About Us

Lab Members


Su Deng, Ph.D.

Assistant Instructor

Su earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences (Developmental Biology) from Weill Cornell Medical College, where she worked with Dr. Mary Baylies. During her PhD training, Su investigated how actin dynamics affect muscle development, aging and myodystrophy. During her postdoc training, Su studied the function of RNA editing proteins in lung adenocarcinoma, as well as the mechanism that controls actin dynamics during Drosophila flight muscle development and maintenance.

After joining the Mu lab, Su has identified several novel tumor suppressors in prostate cancer which may confer resistance to antiandrogen therapy. Her research now focuses on understanding the molecular mechanism of the resistance driven by these novel drivers and develop new therapeutic approaches to overcome the resistance.

Support Staff

Lauren Metang

Lauren Metang, M.S.

Lab Manager/Research Associate

Lauren earned her Bachelors of Science in Biology at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, and her Masters of Science by Research in Biomedical Sciences (Life Sciences) at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland, studying the role of CD46 and Vitamin D in the blood as it relates to multiple sclerosis.

Lauren helps to keep the Mu lab running smoothly, and teaches and trains new members on the intricacies of equipment and techniques.

Nickolas Johnson

Nickolas Johnson, B.S.

Research Technician

Nick attended University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas, where he earned his Bachelors of Science in biology with minors in chemistry, business, and Spanish. He is also a retired professional soccer player.

Nick performs basic molecular biology, cell culture, histology, general mousework, and helps everyone in the Mu lab.

Spencer Barnes

Spencer Barnes, M.S.

Computational Biologist, Bioinformatics Core

Spencer specializes in NGS data analysis. For the Mu lab, he decodes RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq, and ATAC-Seq generated from antiandrogen-resistant prostate cancers, to find the key drivers of resistance.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Chuanli Zhou

Chuanli Zhou, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Chuanli earned her Ph.D. in animal genetics at China Agricultural University, China, where she focused on detecting the genes that potentially govern the expression of receptors for the adhesion of ETEC on porcine intestinal epithelial cells. During her first postdoctoral training at Virginia Tech, she studied potential regulatory roles of the circadian clock.

In the Mu lab, she is studying the architectures of the SOX2-centered regulatory network that controls lineage plasticity and resistance to antiandrogen, and identifying the metabolic biomarkers and/or vulnerabilities of SOX2-promoted lineage plasticity. She is also working to identify novel biomarkers for predicting antiandrogen response.

Xiaoling Li

Xiaoling Li, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Xiaoling earned her Ph.D. in cell biology at Zhejiang University, China. She studied the role of Lis1 in liver metabolism homeostasis and disease, and found that Lis1 deficiency in liver results in fatty liver disease and accelerates tumorigenesis.

In the Mu lab, her research focuses on identifying the mechanism of SOX2 activation in lineage plasticity-driven antiandrogen resistance and exploring novel approaches for clinical therapy.

Yaru Xu, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Yaru earned her Ph.D. in cell biology at Zhejiang University, China. She focused on the exploration of potential apoptotic mechanisms during spermatogenesis and found the interaction of related apoptotic factors in male germ cells induced by cadmium.

In the Mu lab, her research focuses on identifying novel biomarkers of antiandrogen resistance in prostate cancer and new lncRNAs regulating lineage plasticity and antiandrogen resistance via CRISPRi library screening.


Carla Rodriguez Tirado, B.S.

Graduate Student

Carla earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus, where she studied the effect of cannabinoids in acetylcholine nicotinic receptors. She also participated in SURF 2017 at UTSW, where she studied the role of TMPRSS11B in lactate export and tumorigenesis.

In the Mu lab, Carla is studying the function and molecular mechanisms of novel oncogenes which confer resistance to antiandrogen therapy.

Choushi Wang, B.S.

Graduate Student

Choushi Wang earned his Bachelor of Science in Wuhan University, China, where he studied a broad array of subjects but only molecular biology sticks now. He attended an exchange programme at Arizona State University in 2018 and studied Coronavirus viroporin E.

In Mu's lab, Choushi is studying the mechanism and key factors driving neuroendocrine differentiation and enzalutamide resistance in both mouse and human derived models.