Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award 2019
Zheng Ruan earned his Ph.D. in bioinformatics in 2018, delving deeply into how signaling proteins work in both normal and disease states. Using an interdisciplinary approach that combined bioinformatics, biochemistry and cell biology, he uncovered the mechanisms by which cancer mutations alter cell signaling functions. Ruan pursued a unique research strategy by generating hypotheses from computational structural modeling and designing detailed experiments to test these hypotheses. His approach allowed him to answer fundamental questions in cancer genomics and structural bioinformatics. Ruan’s work has generated tremendous interest in the signaling field and will contribute to the understanding and treatment of human cancer. As a postdoctoral researcher at the Van Andel Institute in Michigan, he is studying large macromolecular ion channel proteins using single particle cryo-EM techniques, a rapidly evolving area that has the potential for major breakthroughs.