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Peng Tan
Assistant Professor


Dr. Peng Tan is an assistant professor at School of Medicine, Southern University of Science and Technology, China. He was a postdoctoral associate at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard with professors Aviv Regev and Ramnik Xavier. He earned his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University (2018) and conducted off-campus research with professor Rong-fu Wang at Weill Cornell Medicine-Houston Methodist. He has published over 40 publications, including first or corresponding author articles in premier journals (Nature Chemical Biology, Physiological Reviews, Nucleic Acids Research, Molecular Cell, Journal of Clinical Investigation, PLoS Biology, Advanced Biology, PLoS Pathogens, Oncogene, eLife, Autophagy, Trends in Biotechnology), and contributed significantly to publications in Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Cell Biology, Cell Host & Microbe, and Immunity, with a total citation of over 2900 and an h-index of 25. His work has been featured or highlighted in multiple media outlets and in journals including Molecular Cell and Journal of Clinical Investigation. As an immuno-oncologist and neuroscientist, Dr. Tan seeks to understand inflammation and disease including cancer across space and time. He investigates how the nervous system mediates long-range organ-organ communications and interacts with the immune system in relation to disease progression. This is achieved through developing and applying interdisciplinary technologies such as proximity-labelling and proteomics, optogenetics, single-cell and spatial multi-omics. He designs molecular perturbations including in vivo Perturb-seq and light-switches to study biological processes and the quantitative consequences at single-cell and systems level.



2012-2018 Visiting Graduate Student, Weill Cornell Medicine-Houston Campus

2011-2018 PhD, Texas A&M University

2008-2011 Master’s degree, Sun Yat-sen University

2004-2008 Bachelor’s degree with honours, Shenzhen University



2024.02 - present Assistant Professor, Southern University of Science and Technology

2024.02 - present Visiting Scientist, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

2019.10 – 2024.02 Postdoctoral Associate,Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, MIT/HHMI



Recipient of Student Research Award from the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America.

Recipient of IBD Plexus Award from the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America.




Synthetic Immunology

Neuro-immune interactions at barrier interfaces




# denotes co-first authors; * denotes corresponding authors

1. Tan P*, Hong T, Cai X, Li W, Huang Y, He L*, Zhou Y*. Optogenetic control of protein delivery and partition in the nucleolus. Nucleic Acids Research 2022, 8;50(12):e69.

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

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

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

5. Tan P, He L, Xing C, Mao J, Yu X, Zhu M, Diao L, Han L, Zhou Y, You JM, Wang Y, Wang RF. Myeloid loss of Beclin1 promotes PD-L1(hi) precursor B cell lymphoma development. Journal of Clinical Investigation 2019, 129(12):5261-5277. 

6. Tan P, Ye Y, He L, Xie J, Jing J, Ma G, Pan H, Han L, Han W, Zhou Y. TRIM59 promotes breast cancer motility by suppressing p62-selective autophagic degradation of PDCD10. PLoS Biology 2018, 16(11):e3000051.

7. Zhang J#, Tan P#, Guo L#, Gong J, Ma J, Li J, Lee M, Fang S, Jing J, Johnson G, Sun D, Cao W, Dashwood R, Han L, Zhou Y, Dong W, Huang Y. p53-dependent autophagic degradation of TET2 modulates cancer therapeutic resistance. Oncogene 2018, 38(11):1905-1919.

8. Zhu Q#, Tan P#, Li Y, Lin M, Cui J, Zhao W, Song Y, Li Q, Akira S, Wang H, Wang RF. DHX29 functions as an RNA co-sensor for MDA5-mediated EMCV-specific antiviral immunity. PLoS Pathogens 2018, 14(2): e1006886. 

9. Zhao W#, Zhu Q#, Tan P#, Ajibade A, Long T, Long W, Li Q, Liu P, Ning B, Wang Y, Wang RF. Tgfbr2 inactivation facilitates cellular plasticity and development of Pten-null prostate cancer. Journal of Molecular Cell Biology 2018, 10(4):316-330.

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

11. Luo W#, Tan P#, Rodriguez M, He L, Tan K, Siwko S, Liu M. Leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein-coupled receptor 4 (Lgr4) is necessary for prostate cancer metastasis via epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2017, 292(37):15525-15537.

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

13. 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, Zhou Y. Near-infrared photoactivatable control of Ca2+ signaling and optogenetic immunomodulation. eLife 2015, 4: e10024. 

14. Shi H, He Y, Zhou Y, Huang J, Maher K, Wang B, Tang Z, Luo S, Tan P, Wu M, Lin Z, Ren J, Thapa Y, Tang X, Liu A, Liu J, Wang X. Spatial atlas of the mouse central nervous system at molecular resolution. Nature 2023, 622(7983):552-561.

15. Feng C, Tan P, Nie G, Zhu M. Biomimetic and bioinspired nano-platforms for cancer vaccine development. Exploration 2023, 3:20210263.

16. Xie J, Ma G*, Zhou L, He L, Zhang Z, Tan P, Huang Z, Fang S, Wang T, Lee Y-T, Wen S, Siwko S, Wang L, Liu J, Du Y, Zhang N, Liu X, Han L, Huang Y, Wang R, Wang Y*, Zhou Y*, Han W*. Identification of a STIM1 splicing variant that promotes glioblastoma growth. Advanced Science 2022, 9(11):e2103940.

17. He L, Tan P, Huang Y, Zhou Y. Design of smart antibody mimetics with photosensitive switches. Advanced Biology 2021, 5(5):e2000541

18. Xing C, Wang M, Ajibade A, Tan P, Fu C, Chen L, Zhu M, Hao Z, Chu J, Yu X, Yin B, Zhu J, Shen W, Duan T, Wang Y, Wang RF. Microbiota regulate innate immune signaling and protective immunity against cancer. Cell Host & Microbe 2021, 29:1-16.

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

20. Muus C, Luecken M, Eraslan G, Waghray A, Heimberg G, Sikkema L, Kobayashi Y, Dhaval ED, Subramanian A, Smillie C, Jagadeesh K, Duong ET, Fiskin E, Triglia ET, Ansari M, Cai P, Lin B, Buchanan J, Chen S, Shu J, Haber A, Chung H, Montoro D, Adams T, Aliee H, Allon S, Andrusivova Z, Angelidis L, Ashenberg O, Bassier K, Becavin C, Inbal B, Bergenstrahle J, Bergenstrahle L, Bolt L, Braun E, Bui L, Chaffin M, Chichelnitskiy E, Chiou J, Conlon T, Cuoco M, Depre Z, Fisher D, Gillich A, Gould J, Guo M, Gutierrez A, Habermann A, Harvey T, He P, Hou X, Hu L, Jaiswal A, Jiang P, Kapellos T, Kuo C, Larsson L, Leney-Greene M, Lim K, Litvinukova M, Lu J, Maatz H, Maddissoon E, Mamanova L, Manakongtreecheep K, Marquette CH, Mbano I, McAdams AM, Metzger R, Nabhan A, Nyquist S, Ordovas-Montanes J, Penland L, Poirion O, Poli S, Qi C, Reichart D, Rosas I, Schupp J, Sinha R, Sit R, Slowikowski K, Slyper M, Smith N, Sountoulidis A, Strunz M, Sun D, Talavera-Lopez C, Tan P, Tantivit J, Travaglini K, Tucker N, Vernon K, Wadsworth M, Waldman J, Wang X, Yan W, Zhao W, Ziegler C, The NHLBI LungMAP Consortium, The Human Cell Atlas Lung Biological Network. Single-cell meta-analysis of SARS-CoV-2 entry genes across tissues and demographics. Nature Medicine 2021, 27(3):546-559.

21. Zhu M, Deng G, Tan P, Xing C, Guan C, Jiang C, Ning B, Wang H, Chen K, Zhao Y, Wang Y, Levine B, Nie G, Wang RF. Beclin 2 negatively regulates innate immune signaling and tumor development. Journal of Clinical Investigation 2020, 130(10):5349-5369.

22. Liu Z, Li H, He L, Xiang Y, Tian C, Li C, Tan P, Jing J, Tian Y, Du L, Huang Y, Han L, Li M, Zhou Y. Discovery of small molecules inhibitors of the HSP90-Calcineurin-NFAT pathway against glioblastoma. Cell Chemical Biology 2019, 26:1-14.

23. Li A, Cho J, Reid B, Tseng C, He L, Tan P, Yeh C, Wu P, Li Y, Widelitz R, Zhou Y, Zhao M, Chow R, Chuong CM. Calcium oscillations coordinate feather mesenchymal cell movement by SHH dependent modulation of gap junction networks. Nature Communications 2018, 9(1):5377.

24. Yu X, Du Y, Cai C, Cai B, Zhu M, Xing C, Tan P, Lin M, Wu J, Wang M, Wang H, Su X, Wang RF. Inflammasome activation negatively regulates MyD88-IRF7 type I IFN signaling and anti-malaria immunity. Nature Communications 2018, 9:4964.

25. Liu K, Zhang C, Li B, Xie W, Zhang J, Nie X, Tan P, Zheng L, Wu S, Qin Y, Cui J, Zhi F. Mutual stabilization between TRIM9 short isoform and MKK6 potentiates p38 signaling to synergistically suppress glioblastoma progression. Cell Reports 2018, 23:838-851.

26. 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):5275-5283.

27. Yu X, Cai B, Wang M, Tan P, Ding X, Wu J, Li J, Li Q, Liu P, Xing C, Wang Y, Su X, Wang RF. Cross-Regulation of two type I interferon signaling pathways in plasmacytoid dendritic cells controls anti-malaria immunity and host mortality. Immunity 2016, 45(5):1093-1107.

28. Chen M, Meng Q, Qin Y, Liang P, Tan P, He L, Zhou Y, Chen Y, Huang J, Wang RF, Cui J. TRIM14 inhibits cGAS degradation mediated by selective autophagy receptor p62 to promote innate immune responses. Molecular Cell 2016, 64(1):105-119.

29. Lin M, Zhao Z, Yang Z, Meng Q, Tan P, Xie W, Qin Y, Wang RF, Cui J. USP38 negatively regulates type I interferon signaling by promoting TBK1 degradation through NLRP4 signalosome. Molecular Cell 2016, 64 (2), 267-281.

30. 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, Zhou Y. Proteomic mapping of ER-PM junctions identifies STIMATE as a regulator of Ca2+ influx. Nature Cell Biology 2015, 17(10):1339-47.

31. 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, Zhou Y. Inside-out Ca2+ signaling prompted by STIM1 conformational switch. Nature Communications 2015, 6:7826.

32. Cui J, Song Y, Li Y, Zhu Q, Tan P, Qin Y, Wang H, Wang RF.  USP3 inhibits type I interferon signaling by deubiquitinating RIG-I-like receptors. Cell Research 2013, 24:400-416.