top of page
RNA polymerase background


Welcome to the Cao Laboratory

We study bacterial RNA polymerase function and regulation

Our Mission

Our mission is clear: to decode the properties and regulation of RNA polymerases in various bacterial pathogens. By leveraging this knowledge, we strive to pioneer the future of antimicrobial therapies, contributing to a world where infectious diseases are no longer a widespread threat.

Research Focus

At Cao Laboratory, we are committed to advancing the field of biomedical research through our cutting-edge research and innovative solutions. Our research areas include:

  • RNA polymerase structure and function

  • Regulation of transcription complex

  • Antibiotic Discovery


For decades, RNAP has remained a robust and compelling drug target throughout numerous clinical trials. In our laboratory, we utilize techniques such as cryo-EM, next-generation sequencing, biochemical assays, functional genomics, bacterial genetics, and high-throughput screening to study the mechanism by which RNA polymerase regulates gene expression. With this knowledge, we hope to develop new and effective antimicrobial therapies.


Xinyun (Sherry) Cao, Ph.D.

Hello, I am Xinyun Cao. You can also call me Sherry. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign under the guidance of Dr. John Cronan and completed postdoctoral training in Dr. Robert Landick’s lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While I enjoy research, what I find most gratifying in academia is mentoring the next generation of scientists. Witnessing my trainees succeed in their careers is extremely rewarding. Outside of the lab, I like to spend time with my family, watch movies and go hiking.

Join Our Research Group

We welcome fellow researchers, graduate students, and undergraduates with similar research interests to join Cao Laboratory. As part of our dynamic team, you will have the opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research and collaborate in an intellectually stimulating environment. Fill out the form below to start your journey today! Please refer to the Open Positions section for further details.

Thank You for Contacting CAO LABORATORY!

Cao Lab Teamates
bottom of page