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Boxuan Zhao

Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology

Research Interests

RNA Biology, Chemical Biology, Epigenetics and Epitranscriptomics, Single-cell Multi-omics, Neurobiology

Research Description

Our research aims to answer one of neuroscience's central questions: How does the brain’s connection diagram underlie its function? New technologies are required to map the complete wiring diagram of the mammalian brain, reveal the underlying principles of how neurons form connections, and identify connectivity changes induced by experiences, behaviors, and brain disorders. Incorporating transcriptomics and proteomics data into the structural map will help to clarify the underlying molecular mechanisms causing these changes. 

The research in our lab centers on the development and application of high-throughput technologies to the study of molecular mechanisms of brain organization and function, specifically by tracking the mammalian brain's connectomic (brain-wide neuronal connection dynamics), transcriptomic, proteomic (spatiotemporal distribution of RNAs and proteins), and epitranscriptomic (dynamic RNA modifications) landscapes over time. Our long-term goal is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the mammalian brain through quantitative methods applied at the systematic, cellular, and molecular levels.


Postdoc, Stanford University, 2017-2023
M.S. and Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2012-2017
B.S., Peking University, 2008-2012

Awards and Honors

2023    Highly Cited Researcher in the field of Molecular Biology and Genetics – 2023, Web of Science
2022    Highly Cited Researcher in the field of Molecular Biology and Genetics – 2022, Web of Science
2021    Highly Cited Researcher in the field of Cross-Field – 2021, Web of Science
2019    Life Sciences Research Foundation Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
2018    Stanford ChEM-H Postdocs at the Interface Seed Grant, Stanford University
2018    Extraordinary Prize of the 2017 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad
2017    Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute Interdisciplinary Scholar Awards, Stanford University
2017    Scaringe Graduate Student Career Award, The RNA Society 
2017    Elizabeth R. Norton Prize for Excellence in Research in Chemistry, The University of Chicago
2017    GLCACS Outstanding Student Research Award, Chinese American Chemical Society
2017    William Rainey Harper Dissertation Fellowship, The University of Chicago
2016    Collège de France Science Research Travel Grants for Doctoral Research in Paris, France Chicago Center
2016    Joan Shiu Chemistry Department Student Service Award, The University of Chicago
2015    The Albert J. Cross Prize for Excellence in Research, Teaching, and Department Citizenship, The University of Chicago
2014    Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Predoctoral Student Fellowship
2012    First Prize of the inaugural “Star of Chemistry” Undergraduate Selection of College of Chemistry, Peking University, China
2011    Grand Prize of 12th "Challenge Cup" National Science and Technology Academic Competition, China

Additional Campus Affiliations

Assistant Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology
Assistant Professor, Neuroscience Program

Highlighted Publications

  1. S Han*, BS Zhao*, SA Myers, SA Carr, C He, AY Ting. RNA–protein interaction mapping via MS2- or Cas13-based APEX targeting. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 117(36), 22068-22079 (2020).
  2. BS Zhao*, X Wang*, AC Beadell*, Z Lu, H Shi, RK Ho, C He. m6A-dependent Maternal mRNA Clearance Facilitates Maternal-to-Zygotic Transition in Zebrafish, Nature, 542 (7642), 475-478 (2017).
  3. BS Zhao, IA Roundtree, C He. Post-Transcriptional Gene Regulation by mRNA Modifications, Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol., 18, 31-42 (2017).
  4. X Wang*, BS Zhao*, IA Roundtree, Z Lu, D Han, H Ma, X Weng, K Chen, H Shi, C He. N6-methyladenosine Modulates Messenger RNA Translation Efficiency, Cell, 161(6), 1388–1399 (2015).

Recent Publications

Fei, S., Fang, Z. W., & Zhao, B. S. (2024). Unraveling the RNA Tapestry: A Symphony of Innovations in m6A Research Technology. Israel Journal of Chemistry, 64(3-4), Article e202400014.

Lee, S. Y., Cheah, J. S., Zhao, B., Xu, C., Roh, H., Kim, C. K., Cho, K. F., Udeshi, N. D., Carr, S. A., & Ting, A. Y. (2023). Engineered allostery in light-regulated LOV-Turbo enables precise spatiotemporal control of proximity labeling in living cells. Nature Methods, 20(6), 908-917.

Zhao, B. S., & Chen, P. R. (Accepted/In press). Opening New Avenues in Bioorganic Chemistry: Prof. Chuan He Receives the Tetrahedron Prize. ACS chemical biology.

Han, S., Zhao, B. S., Myers, S. A., Carr, S. A., He, C., & Ting, A. Y. (2020). RNA-protein interaction mapping via MS2- or Cas13-based APEX targeting. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(36), 22068-22079.

Liu, C., Cui, X., Zhao, B. S., Narkhede, P., Gao, Y., Liu, J., Dou, X., Dai, Q., Zhang, L. S., & He, C. (2020). DNA 5-Methylcytosine-Specific Amplification and Sequencing. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 142(10), 4539-4543.

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