Dr Yuanzhao Cao

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Institute for Molecular Bioscience


I am an internationally competitive cell biologist with skills in molecular and cell biology, stem cell biology, mechanisms of protein activation, inflammatory and metabolic diseases, cancers, cardiovascular disease, as well as pharmaceutical drug discovery and development. I have more than 6 years’ research experience since my PhD commencement. My work in the last 3 years has resulted in invitations to present at scientific meetings, including at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging Symposium (DEC 2020), UQ ECR Life Science Symposium (MAY 2022), IMB Cell Biology Forum (JUL 2022), The Safety Pharmacology Society 2022 Annual Meeting (present by my collaborator Nanion Technologies, Canada, SEP 2022), as well as invitations to attend UQ Research Commercialisation Workshop (JUL 2022). Since my PhD completion in 2020, I have been working on cardiovascular development and disease using human pluripotent stem cells and gene/protein interaction approaches to study pathologies in the heart and to discover novel drugs. My work has attracted to Peer Review on Pathogens (2021-2022), Cell Stem Cell (MAR 2022), IUBMB Life (JUL 2022), Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology (SEP 2022) . Additionally, I am supervising two undergraduate students (50% each) as well as one Medical Degree student (100%) on cardiac cell biology projects, including cardiac cell differentiation from human stem cell, maturation, disease modelling and drug screening. This work is currently supported by fellowship funding from University of Queensland and federal funding support from the Palpant laboratory supporting my early career research in academia.

Research Impacts

My research outcomes are contributing to new drugs that can reduce hospitalisations in cardiac ischemia and the health burden on our community, while raising the international reputation of Australia through high impact publications in cell biology.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland


  • Kramer, Simon, Kotapati, Charan, Cao, Yuanzhao, Fry, Bryan G., Palpant, Nathan J., King, Glenn F. and Cardoso, Fernanda C. (2024). High-content fluorescence bioassay investigates pore formation, ion channel modulation and cell membrane lysis induced by venoms. Toxicon: X, 21 100184, 100184. doi: 10.1016/j.toxcx.2024.100184

  • Wu, Zhixuan, Shen, Sophie, Mizikovsky, Dalia, Cao, Yuanzhao, Naval-Sanchez, Marina, Tan, Siew Zhuan, Alvarez, Yanina D., Sun, Yuliangzi, Chen, Xiaoli, Zhao, Qiongyi, Kim, Daniel, Yang, Pengyi, Hill, Timothy A., Jones, Alun, Fairlie, David P., Pébay, Alice, Hewitt, Alex W., Tam, Patrick P.L., White, Melanie D., Nefzger, Christian M. and Palpant, Nathan J. (2024). Wnt dose escalation during the exit from pluripotency identifies tranilast as a regulator of cardiac mesoderm. Developmental Cell. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2024.01.019

  • Friedman, Clayton E., Cheetham, Seth W., Negi, Sumedha, Mills, Richard J., Ogawa, Masahito, Redd, Meredith A., Chiu, Han Sheng, Shen, Sophie, Sun, Yuliangzi, Mizikovsky, Dalia, Bouveret, Romaric, Chen, Xiaoli, Voges, Holly K., Paterson, Scott, De Angelis, Jessica E., Andersen, Stacey B., Cao, Yuanzhao, Wu, Yang, Jafrani, Yohaann M.A., Yoon, Sohye, Faulkner, Geoffrey J., Smith, Kelly A., Porrello, Enzo, Harvey, Richard P., Hogan, Benjamin M., Nguyen, Quan, Zeng, Jian, Kikuchi, Kazu, Hudson, James E. and Palpant, Nathan J. (2023). HOPX-associated molecular programs control cardiomyocyte cell states underpinning cardiac structure and function. Developmental Cell, 59 (1), 91-107.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2023.11.012

View all Publications


Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Cao, Yuanzhao, Redd, Meredith A., Shim, Woo Jun, Fang, Chen, Chiu, Han, Azofeifa, Daniela Rojas, Thomas, Ulrich, Lemme, Marta, Dragicevic, Elena, Stoelzle-Feix, Sonja and Palpant, Nathan J. (2023). Disease modeling utilizing human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes and physiological characterization. Safety Pharmacology Society Annual Meeting, Brussels, Belgium, 18-21 September 2023. Philadelphia, PA United States: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/j.vascn.2023.107267

  • Cheng, Kuoyuan, Guo, Fei, Lu, Jiaqi, Cao, Yuanzhao and Xia, Qing (2015). MnTM-4-PyP protects cortical neurons against oxidative stress via induction of cellular antioxidant responses. Joint Meeting of the 20th Biennial Meeting of the International-Society-for-Developmental-Neuroscience / 5th Annual NeuroDevNet Brain Development Conference, Montreal Canada, Jul 19-24, 2014. OXFORD: PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2015.04.276

Grants (Administered at UQ)