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Simon N. Chu, M.S.

Simon N. Chu, M.S.

Senior Medical Student, UCSF
UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Research Fellow



Contact Information

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  • University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, M.S., Health and Medical Sciences
  • University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, B.A., Public Health
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Surgical Innovations Programs
  • UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program
  • UCSF Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved
  • General Surgery
  • Transplant Surgery
  • Immunological correlates of transplantation rejection and tolerance
  • Solid organ transplantation in persons with HIV

Simon N. Chu, M.S. is a medical research fellow in the Transplantation Research Laboratory, co-mentored by Dr. Qizhi Tang and Dr. Peter Stock in the Department of Surgery. He received his B.A. in Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley and his M.S. in Health and Medical Sciences through the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program. Simon is also a member of the PRIME Program in Medicine for the Urban Underserved at UCSF.

His longstanding interest in the human immune system has lead him to numerous research investigations. In the laboratory of Dr. Warner Greene, he identified two unique proteins in seminal fluid that contributed to the enhancement of HIV infection and served as potential new drug targets in the creation of multi-combinational antiviral microbicides. In his graduate studies in the laboratory of Dr. Joseph "Mike" McCune, he characterized the role and mechanisms by which gut-resident commensal bacterial species can inhibit inflammatory pathways in the gut, which has been associated with HIV disease progression. He is currently pursuing the Doctor of Medicine degree at UCSF.

  • Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved Equity Plus Award
  • UCSF Dean's Prize in Research and Scholarship (Long-Term Research Pathway in Molecular Medicine, 2017-2018) 
  • UCSF Dean's Prize in Research and Scholarship (Short-Term Research Pathway in Molecular Medicine, 2014-2015)
  • UCSF Pathways Explore/Resource Allocation Program for Trainees Research Grant
  • UC Berkeley Graduate Opportunity Program Master's Fellowship Award
  • Helen Marguerite Schoeneman Scholarship Award (2-time recipient)
  • UCB/UCSF Joint Medical Program Scholarship Award
  • UCB/UCSF Joint Medical Program Thesis Research Award
  • California Alumni Scholars Association, Leadership Award Scholar (3-time recipient)
  • UC Berkeley School of Public Health Center for Infectious Disease Preparedness Scholarship Award
  • National Society of Collegiate Scholars
  • Sigma Alpha Pi Honor Society
  • U.S. House of Representatives Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition
  • Tri-City Medical Center Auxiliary Scholarship
  • State of California Governor's Scholar
  • Sierra Club San Diego Chapter Service Medal
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Simon Chu In Lab For Bio

Currently, Simon N. Chu is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow pursuing investigations into the immunological basis of enhanced transplant rejection in HIV-positive solid organ transplant recipients. In a large multi-site clinical trial of liver and kidney transplants in people living with HIV, recipients were found to have a 2 to 3 fold higher rate of rejection compared to age-matched individuals without the virus. This observation was unexpected and counterintuitive, given that such individuals are virally immunosuppressedIn order to make transplantation a safer and more efficacious option for people living with HIV who develop end-stage organ failure, he aims to identify pre-transplant immunological correlates of rejection in this patient population. By utilizing high-dimensional flow cytometric and multiplex gene expression analysis, he is seeking to identify novel biomarkers associated with the development of acute cellular rejection. In the era of precision medicine, these results may help transplant clinicians and surgeons identify at-risk patients and allow for individualized tailoring and targeted escalation of immunosuppression. Lastly, these studies will serve as a catalyst towards identifying new immunologic mechanisms responsible for this paradoxical enhanced rejection. 

In addition to his basic science immunology research, Chu also conducts multidisciplinary research in translational biomedical device development and surgical education. He is the Clinical Lead of the Tabla Research Team for the laboratory of Shuvo Roy PhD, in the Department of Bioengineering. Utilizing a low-cost, non-invasive acoustic diagnostic device, he directs two clinical studies to characterize fluid accumulation during respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia and heart failure exacerbation. Combining audio processing methods and machine learning algorithms, this work aims to assist clinicians in the rapid and accurate diagnosis of lung disease. 

Furthermore, in the research group of Patricia O'Sullivan, his research in surgical education aims to better understand the unique and challenging teaching environment of robotic surgery. Through qualitative analysis of the complex instructional behaviors and interactions between attending surgeons and residents, his efforts are guiding the development of a structured, evidence-based robotic surgery curriculum for surgical trainees. 

Chu's research has an excellent track record of public and private funding, with publication in respected peer-reviewed journals. His work has been presented and recognized nationally and internationally. In 2018, he was awarded the School of Medicine Dean's Prize for Research and Scholarship in Molecular Medicine for the second time. 

  1. Vujkovic-Cvijin, Ivan, Louise A. Swainson, Simon N. Chu, Alexandra M. Ortiz, Clark A. Santee, Annalise Petriello, Richard M. Dunham et al. "Gut-resident Lactobacillus abundance associates with IDO1 inhibition and Th17 dynamics in SIV-infected macaques." Cell reports 13, no. 8 (2015): 1589-1597.
  2. Roan, Nadia R., Simon Chu, Haichuan Liu, Jason Neidleman, H. Ewa Witkowska, and Warner C. Greene. "Interaction of fibronectin with semen amyloids synergistically enhances HIV infection." The Journal of infectious diseases 210, no. 7 (2014): 1062-1066.
  3. Roan, Nadia R., Haichuan Liu, Shariq M. Usmani, Jason Neidleman, Janis A. Müller, Aram Avila-Herrera, Ali Gawanbachtet, Onofrio Zirafi, Simon Chu, Ming Dong et al. "Liquefaction of semen generates and later degrades a conserved semenogelin peptide that enhances HIV infection." Journal of virology 88, no. 13 (2014): 7221-7234.
  4. Chen, Joseph C., Brittni A. Johnson, David W. Erikson, Terhi T. Piltonen, Fatima Barragan, Simon Chu, Nargis Kohgadai et al. "Seminal plasma induces global transcriptomic changes associated with cell migration, proliferation and viability in endometrial epithelial cells and stromal fibroblasts." Human Reproduction 29, no. 6 (2014): 1255-1270. 
  5. Roan, Nadia R., Janis A. Müller, Haichuan Liu, Simon Chu, Franziska Arnold, Christina M. Stürzel, Paul Walther et al. "Peptides released by physiological cleavage of semen coagulum proteins form amyloids that enhance HIV infection." Cell host & microbe 10, no. 6 (2011): 541-550. 
  6. McNamara-Schroeder, Kathleen, Cheryl Olonan, Simon Chu, Maria Montoya, Mahta Alviri, Shannon Ginty, and John J. Love. "DNA Fingerprint Analysis of Three Short Tandem Repeat STR Loci for Biochemistry and Forensics Laboratory Courses."
  1. Pre-Transplant Immune Markers of Rejection Risk in HIV-Positive Transplant Recipients. Oral presentation at the 27th International Congress of The Transplantation Society, Madrid, Spain, 2018.
  2. Comparative Analysis of Alloantigen-Stimulated Gene Expression in HIV(+) Liver Transplant Rejectors Versus Non-Rejectors. Poster presentation at the 2018 American Transplant Congress, Seattle, Washington, 2018.
  3. Peripheral Blood Gene Expression Analysis Reveals Recipient-Driven Markers of Rejection Risk in HIV(+) Transplant Recipients. Oral presentation at the 2018 UCSF School of Medicine Inquiry Symposium, San Francisco, California, 2018.
  4. Comparative Analysis Alloantigen-Stimulated Gene Expression in HIV(+) Transplant Rejectors Versus Non-Rejectors. Oral presentation at the 31st Annual J. Engelbert Dunphy Resident Research Symposium, San Francisco, California, 2018.
  5. Immune Profiling of Rejection Biomarkers in HIV-Positive Transplant Recipients. Poster presentation at the 2018 AAP/ASCI/APSA Joint Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, 2018.
  6. Dealing with Rejection: The Future of Solid Organ Transplantation in Persons with HIV. Oral presentation at the 2018 Howard Hughes Medical Institute West Coast Regional Meeting, San Diego, California, 2018.
  7. Gene Expression Profiling of Enhanced Transplant Rejection in HIV-Positive Recipients. Poster presentation at the 2018 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Meeting, Chevy Chase, Maryland, 2018.
  8. Analysis of Instructional Behaviors in Robotic Surgery. Oral presentation at the 13th Annual Academic Surgical Congress Meeting, Jacksonville, Florida, 2018.
  9. Host-Microbiome Dynamics During SIV Infection: Gut-Resident Lactobacilli Associate with Mucosal Immune Homeostasis. Oral presentation at the 2015 American Society for Microbiology General Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana. 2015. Abstract selected for a Young Investigator Oral Presentation Session: ASM Lecturer's Choice: Recent Developments in Microbiome Research.
  10. Gut-resident Lactobacillus spp. Modulate Th17 Cells via IDO1 Inhibition in SIV-infected Rhesus Macaques. Poster presentation at 2015 Keystone Symposia: Gut Microbiota Modulation of Host Physiology: The Search for Mechanism, Keystone, Colorado, 2015.
  11. Elucidating the Function of Lactobacillus in Modulating Tryptophan Catabolism and Maintaining Gastrointestinal Mucosal Integrity in SIV Pathogenesis. Oral presentation at the 2015 Pathways Explore Symposium, UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco, California, 2015.
  12. The Effect of Liquefaction on the Ability of Semen and Semen Amyloid Fibrils to Enhance HIV Infection. Oral presentation at the 19th International AIDS Conference, Washington D.C., 2012.
  13. Identification and Characterization of Amyloid Fibrils from Human Semen that Enhance HIV Infection. Seminar at Symposium of the International Graduate School in Molecular Medicine, Ulm University, Germany, 2012.
  14. Identification and Characterization of Amyloid Fibrils from Human Semen that Enhance HIV Infection. Seminar at Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China, 2011.
  15. Identification and Characterization of Amyloid Fibrils from Human Semen that Enhance HIV Infection. Seminar at University of California, Berkeley, Infectious Diseases and Immunity Seminar Series, 2011.
  16. Human Seminal Plasma Induces Transcriptome Changes in Endometrial Epithelial Cells and Stromal Fibroblasts Associated with Inflammation and Angiogenesis. Abstract at the 60th Meeting of the Society for Gynecological Investigation, Orlando, Florida, 2013.
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