Xin Tong, Ph.D. 

Vanderbilt University

2215 Garland Avenue

723 Light Hall

Nashville, TN, 37232

I joined in Dr. Xie's lab in January, 2010 as one of the earliest students. I had my fundamental training on biochemistry, molecular biology and structural biology guided by Dr. Xie. I also finished my undergraduate dissertation in this lab titled "Purification, enzymatic and stability testing of HRV3C Protease".  The most precious lesson I learned from Dr. Xie is his passion and dedication to science, his always-curious altitude and meticulous yet out-of-the box approaches to pursue scientific questions. This strong and positive influence shaped my long-term career goal which is to become an independent investigator focused on deciphering the molecular and biochemical mechanisms underlying the development of human diseases. To achieve this, I enrolled in the Indiana University Biomedical Graduate program in July, 2011. 

Since this time, my scientific interests have coalesced around the topic of dietary influences on health outcomes, an interest heavily influenced by my own passion for healthy eating and cooking. After rotating through three labs that study metabolic syndrome and diabetes, I joined in the laboratory of Dr. Carmella Evans-Molina in the summer of 2012. The main focus of our lab is the role of Calcium homeostasis in regulating the function of pancreatic β-cells, the insulin secreting cells. My project has been specifically focused on sarco-endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA) pump, a critical ER Ca2+ regulator in pancreatic β-cells. My study showed the crucial role of SERCA in varies aspects of β-cell function and stress responses especially during inflammatory diabetic conditions.  

After I got my phd degree in physiology in this program, I want to study further in the area of diabetes especially pancreas. Thus, I joined in Dr. Roland Stein's lab in the diabetes center in Vanderbilt University in the beginning of 2017 as a postdoc fellow. My future project will involve defining the nuclear events such as transcription co-regulator behavior under physiological and pathophysiological conditions found in pancreatic islets from healthy, individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Eventually, I hope to utilize my research findings to facilitate the development of novel prevention, therapeutic, and diagnostic targets for diabetes treatment.

"Advances are made by answering questions. Discoveries are made by questioning answers.” --Bernard Haisch

 It has been an extreme fortune and honor to be Dr. Xie's student and friend. I believe this connection will last and benefit me throughout my career and life.