My name is Honglue Shi (Simplified Chinese: 史弘略). My family name Shi stands for History, and my first name Honglue stands for Magnificent Strategy. I think my parents hoped that I could gain magnificent strategies and insights by learning from history.
I was born in a beautiful costal city Dalian in China. When I was a kid back then, I was indeed very interested in studying humanity and history. However, things have changed since I started to work on Chemistry Olympaid during my high school. I found all these molecules and chemical reactions were so attractive and amazing, just like magic.
chem class
After the most competitive and intense college entrance examination, I was enrolled in one of the top 2 Chinese universities: Peking University (Simplified Chinese: 北京大学), which is a school that endorses and ensures freedom of thought and inclusiveness. I decided to continue to pursue Chemistry and my life trajectory has been completely changed since then.
I guess one of the most amazing experiences in college I had was joining Cycling Association of Peking University and representing the school to participate two 2000-kilometer expeditions during the summer vacations of my first and second years. In my first year, I broke my arm in an accident during the trip and had to suspended my expedition. This misfortune did not prevent me from continuing to work hard, and in the second year, as a team leader, I led 10 people to start again, riding through three 4,000-meter mountains and successfully completing the journey.
Meanwhile, I conducted my undergraduate research under Prof. Luhua Lai lab in Peking University. My research is about structural based drug design, targeting human d-3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase which is a potential drug target for the treatment of human breast cancer. Later, I started to realize the importance of solving protein structures for drug discovery. Therefore, I initially decided to switch to protein X-ray crystallography for my PhD at Duke which has a strong background of structural biology.
However, after I came to Duke, my idea was completely reshaped by Prof. Al-Hashimi, my PhD mentor at Duke, who convinced me that biomolecules do not fold into single structures but rather span different motions with a wide range of timescales and NMR is one of the most suitable tools of studying such dynamics at a detailed atomic scale. My PhD research is therefore developing NMR techniques combined with 3D computational modelings to ‘imaging’ the structural dynamics of nucleic acids for both structural-based drug design targeting non-coding RNA as well as bridging the knowledge gap of the role of nucleic acid structural dynamics in molecular biology.
hashimi lab
I will be joining Professor Jennifer Doudna’s lab at UC Berkeley in 2021 Fall as a Postdoctoral Fellow and continue to explore the amazing world of nucleic acid dynamics and functions.