Cunjia Qiu, BS

Graduate Student

Cunjia - Qiu, BS

Contact Info:

Phone: 574-631-2316


2014 – Present Graduate student, Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame
2013 B.S., Pharmacy, Nankai University, People’s Republic of China

Honors and Awards

2014-2015 Peter J. Grace Fellowship
2012 Nankai University Second Prize for Excellent Undergraduates
2011 CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Scholarship
2010 CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Scholarship

Research Interests

Group A Streptococcus (GAS), also called streptococcus pyogenes, is a Gram-positive human pathogen, ranked in the of top ten infectious causes of human mortality. Among a variety of virulence factors, PAM, short for plasminogen-binding group A streptococcal M-like protein, is of great importance to pathogenesis of Pattern-D GAS strains specifically. The a1-a2 region near N-terminus of PAM plays a critical role in binding to plasminogen. After activation by streptokinase, plasminogen will convert to plasmin, a kind of serine protease, which deposits on the cell surface of GAS to degrade fibrin clots to promote GAS dissemination into deeper tissues. Different PAM-positive strains have distinct sequences of a1-a2 region, which will lead to differences in binding abilities to plasminogen. My project will also include using NMR to differentiate tertiary structures of PAM plasminogen-binding patterns in various stains of GAS. Therefore, my research interests are to find which pattern of a1-a2 region gives rise to a stronger plasminogen-binding ability.

Recent Publications

Qiu C, Yuan Y, Zajicek J, Liang Z, Balsara RD, Brito-Robionson T, Lee SW, Ploplis VA, Castellino FJ. Contributions of different modules of the plasminogen-binding Streptococcus pyogenes M-protein that mediate its functional dimerization. J Struct Biol. 2018 Nov;204(2):151-164. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2018.07.017. Epub 2018 Jul 30.PMID: 30071314

Yuan Y, Zajicek J, Qiu C, Chandrahas V, Lee SW, Ploplis VA, Castellino FJ. Conformationally organized lysine isosteres in Streptococcus pyogenes M protein mediate direct high-affinity binding to human plasminogen. J Biol Chem. 2017 Sep 8;292(36):15016-15027. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.794198. Epub 2017 Jul 19. PMID: 28724633