Our Group

Principal Investigator

shuying-sunShuying Sun, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Physiology
Brain Science Institute
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Shuying carried out her undergraduate studies at Shandong University in China. She went on to obtain her Ph.D. from Stony Brook University in Dr. Adrian Krainer’s lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, focusing on the basic mechanisms of RNA processing, especially the regulation of alternative splicing and function of RNA-binding proteins. From this experience, she became fascinated by the complexity of RNA processing pathways in nervous system. She had postdoc training in Dr. Don Cleveland’s laboratory at UCSD and applied knowledge and techniques in basic RNA biology to understand how dysfunctions of RNA metabolism provoke neurodegeneration, an increasingly important theme in human diseases, particularly neurological disorders. Shuying started her own laboratory in Pathology Department and Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University in July 2016. Her team is exploring RNA metabolism dysfunction and RNA-targeting therapy in neurodegenerative diseases.


Postdoctoral Fellows


Daoyuan Dong, Ph.D.

Daoyuan received her PhD degree from University of the Sciences in Philadelphia in May 2017. Her thesis is focused on developing targeted drug delivery system for cancer treatment. Daoyuan joined Dr. Sun’s lab in November 2017. She is currently working on investigating the RNA mediated toxicity by determining the C9orf72 RNA repeats-binding proteins, and also developing platforms to understand DPR-mediated toxicity.

[email protected]



Zhe Zhang, Ph.D.

Zhe received her PhD degree from the University of Queensland in Australia in March 2018. Her PhD study is focused on sulfate transporter regulated postnatal brain development and its correlation with autism. Zhe joined Dr. Sun’s lab in June 2018. Her current research interest is to investigate the degradation pathways of DPRs. She is also interested in developing a platform which is suitable for CRISPR screening.

[email protected]


Yini Li, Ph.D.

Yini received her PhD degree in Biology at Syracuse University. She performed her PhD thesis work in the lab of Dr. Eleanor Maine, where she studied germ cell development and RNA modifications. As a post-doc in the Sun lab, Yini is investigating the connection between RNA repeats and chromatin dynamics. She is also interested in potential modifications on repeat RNAs.

[email protected]



Rong Wu, Ph.D.

Rong received his PhD degree from Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences in July 2016. His PhD study was focus on the molecular mechanism of neurodegenerative diseases and metabolic disorders. Then he moved to Beijing Institute of Basic Medical Sciences as a postdoctoral fellow to study the role of RNA m6A modification in neurodevelopment until January 2019. Rong joined Dr. Sun’s lab in May 2019. His current research interest is how RNA repeats regulate RNA granule homeostasis and contribute to neurodegeneration.

[email protected]


Graduate Students

Yingzhi Ye

Yingzhi is a Ph.D candidate student from the Cellular and Molecular Physiology graduate program. She joined Dr. Sun’s lab in July 2020. Her current research focused on the toxicity of poly-dipeptides produced from C9orf72 repeat expansion in ALS and FTD.

[email protected]



Nick Zhu

Nick is a PhD student from the Cellular and Molecular Medicine (CMM) program in School of Medicine. He received his bachelor degree from UC San Diego and master degree from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Nick joined Sun lab in June 2022. He is interested in combining molecular and translational studies to expand therapeutic potentials for ALS.

[email protected]




Master’s Students

Wei-Ren Wang

Wei-Ren is an MS student in Biotechnology at Johns Hopkins University. He is interested in developing antisense oligonucleotide approaches for C9orf72-ALS/FTD.

[email protected]




Research Technician

Noelle Wright

Noelle received her B.A. in Neuroscience from Simpson College in 2019. She joined the Sun lab in 2021 as a Research Technologist, helping with ordering supplies, maintaining stock, and assisting with ongoing experiments. She hopes to continue in the field as a PhD student.





Undergraduate Students

Julie Asbury – Sister Alma Scholar, Notre Dame of Maryland University

Andrew Zhao – Applied Math and Statistics and Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University



Xiujuan Fu – visiting student 2020 – 2022  current: Wuhan University

Shaopeng Wang – postdoc 2016-2022  current: Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Renji Hospital, Institute of Molecular Medicine

Weiwei Cheng – postdoc 2016-2019  current: Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Xinhua Hospital.

Shirui Yan – technician 2017-2019  current: Harvard University.

Yongzhi Xie – visiting student 2017-2019  current: Central South University, Xiangya Hospital.