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Lian He
Associate Professor


Dr. Lian He is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech). Dr. He obtained her Ph. D. in Medical Sciences from Texas A&M University and received postdoctoral training at the Center for Translational Cancer Research, Texas A&M Institute of Biosciences & Technology. Dr. He joined SUSTech in May 2022 as a tenure-track assistant professor. Her lab is mainly focused on engineering next-generation deep-tissue and light-controllable molecular switches, programmable therapies (e.g. CAR-T cell-based therapy and Biologics), and all-optical genetic perturbation and drug screening platforms that promise to accelerate both basic and translational studies. Dr. He has published over 40 research and review articles in Nature Cell Biology, Nature Chemical Biology, Nucleic Acids Research, Advanced Science, Nature Communications, eLife, etc.



2012 – 2018, Ph.D. in Medical Sciences, Texas A&M University (TAMU) College Station, TX, USA        

2008 – 2011, M.S. in Molecular Evolution, Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) School of Life Sciences, Guangzhou, P.R. China

2004 – 2008 B.S. in Biotechnology, Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) School of Life Sciences, Guangzhou, P.R. China



May 2022 – present, Assistant Professor, Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) School of Medicine, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

Jun 2018 – March 2022, Postdoctoral Associate, Texas A&M University (TAMU) College of Medicine, College Station, TX, USA



2021   3rd Prize Winner, 34th Annual Symposium, Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America-TX,

2021   3rd Prize Winner, Outstanding Poster Awards (Postdoc), Research Symposium, TAMU

2018   Best Poster Award, 2018 FASEB Research Conference

2017   Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad

2017   Robert and Anabel Bruce Travel Award, TAMU

2017   Texas A&M IBT Travel awards, TAMU

2016   Pre-doctoral Research Fellowship, The Welch Foundation

2016   Outstanding Poster Awards, Gulf Coast Consortia (GCC), Houston

2013   Outstanding Poster Awards, Texas A&M IBT Research Symposium, TAMU



(1)Calcium release-activated channels (CRAC) and immunosuppressive drug screen

(2)Optogenetic immunomodulation and immunotherapies

(3)Next-generation deep-tissue optogenetic and chemogenetic tools and devices

(4)Intrabodies and biologics (e.g. nanobody, monobody) development 



(# denotes co-first authors; * denotes corresponding authors)

1.    Tan P*, Hong T, Cai X, Li W, Huang Y, He L*, Zhou Y*. Optical control of protein delivery and partitioning in the nucleolus. Nucleic Acids Research 2022, doi: 10.1093/nar/gkac191.

2.    Tan P#, He L#, Huang Y, and Zhou Y. Optophysiology: illuminating cell physiology with optogenetics. Physiological Reviews 2022,102(3):1263-1325.

3.    Xie J, Ma G, Zhou L, He L, Zhang Z, Tan P, Huang Z, Fang S, Wang T, Lee YT, Wen S, Siwko S, Wang L, Liu J, Du Y, Zhang N, Liu X, Han L, Huang Y, Wang R, Wang Y, Zhou Y, and Han W. Identification of a STIM1 Splicing Variant that Promotes Glioblastoma Growth. Advanced Science 2022,25;e2103940.

4.    He L#, Huang Z#, Huang K#, Chen R, Nguyen N, Wang R, Cai X, Huang Z, Han G, Zhou Y and Jing J. Optogenetic control of non-apoptotic cell death. Advanced Science 2021,8(13):2100424.

5.    He L#, Tan P#, Zhu L#, Huang K#, Nguyen N, Wang R, Guo L, Li L, Yang Y, Huang Z, Huang Y, Han G, Wang J and Zhou Y. Circularly permuted LOV2 as a modular photoswitch for optogenetic engineering. Nature Chemical Biology 2021,17(8):915-923.

6.    He L*, Tan P, Huang Y*, Zhou Y*. Design of smart antibody mimetics with photosensitive switches.

Advanced Biology 2021,5(5):e2000541.

7.    He L, Wang L, Zeng H, Tan P, Ma G, Zheng S, Li Y, Sun L, Dou F, Huang Y, Wang Y, and Zhou Y. Engineering of a bona fide light-operated calcium channel. Nature Communications 2021,12(1):164.

8.    Wang T#, He L#, Jing J, Lan TH, Hong T, Wang F, Huang Y, Ma G, and Zhou Y. Caffeine-operated synthetic modules for chemogenetic control of protein activities by life style. Advanced Science 2021,8(3):2002148.

9.    Tan P#, He L#, Zhou Y. Engineering supramolecular organizing centers for optogenetic control of innate immune responses. Advanced Biology 2021, 5(5):e2000147.

10.  Ma G#, He L#, Liu S#, Xie J, Huang Z, Jing J, Lee YT, Wang R, Luo H, Han W, Huang Y and Zhou Y. Optogenetic engineering to probe the molecular choreography of STIM1-mediated cell signaling. Nature Communications 2020,11(1):1039.

11.  Lee YT, He L*, and Zhou Y*. Expanding the chemogenetic toolbox by circular permutation. Journal of Molecular Biology 2020, 432(10):3127-3136.

12.  Tan P, He L, Xing C, Mao J, Yu X, Zhu M, Diao L, Han L, Zhou Y, You JM, Wang HY, and Wang RF. Myeloid loss of Beclin 1 promotes PD-L1hi precursor B cell lymphoma development. Journal of Clinical Investigation 2020,130(10):5349-5369.

13.  Liu Z#, Li H#, He L#, Yu X, Tian C, Tan P, Li C, Jing J, Tian Y, Du L, Huang Y, Han L, Li M, and Zhou Y.  Discovery of small molecule inhibitors of the HSP90-calcineurin-NFAT pathway against glioblastoma. Cell Chemical Biology 2019,26(3):352-65.

14.  Zheng S#, Ma G#, He L#, Zhang T, Li J, Yuan X, Nguyen NT, Huang Y, Zhang X, Gao P, Nwokonko RM, Gill DL, Dong H, Zhou Y, and Wang Y. Identification of molecular determinants that govern distinct STIM2 activation dynamics. PLoS Biology 2018,16(11):e2006898.

15.  Nguyen NT#, He L#, Martinze-Moczygemba M, Huang Y and Zhou Y. Rewiring calcium signaling for precise transcriptional reprogramming. ACS Synthetic Biology 2018,16;7(3):814-821.

16.  He L#, Jing J#, Zhu L#, Tan P, Ma G, Zhang Q, Nguyen N, Wang J, Zhou Y, Huang Y.Optical control of membrane tethering and interorganellar communication at nanoscales. Chemical Science 2017,8(8): 5275-5281.

17.  Tan P, He L, Cui J, Cao X, Qian C, Lin M, Xing C, Zhu Q, Li Y, Yu X, Wang Y, and Wang RF. Assembly of the WHIP-TRIM14-PPP6C mitochondrial complex promotes RIG-I-mediated antiviral signaling. Molecular Cell 2017, 68(2):293-307.

18.  Tan P, He L, Han G, and Zhou Y. Optogenetic immunomodulation: shedding light on the antitumor immunity. Trends in Biotechnology 2016,35(3):215-226.

19.  He L#, Zhang Y#, Ma G#, Tan P#, Li Z, Zang S, Wu X, Jing J, Fang S, Zhou L, Wang Y, Huang Y, Hogan PG, Han G, and Zhou Y. Near-infrared photoactivatable control of Ca2+ signaling and optogenetic immunomodulation. eLife 2015,4:e10024.

20.  Jing J#, He L#, Sun A, Quintana A, Ding Y, Ma G, Tan P, Liang X, Zheng X, Chen L, Shi X, Zhang SL, Zhong L, Huang Y, Dong MQ, Walker CL, Hogan PG, Wang Y, and Zhou Y. Proteomic mapping of ER–PM junctions identifies STIMATE as a regulator of Ca2+ influx. Nature Cell Biology 2015,17(10):1339-1347. #Featured in News & Views by Nature Cell Biology.

21.  Ma G#, Wei M#, He L#, Liu C, Wu B, Zhang SL, Jing J, Liang X, Senes A, Tan P, Li S, Sun A, Bi Y, Zhong L, Si H, Shen Y, Lee MS, Zhou W, Wang J, Wang Y, and Zhou Y. Inside-out Ca2+ signaling prompted by STIM1 conformational switch. Nature Communications 2015,6: 7826.