Meet the Team Members of the Zhang Research Group

GuangJun Zhang, Ph.D

GuangJun Zhang, Ph.D

Dr. GuangJun Zhang is the John T. and Winifred M. Hayward Associate Professor of Genetic Research, Genetic Epidemiology and Comparative Medicine in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine. He grew up in China and earned his MD degree from the Tongji University in Shanghai in 1998 and his Master’s degree from the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine (currently, Chinese Center for Disease Control) in 2001. His research focused on evolutionary and developmental biology of vertebrate skeletons during his PhD. training at the University of Florida from 2003 to 2007. Before he came to Purdue, he did his postdoctoral training on cancer genetics using zebrafish as an animal model at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT from 2008 to 2012. He joined Purdue University in 2012.

Martin R. Silic, graduate student

Martin R. Silic, Graduate Student

Martin Silic completed his undergraduate studies at Purdue University in 2016 obtaining a bachelor's degree in biology, with a concentration in molecular biology. After graduating he spent a year working in Dr. Zhang's laboratory as a technician. In 2017, Marty joined the CPB graduate program. Currently, he is studying the roles of bioelectricity in vertebrate development, the cell cycle, and cancer using zebrafish and human cell lines.

Han Han, Graduate student

Han Han, Graduate student

Han Han graduated from Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China, in 2017, with a bachelor degree in biology. His undergraduate research explored the relationship between Nitric Oxide and Melatonin in the salt tolerance of Brassica napus L. Han joined the lab in the summer of 2018. Now he is working on cancer biology of a few novel cancer driver candidate genes in human cell lines and zebrafish genetic models.

Daniel Park

Sung Jun (Daniel) Park, Graduate student

Sung Jun (Daniel) Park received his bachelor’s degree for biological science at Purdue University in 2018, with a concentration in cell molecular developmental biology (CMDB). For undergraduate research, Daniel mainly focused on analyzing the dimerization of BATF family of basic leucine zipper transcription factors with the Jun class factors, which functions to negatively regulate the activity of a transcription factor complex (AP-1). He also had an internship at the Center for Theragnosis, KIST (Korean Institute of Science and Technology), where I utilized various miRNA and siRNA to target specific cancer cell lines and involved in a research project. Daniel joined the Zhang lab in the spring of 2019. He is currently working on the bioelectrical signaling of zebrafish embryo and cancer cells.


Ziyu Dong, Graduate student

Ziyu Dong graduated from University of California, Berkeley in 2020, with a bachelor’s degree in Molecular Cell Biology. She joined Purdue’s PULSe program in 2020, and after finishing the first year rotations, she joined Dr. Zhang’s lab in the summer of 2021. Currently, she is interested in the role of bioelectrical signals in zebrafish development and cancer cell interactions. Outside the lab, Ziyu enjoys running with friends, cooking, and spending time with her cats.


Dingxun Wang, Graduate student

Dingxun Wang earned his Bachelor’s degree from Sun Yat-sen University in China. Dingxun was conferred his Master’s degree from the School of Medicine in Boston University, engaging the researches related to nutrition and metabolic biology prior to coming to Purdue University. Dingxun joined the lab in 2021 with being supervised by Dr. Zhang and Dr. Chang-Deng Hu, a professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology. Currently Dingxun is interested in the effects of PRMT5, which is commonly recognized an oncogene and a potential therapeutic target.


Zhixia Chi, Graduate student

Zhixia Chi joined the lab in 2021 and is jointly supervised by Dr. GuangJun Zhang and Dr. Chang-Deng Hu (Medicinal Chemistry and Moleculary Pharmacology). She graduated from Huazhong Agriculture University with a bachlor’s degree. Later she received a comprehensive training in the area of cancer biology and got her Master's degree from University of Chinese Academy of Science. Before becoming a graduate student at Purdue, she worked on colorectal cancer immunotherapy research at National University of Singapore. Current, Zhixia is very interested in the oncogenic mechanisms of PRMT5 in prostate cancer development and metastasis. She plans to keep pursuing her professional career in cancer research in the future. Outside of the lab, she enjoys listening to music, long-distance running and reading stories.

Current Undergraduates for Research

  • Geraldine Elizabeth Berkemeier
  • Lauren Hesting
  • Jasmine Staver
  • Peyton Lian Staab
  • Elizabeth Spyratos

Lab Alumni

  • Maya Black, Undergraduate researcher
  • Stanley A. Buczynski, 2018 LASMP undergraduate researcher
  • Guolin Cai, MD. Ph.D., postdoctoral associate. Physician, Beijing Jishuitan Hospital.
  • Kenny H. Chen, Undergraduate researcher.
  • Rhys Chua, Undergraduate researcher. Now a graduate Student at the University of San Francisco.
  • Zhibin Cui, Ph.D. postdoctoral associate.
  • Richard Feng, Undergraduate researcher.
  • Monica Hensley, Ms., Now a technician at the Department of Embryology, Carnegie Institution of Washington.
  • Jacob Jefferies. Lab Technician. Now, a Ph.D student at the Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University.
  • Guangzhen Jiang, Ph.D. Visiting Scholar, Associate professor, Nanjing Agricultural University.
  • Brian H. Kim. Graduate Student.
  • Connor Kuntz, Undergraduate researcher
  • Huanpeng Liu, Undergraduate researcher
  • Murphy McManama, Undergraduate researcher
  • Sarah Murata, Undergraduate researcher
  • Elizabeth M. Nguyen, Undergraduate researcher.
  • Cara Rafanelli, Undergraduate researcher.
  • Natalie Shammas, Undergraduate researcher.
  • Nicole Shammas, Undergraduate researcher, Now a MD student at the Indiana University.
  • Stefanie Simpson, Undergraduate researcher. Now a graduate Student at the IUPUI
  • Marlon Urgelles, 2018 Summer UROP undergraduate researcher
  • Alexandra Irma Nin Velez, 2016-2017 LASMP Undergraduate researcher. Now a graduate Student at the Virginia Tech
  • Chelsey Wallace, Undergraduate researcher.
  • Rui Wang, Undergraduate researcher.
  • Xinmin Yan, Visiting Scholar, Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute (LVRI), Gansu, China.
  • Ge Zhu, Undergraduate researcher. Now a graduate Student at the University of Minnesota
  • Xiaoguang Zhu, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate.

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