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Chi-Kuo Hu

I grew up and completed my college education in Taiwan.  After a few years of being a research assistant as the alternative to my obligatory military service, I came to the US to pursue my Ph.D. degree at Harvard Medical School. As my first city on this continent and where I started my family, Boston has a long-lasting impact on me. I have become very fond of the seasons and (probably politically incorrect to say here) a huge fan of Tom Brady.

I always love to work on what I can see with my own eyes and thus can’t help but fall for cell biology and microscopy.  I joined Tim Mitchison’s lab as a graduate student to study how a perfectly rounded cell breaks symmetry during cell division. I had a truly wonderful time there. I was deeply inspired by Tim’s innovatory vision and passion for research.  With the encouragement to pursue my unique research direction, I joined Anne Brunet’s lab at Stanford University as a postdoc working on the African killifish Nothobranchius furzeri, a then-not-so-well-known organism in science. Specifically, I am interested in diapause, a suspended embryonic state that preserves life for an extended period of time without physiological tradeoff. Using the short-lived African killifish that I developed as a research system for vertebrate diapause, I can feasibly study not only the signaling pathways and mechanisms underlying diapause but also translate these mechanistic insights from diapause into adult homeostasis, cancer, and aging. My overarching goal is to establish a new notion of dormant biology and how they affect our active phase of life in a bigger picture. For more and most updated information, visit our team's website.

Throughout my academic training, I have an affinity towards developing new systems tailored to tackle new and old questions from unique angles rather than shoehorn old systems. This approach, as demonstrated both with the African killifish as a research system and diapause as a research area, also provides fertile ground for mutually beneficial collaborations, such as in vertebrate regeneration and evolution.

In 2021, I am looking forward to my new position as an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology.  I have had the great fortune to be mentored by many devoted and caring individuals at various stages of my scientific career. I will especially like to emulate the supportive and individualized approaches from my Ph.D. mentor Tim Mitchison and my postdoc mentor Anne Brunet. Both Tim and Anne recognize the differences between individuals and provide well-balanced freedom and guidance in research to help each member in the lab reach their own personal goals. As Tim’s training emphasizes vision and the big picture, and Anne’s training focuses on delivery and details, I aspire to find a good balance between the big picture and details, all tailored on a case-by-case basis. I am excited to contribute to both research and teaching, as both are equally important and complement each other.