Xue (Sherry) Gao
Presidential Penn Compact Associate Professor


Email: xuegao@seas.upenn.edu
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Dr. Xue (Sherry) Gao joined the University of Pennsylvania as an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, with a joint appointment in the Department of Bioengineering, starting in January 2024. Dr. Gao also serves as a core faculty member at Penn’s Center for Precision Engineering for Health. Prior to Penn, Dr. Gao held the position of Ted N. Law Assistant Professor at Rice University in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from July 2017. The Gao lab research is situated at the interaction of biomolecular engineering, biochemistry, and chemical biology, with a primary focus on small- and macro-molecules for advancements in human health. Dr. Xue Sherry Gao earned her doctoral degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2013. Following her PhD, Dr. Gao pursued postdoctoral research at Harvard University and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Her academic achievements include receiving the 2024 BMES-CMBE Rising Star Award, the 2022 NSF CAREER AWARD, the 2022 Outstanding Young Faculty at Rice School of Engineering, and the 2020 NIH MIRA R35 AWARD, among others.


Research Interests
The Gao laboratory is dedicated to advancing the development of highly specific and potent genome-editing tools with broad applications in disease treatment, diagnostics, and the exploration of novel small-molecule drugs. Our research focuses on the engineering of precision and multiplex CRISPR genome-editing techniques, which not only offer a safe and effective approach to addressing genetic disorders but also hold promise for engineering microbial and plant genomes, enabling the production of innovative small moles with therapeutic potential. In addition to our genome-editing efforts, our laboratory is at the forefront of engineering ultrasensitive viral detection systems. By leveraging enhanced CRISPR systems, we aim to significantly improve the accuracy and timeliness of viral diagnostic methods, particularly in the context of pandemics and epidemics. Our mission is to contribute to cutting-edge research that has the potential to revolutionize molecular therapy, genetic engineering, and diagnostics, ultimately benefiting healthcare and biotechnology industries.


Research Areas
Cellular and Biomolecular Engineering


Educational Background
Ph.D.: University of California, Los Angeles (2013)
M.S.: Tianjin University (2007)
B.S.: Tianjin University (2005)


2024 BMES-CMBE Rising Star Award
2022 NSF CAREER Award
2022 Invitee to US-China Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, National Academy of Engineering
2020 NIH Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award
2018 The Robert A. Welch Research Award


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