Team Overview

With the notion of science above everything else, a strong tumor research team has been formed, combined with the academic background and interests of the scientists, and concentrated on tackling key tumor science and clinical core issues.

Xuetong(Snow) Shen

Senior Principal Investigator

Research Areas

My early work focuses on chromatin biology, mainly on the biological role of histones and the molecular mechanisms of chromatin remodeling. My current efforts focus on building two new areas in actin biology, one is one nuclear action, the other on the Actin Code.


  • 1996, 1997   Visiting Scientist Fellowship Award, National Cancer Institute, NIH
  • 1997, 1998   Postdoctoral Intramural Research Training Award, NIH
  • 1998, 1999   Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE), NIH
  • 1998- 2001   American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, ACS
  • 2003- 2006   K22 Transition Career Development Award, NCI
  • 2005- 2009   American Cancer Society Research Scholar
  • 2006             Keynote Speaker, EUROCANCER meeting (France)
  • 2008- 2011   MD Anderson Faculty Scholar
  • 2008             HHMI Investigator Competition Semifinalist
  • 2009             HHMI Early Career Investigator Competition Semifinalist

Pictorial View


  • 2021 - Present
    Shenzhen Bay Laboratory  Senior Principal Investigator
  • 2007 - 2021
    MD Anderson Cancer Center  Associate Professor (Tenured)
  • 2002 - 2007
    MD Anderson Cancer Center  Assistant Professor
  • 1996 - 2002
    National Cancer Institute, NIH  Postdoctoral Fellow
  • 1993 - 1996
    University of Rochester  PHD in Molecular and Cell Biology
  • 1991 - 1993
    University of Rochester  MS in Molecular Biology
  • 1987 - 1991
    Peking University  BS in Physiology and Biophysics


Dr. Xuetong (Snow) Shen received his BS in Biophysics from Peking University in 1991. He received his MS degree in Molecular Biology in 1993 and PHD degree in Molecular and Cell Biology in 1996 from University of Rochester. From 1996 to 2002, he completed postdoctoral training at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. Dr. Shen became a Principal Investigator at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2002, and was tenured in 2007.

Dr. Shen’s scientific career is distinguished by original science of fundamental importance. He was one of the major leaders in the revolution of chromatin biology and epigenetics. As a PhD student, his research showed that linker histones play sophisticated regulatory roles in transcription (Cell 1995 and Cell 1996). These findings contributed to a paradigm shift on histones and forecasted the “Chromatin Revolution”. During postdoctoral training, Dr. Shen discovered a new class of chromatin remodeling complexes and solved several major problems in the chromatin field (Nature 2000, Science 2003, Science 2004). As an independent PI from 2002, Dr. Shen’s lab pioneered in linking chromatin to DNA damage response, and developed an intellectual framework for chromatin-based DNA repair, which subsequently helped open up a new field to study DNA damage response from a chromatin viewpoint (Cell 2004, Cell 2007, Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 2010, Genes & Development 2015, Molecular Cell 2015).

Dr. Shen has published more than 10 articles in Cell, Science, and Nature, and is known for his landmark contributions to several areas of biology. Over the past two decades, Dr. Shen continued to innovate beyond chromatin biology, and has opened up two new major research directions. In the first direction, Dr. Shen will establish nuclear actin biology, which will rival classic cytoplasmic actin biology. In the second direction, Dr. Shen will establish Actin Code, similar to the establishment of the Histone Code. Given the evolutionary conservation and fundamental importance of actin, Dr. Shen’s new research directions will have major implications to both basic science and medicine.

Selected Publications

1995 Cell Linker histones are not essential and affect chromatin condensation in vivo.

2000 Nature A chromatin remodelling complex involved in transcription and DNA processing.

2003 Science Modulation of ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes by inositol polyphosphates.

2004 Cell INO80 and gamma-H2AX interaction links ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling to DNA damage repair.

2007 Cell Mec1/Tel1 phosphorylation of the INO80 chromatin remodeling complex influences DNA damage checkpoint responses.