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Zhixun Dou, Ph.D.


Principal Investigator

          Dou joined MGH and Harvard in 2018 fall. He received his B.S. from Nankai University, China, working with Youjia Cao, and his Ph.D. from Stony Brook University, Wei-Xing Zong lab. He trained with Shelley Berger at University of Pennsylvania for postdoc, where he pioneered the study of nuclear degeneration in aging and cancer. He is a recipient of the NIH pathway to independence award. 

          Outside the lab, he is a husband and a father of two daughters (and a cat). He loves classical music, and believes healthy eating and good mental health are key to longevity.

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Tara O'Brien

Lab Manager

            Tara joined the Dou Lab at MGH and Harvard in June 2023. She received her B.A. in biology with a specialization in cell biology, molecular biology, and genetics from Boston University. At Boston University, she worked with Dr. Laura Lowery investigating microtubule dynamics during axon outgrowth. 

      Outside the lab, Tara enjoys spending time outdoors, going to see live music, and crocheting.

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Yanxin Xu, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral research fellow

          Yanxin joined Dou Laboratory at MGH and Harvard in the winter of 2021. He received his Ph.D. training at Tongji University, Shanghai, China, focusing on epigenetic regulation in embryonic stem cell neural and cardiac differentiation. Now Yanxin is working on the molecular biology of cellular senescence in the Dou lab.

          Outside the lab, he enjoys watching Snooker games and listening to classical music. His favorite musician is Mozart, although he prefers The Well-Tempered Clavier from Bach.

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Yu Wang, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral research fellow

          Yu joined Dou Laboratory at MGH and Harvard in the fall of 2018. His Ph.D. was trained in the Junying Yuan lab at Harvard Medical School and Haoran Lin lab at Sun Yat-sen University, focusing on understanding the mechanisms of regulating cell survival and death. Now Yu is working on the roles of selective nuclear autophagy in cell signaling and disease mechanisms in both Dou lab at MGH and Harvard and Terje Johansen lab at the Arctic University of Norway.

          Outside the lab, he enjoys playing basketball and watching NBA games. Kyrie Irving is his favorite basketball player, and he is a big fan of the Boston Celtics. Yu also enjoys listening to pop music and believes a positive mindset is a key to a meaningful life.


Takuya Kumazawa, Ph.D.

Research fellow

         Takuya studied the regulation of energy metabolism controlled by the nucleolus during his Ph.D. program at the University of Tsukuba, Japan. After he moved to Nara Medical University, he investigated the relationship between cellular senescence and the nucleolus. Through these studies, he has become interested in the nucleolus-mediated cellular senescence in vivo. Then he found nucleolus-mediated cellular senescence and SASP trigger heart failure.

         Outside the lab, he loves traveling, beer and good food. He plans to enjoy craft beer in all 50 states. He also enjoys kendo and karaoke and believes happiness is the key to longevity.


Ulrike Rieprecht

Visiting student

           Ulrike is an international visiting student who joined the Dou Lab at MGH and Harvard in March 2024. She is a current biochemistry master’s student at the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany and is completing her master’s thesis in our lab. Her research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of nuclear autophagy and how it changes under senescence and connects to chronic inflammation. After graduation she would like to pursue her Ph.D. within the field of molecular mechanisms of aging.

          Aside from biochemistry Ulrike also loves baking, has ridden horses all her life, and a few years ago discovered a new passion for collegiate latin and standard dancing. She is always keen to explore new cultures and new places, and excited to learn a little bit more about the world every day.


Ji-Won Lee, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral research fellow

          Ji-Won joined Dou Laboratory at MGH and Harvard in the fall of 2023. He received Ph.D. from DGIST in Daegu, South Korea, and his M.S. from Dong-A University in Busan, South Korea. He focused on autophagy, immunology, programmed cell death, and neuroscience. Now he is investigating the roles of cytoplasmic DNA species and neurodegenerative proteins in cellular senescence.


          Outside the lab, Ji-Won finds adventure in New England's natural beauty through hiking, skiing and backpacking.


Yaosi Liang, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral research fellow

          Yaosi joined the Dou Lab at MGH and Harvard in the spring of 2024. She earned her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Duke University, mentored by Dr. Xiao-Fan Wang. Her research focused on revealing the roles of amino acid metabolism reprogramming in the contexts of senescence and inflammatory diseases.


          Outside the lab, Yaosi finds joy in reading, exploring diverse cuisines, and delighting in watching adorable videos featuring dogs and cats!

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Sovannarith Korm, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral research fellow

          Korm joined Dou Laboratory at MGH and Harvard in the spring of 2024. As graduate student in Dr. Joo-Yong Lee’s lab at Chungnam National University and later as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Hui Feng’s lab at Boston University School of Medicine, Korm’s research focused on autophagy and mitochondrial mechanisms in cancer using human cell line, zebrafish, and mouse model systems. Then, he transitioned his cancer research program to investigate maternal aging as a postdoctoral scientist in Dr. Kristin Gribble’s lab, while maintaining a focus on mitochondrial and metabolic mechanisms using Brachionus rotifers as an invertebrate model system. In Dou Lab, he is exploring the fundamental mechanisms underpinning cellular senescence, autophagy, and chronic inflammation in the context of aging and cancer development.

          Outside of the lab, Korm enjoys spending quality time with his family and engaging in a variety of indoor and occasional outdoor activities.

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Jake Ho, M.D., Ph.D.

Visiting Scholar

           Chiakang (Jake) joined Dou Lab at MGH and Harvard in spring 2024. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, and having spent his early childhood in Japan. He received his M.D. training at Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, and his Ph.D. from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine.

          Currently, he's an Attending Surgeon at Shanghai Ninth People’s Hospital, specializing in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. In Dou Lab, Chiakang focuses on the molecular biology of skin senescence.

          Outside the lab, he loves music and traveling, and he also indulges in coffee, tea, white wine, and beer.

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