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Molecular and Cellular Biology

Houston, Texas

Image 1: Ovulated mouse cumulus cell oocyte complex immunostained for matrix proteins hyaluronan and versican. By JoAnne Richards, Ph.D.; Image 2: By Yi LI, Ph.D.; Image 3: Mouse oocyte at meiosis I immunostained  for tubulin (red) phosphop38MAPK (green) and DNA (blue). By JoAnne Richards,  Ph.D.;  Image 4: Expanded cumulus cell ooctye ocmplex  immunostained for hyaluronan (red), TSG6 (green) and DAN (blue). By JoAnne  Richards, Ph.D.;  Image 5: Epithelial cells taken from a mouse  mammary gland were cultured in a dish and transduced with a retrovirus  expressing two genes. The green staining shows green fluorescent protein and the red  staining shows progesterone receptor expression. The nucleus of each cell is  stained blue. Photomicrograph taken at 200X magnification.  By Sandra L. Grimm,  Ph.D.; Image 6: Ovarian vasculature (red) is excluded from the granulosa cells (blue) within growing follicles (round structures); Image 7:  Ovulated mouse cumulus cell oocyte  complex immunostained for matrix proteins hyaluronan and versican. By JoAnne Richards, Ph.D.
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
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Wah Chiu, Ph.D.

Alvin Romansky Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Molecular and Cellular Biology


Ph.D.: University of California, Berkeley
Postdoctoral training: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Research Interest

Electron Cryomicroscopy of Molecular Machines and Cells
Dr. Chiu’s laboratory has pioneered various experimental and computational methods in biological cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). He is the founding director of two NIH supported research Centers: National Center for Macromolecular Imaging ( and Center for Protein Folding Machinery ( Both Centers involve multiple investigators from diverse disciplines in biology, medicine, physics, chemistry, engineering and computing from different institutions and industries across the U.S. and oversea. His current research focuses on the structure determinations of molecular chapeonins, dsDNA viruses, virus-cell complexes and human platelet.

Contact Information

Baylor College of Medicine
One Baylor Plaza, N420
Houston, TX 77030

Phone: 713-798-6985
Lab Web Site:

Selected Publications

  1. Koyfman A Y, Schmid M F, Gheiratmand L, Fu CJ, Khant HA, Huang D, He CY and Chiu W. (2011). Structure of Trypanosoma brucei flagellum accounts for its bihelical motion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108: 11105-8. PMCID3131312.
  2. Cong Y, Schröder GF, Meyer AS, Jakana J, Ma B, Dougherty MT, Schmid MF, Reissmann S, Levitt M, Ludtke SL, Frydman J and Chiu W.(2011). Symmetry-free cryo-EM structures of the chaperonin TRiC along its ATPase-driven conformational cycle. The EMBO J 31(3): 720-730. PMCID 3273382
  3. Rochat RH, Liu X, Murata K, Nagayama K, Rixon FJ and Chiu W. (2011). Seeing the portal in herpes simplex virus type 1 B capsids. J Virol 85:1871-4. PMCID3028901
  4. Zhang R, Hryc CF, Cong Y, Liu X, Jakana J, Gorchakov R, Baker ML, Weaver SC and Chiu W. (2011). 4.4 Å cryo-EM structure of an enveloped alphavirus Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus. The EMBO J. 30(18): 3854-3863. PMCID3173789
  5. Chang JT, Schmid MF, Haase-Pettingell C, Weigele PR, King JA and Chiu W. (2010). Visualizing the structural changes of bacteriophage Epsilon15 and its Salmonella host during infection. J Mol Biol 402: 731-740. PMCID 20709082
  6. Liu X, Zhang Q, Murata K, Baker ML, Sullivan MB, Fu C, Dougherty M, Schmid MF, Osburne MS, Chisholm SW and Chiu W. (2010). Structural changes in a marine Podovirus associated with release of its genome into Prochlorococcus. Nature Struct & Mol Bio. 17: 830-836. PMC2924429
  7. Zhang J, Baker ML, Schröder GF, Douglas NR, Reissmann S, Jakana J, Dougherty M, Fu CF, Levitt M, Ludtke SJ, Frydman J and Chiu W. (2010). Mechanism of folding chamber closure in a group II chaperonin. Nature 463: 379-383. PMCID2834796
  8. Jiang W, Baker ML, Jakana J, Weigele PR, King J and Chiu W. (2008). Backbone structure of the infectious epsilon15 virus capsid revealed by electron cryomicroscopy. Nature 451: 1130-4. PMCID: 18305544
  9. Jiang W, Chang J, Jakana J, Weigele P, King J and Chiu W. (2006). Structure of epsilon15 bacteriophage reveals genome organization and DNA packaging/injection apparatus. Nature, 439: 612-6. PMCID1559657.
  10. Schmid MF, Sherman M, Matsudaira P and Chiu W. (2004). Structure of the acrosomal bundle. Nature, 431: 104-107.

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