Qian (Elizabeth) Xu

Qian (Elizabeth) Xu

Eighteen years ago, when I began my scientific career as a high school student working at the National Institutes of Health, heart disease was the leading killer of American adults and personal computers were not yet ubiquitous in American homes. The explosive growth of interconnected computers and devices has dramatically and permanently changed the way human beings interact. We are in the midst of an ongoing social revolution driven by advances in science and technology.

I am a mother, a wife, an American, a scientist, a writer, and an immigrant. I have benefited from the transformative power of technology in all of these aspects of my life. In my daughter’s lifetime, there is a real chance that humanity may conquer infectious diseases and the energy crisis, paving the way to global peace. I am committed to a career in advancing science to serve society.



Areas of Expertise

  • Cancer, immunology, infectious diseases, synthetic chemistry, biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, biophysics, microscopy

Courses Taught

  • BIOL 332, 91743, Immunology
  • BIOL 130, 21698, How the Immune System Works
  • BIOL 236, 21518, Molecular and Cell Biology


  • University of California, Berkeley 2007 – 2011, Biophysics (Ph.D.)
  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville 2002 – 2006, Biochemistry (B.S.); Physics (B.A.); Mathematics (Minor)

Publications & Articles


  • Honorable Mention, Graduate Research Fellowship Program, National Science Foundation, 2009
  • Echols Scholar, 2002-2006, University of Virginia
  • Semi-finalist, Westinghouse Science and Technology Competition, 2001 Siemens Foundation

Research Interests

In the future, funding agencies will most likely allocate resources towards customizing cancer treatments, understanding the human brain, reversing the effects of climate change, to name a few. For sure, solving these problems will require an interdisciplinary team involving physicists, chemists, biologists, mathematicians, all working in synergy. Having been trained in an interdisciplinary field myself and having taught science courses in physics, chemistry, and biology, I am multilingual in this respect. As a professor, I hope to teach, advise, and help undergraduates develop into similarly multilingual scientists so that they can thrive in a quickly changing social and technological world.