Sheryl Qiu

This week we feature doctoral candidate Sheryl Qiu, who is a member of Xiaoli Chen's research group.

Name: Xiaoxue (Sheryl) Qiu
Hometown: China
Degree pursuing: Ph.D. in Nutrition
Adviser: Dr. Xiaoli Chen

Research focusMolecular mechanisms of obesity and aging onset.

My research focuses on identifying proteins that potentially regulate chronic inflammation in adipose tissue and gut, thereby providing a scientific basis for novel pharmaceutical targets to improve health conditions in obese and aged individules. My first project explained a benificial role of guanylate binding protein 1 (Gbp1) in the maintanence of macrophage homeostasis, which poteintially improve chronic inflammation in HFD-induced obesity and aging. My second research project is to investigate the role of lipocalin 2 (Lcn2), an anti-microbial protein, in gut inflammation and gut microbiota compostion, as well as brain function in HFD-induced obesity and aging.

How did you become interested in nutrition?

Aging is the greatest risk factor for various chronic diseases and conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Nutrtional metabolic status plays an important role in regulating the onset and progression of obesity and age-related diseases. The underlying molecular mechanisms of the nutrient-related diseases need further investigation. After finishing my Master’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, I am interested in molecular nutrition, because with this knowledge, it is promosing to improve metabolic health and life quality.

Why did you choose the University of Minnesota?

University of Minnesota is a famous muti-discipline university. The historical culture and beautiful campus of UMN helped me choose, the location is pretty scenic with the Mississippi River. Also, the Food Science and Nutrition Department is one of the top-ranking institutes.

How does your research tie into the research being done in your adviser's lab?

The aim of my research is to characterize the roles and mechanisms of adipose-derived proteins in the regulation of obesity/aging-related dysfunction of metabolic tissues, including adipose tissue, liver and gut, as well as brain, which is a main focus of Dr. Chen's work.

Future plans

I will continue to work on research projects related to the improvement of human health, and try to find a faculty position at a Univeristy.