UCSF Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics

Elected to National Academy of Sciences in 2020

Dr. Cheng, a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, has been at the forefront of a revolution in atomic-resolution molecular imaging using a technique called cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM).

Dr. Cheng's technical innovations in cryoEM have allowed scientists to obtain high-resolution views of biologically important proteins in their native state, including the atomic details of their components, their spatial arrangements and interactions between them. In collaboration with the lab of David Julius, PhD, Cheng's lab revealed the first structures of TRPV1, an ion channel in the membranes of nerve cells that detects both heat and the spiciness of chili peppers. Dr. Cheng joined the UCSF faculty in 2006.

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