Skip to main content

CRS Scientist Spotlight on Yaqi Zhang

"My research received great support and help from my colleagues. Not only did I learn some novel experimental techniques that I was not familiar with, but also had many discussions on interesting research ideas."”

Yaqi Zhang, PhD graduate student

Yaqi Zhang is a graduate student in Dr. Daniela Matei's lab. Her research focuses on the impact of different epigenetic regulators on stemness properties of ovarian cancer stem cells. Learn more about her work and her time at CRS below.

yaqi-zhang.jpg

Name: Yaqi Zhang 

Position: PhD graduate student 

Mentor: Dr. Daniela Matei, MD

Thesis Title: Epigenetic regulations in ovarian cancer stem cells 

What brought you to join the CRS community and what is your current position? 

I joined CRS community since 2016 when I studied in Master of Biotechnology and worked in Dr. Teresa Woodruff’s laboratory. Then I was enrolled in the Driskill Graduate Program at Northwestern, and I determined to join Dr. Daniela Matei’s lab for my thesis work. I am currently a 4th year PhD student. 

Could you describe your research? 

Our lab is focusing on ovarian cancer stem cells, which is a small population of cancer cells that possess self-renewal, spheroid forming and tumor initiation capabilities. Ovarian cancer stem cells are believed as one major reason of relapse and resistance to chemotherapy in ovarian cancer. My research focuses on understanding the impact of different epigenetic regulators on stemness properties of ovarian cancer stem cells and investigate their regulation mechanism. 

What aspect(s) of CRS do you find most valuable?  

I found the Reproductive Research Updates (RRU) very helpful. It was a great opportunity to learn research updates and exciting findings from different labs in CRS. As a trainee, I have also presented at RRU twice and it was a valuable training.  

What has been the most valuable aspect to your training as a reproductive scientist? 

The teamwork and collaboration with other scientists. My research received great support and help from my colleagues. Not only did I learn some novel experimental techniques that I was not familiar with, but also had many discussions on interesting research ideas.  

What is one piece of advice you would give to young scientists starting in their journey in science?  

I would say it’s important to find the research topics that you are really interested in. Also, communicating with other scientist with expertise in different backgrounds could be very helpful. 

What do you think will be the next big contribution in the reproductive biology field?  

Effective target therapy for ovarian cancer. Although ovarian cancer did not have any very effective therapeutic target for a long time, the research progress that were made in the last five years, such as the great success in PARP inhibitor, bring us a lot of hope for the emerging of effective target therapy to inhibit ovarian cancer. 

What hobbies do you have outside of the lab?   

I love reading and doing barre. Also, I have a cat and love to spend time with her.