane proteolysis, deubiquitinating enzymes and proteosomes, etc. In this seminar, he will focus on the systematic structural biology effort aimed at understanding protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). Background reading for this seminar: Yang Chao, Yongna Xing, Yu Chen, Yanhui Xu, Zheng Lin, Zhu Li, Philip D. Jeffrey, Jeffry B. Stock and Yigong Shi (2006). Structure and Mechanism of the Phosphotyrosyl Phosphatase Activator. Mol. Cell 23, 535-546.
Xing Yongna, Yanhui Xu, Yu Chen, Philip D. Jeffrey, Yang Chao, Zheng Lin, Zhu Li, Stefan Strack, Jeffry B Stock, and Yigong Shi (2006). Structure of Protein Phosphatase 2A Bound to Tumor-inducing Toxins. Cell 127, 341-352. Yanhui Xu, Xing Yongna, Yu Chen, Yang Chao, Zheng Lin, Eugene Fan, Jong W. Yu, Stefan Strack, Philip D. Jeffrey, and Yigong Shi (2006). Structure of the Protein Phosphatase 2A Holoenzyme. Cell 127, 1239–1251. Yu Chen, Yanhui Xu, Qing Bao, Yongna Xing, Zhu Li, Zheng Lin, Jeffry Stock, Philip P. Jeffrey, Yigong Shi (2007). Structural and biochemical insights into the regulation of protein phosphatase 2A by small t antigen of SV40. Nature Struct Mol Biol. 14(6), 527-34. Epub 2007 May 27.