THE RAJAGOPAL LAB
Rui Zhao, PhD
Born in Inner Mongolia, Rui Zhao started her biological quest trying to ascertain why eggshells of certain chicken strains are blue as an undergraduate in Dr. Ning Yang’s lab at China Agricultural University. The color of eggshells led to a love of developmental biology and an interest in the study of stem cell behavior……and so, she obtained a position in Dr. Rongwen Xi’s lab at the National Institute of Biological Sciences (NIBS) in Beijing.
In Xi’s lab, using the Drosophila germline as a model system, she found that the germline niche itself functionally decays as the fly ages. This is a major cause of the decline in stem cell proliferation noted in aged flies. She also found that reproductive decline in female flies is caused both by stem cell aging and through increased cell death during later oogenesis.
Her research interests include 1) the study of airway basal cells during normal homeostasis and regeneration and the characterization of the basal cell niche in the mouse trachea and 2) the study of metaplasia in the lung. Her interests outside the lab include her family, reading, volleyball, badminton, traveling and music.
Rui is the Rajagopal Lab's first postdoctoral graduate. She recently accepted a position at Novartis in San Diego, CA.