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Dr Qingyang Kong
Department of Microbial Disease
UCL Medical School, Royal Free Campus
Rowland Hill Street
Dr Qingyang Kong profile picture
  • Research Fellow
  • Eastman Dental Institute
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences

I had my BSc in Biological Sciences at Jilin University, China. During my undergraduate years, I undertook a broad range of courses in the field of biology including Microbiology, Cell Biology, Immunology, Physiology and Genetics. I got the chance to work on a project isolating bacteria from hot springs in Changbai Mountain in the final year. 

I then moved to London to get my MSc in Biomedical and Molecular Science research at King’s College London in which I validated four of 17 herbal formulae and 11 individual herbs reported in Traditional Chinese Medicine that may have potential anti- or pro- inflammatory/fibrotic activities, and studied the roles of three genes in kidney development to begin to investigate their potential anti-fibrotic role(s). However, I also found that there was limited knowledge of the kidney matrix component despite the important role of matrix plays during inflammation and fibrosis in the kidney. After briefly working as a marketing/sales specialist in a multinational bioanalytic instrument company, I decided to go to the UCL Department of Renal Medicine to study the kidney cortical matrix as a PhD student to further develop a research career.

During my PhD, I collaborated with a group of scientists in University of Manchester to characterise the tubulointerstitial matrix of the human kidney cortex and revealed distinct age-related changes in both glomeruli and tubulointerstitium using proteomics. In order to study how different renal cells interact with matrix, I then developed a cube-based decellularisation protocol to create matrix scaffold from human kidney cortical matrix and the decellularised matrix was characterised by microscopy and MS-based proteomics. After the protocol was finalised, three renal cells (podocytes, proximal tubular epithelial cells and interstitial fibroblasts) from kidney cortex were placed onto the matrix scaffolds. Analysis of differentiation markers suggests that the matrix enhances the differentiation of epithelial cells and podocytes and may promote the myofibroblast differentiation of interstitial fibroblasts.

During my PhD, I came across the topic of chronic urinary tract infection and was surprised by the lack of understanding of the normal microbiological ecology in the bladder. After I learnt how this condition affected the life of patients, I decided to take this great opportunity and joined the newly established Bladder Infection and Immunity Group to help improving our understanding of the bladder microbiome and how it changes during chronic infections. 

Skills acquired: Developed decellularisation protocol, mass spectrometry data analysis, mammalian cell culture, primary cell culture, human endothelial progenitor cells isolation, western blotting, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescent and histology staining, RT-qPCR, microarray, bacteria and virus culture, gene cloning, enzyme kinetics, bioinformatics, gene knock-out using siRNA

Research Themes
Research Summary

I has begun work with Dr. Rajvinder Khasriya and Dr. Harry Horsley to investigate the long-term changes in the microbiological bladder ecology in patients treated with antibiotics for chronic UTI and in healthy volunteers. This vital work will enable us to better understand the bacteria responsible for causing chronic UTI. 

We are also working to identify changes in antimicrobial resistant genes in treated UTI patients.

JUN-2021 Research Fellow Department of Microbial Disease University College London, United Kingdom
MAR-2014 – JUN-2014 Senior Account Executive   Molecular Devices, China
MAR-2012 – FEB-2014 Senior Marketing Specialist   Molecular Devices, China
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