Ping Mu, Ph.D.

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Ping Mu, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed Ping’s life: the search for knowledge, the unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind, and the third…well, we will save that for later.

The profound joy derived from the exploration of knowledge, coupled with the hope of alleviating human suffering, propelled Ping into the realm of biomedical science. His academic journey, heavily inspired by "What I Have Lived For" by Bertrand Russell (and fueled by a daily dose of five espressos), has always centered around a desire to decipher the enigmatic molecular mechanisms of cancer. He's nurtured aspirations of contributing to the discovery of its cure, and grappled with the question of why drug resistance emerges in response to current therapies. A little of this, but not much, he has achieved.

Now, about Ping's third that stands in stark contrast with his initial two — a burgeoning fear of bankruptcy. At the heart of his home life lies his wife, whose plant collection could rival a small botanical garden, a son with dreams of testing waterslides professionally — a career unlikely to make him financially independent after high school, and two dogs with a penchant for chewing anything and everything within the household. These considerations, particularly the whims of the dogs, have led Ping to prudently explore alternative career paths, just in case his current academic journey meets an untimely end. His talents extend to photography, various handyman jobs, 3D printing, officiating weddings, stand-up comedy, and even pest control. Given his financial concerns, one might say that it truly exemplifies Ping's love for his academic pursuits that he chose the hallowed halls of a university over the bustling trading floors of Wall Street. The Russell-inspired passion for knowledge seems to have come with an impressively eclectic set of caffeinated perks!

Ping earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences (Cancer Biology) from Weill Cornell Medical College and got his postdoctoral training with Dr. Charles L. Sawyers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. In mid-2018, Ping joined the faculty at UT Southwestern as an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biology. Ping is the recipient of NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence award (2017), NCI R37 MERIT Award (2021), DoD Idea Development Award (2018), DoD Idea Expansion Award (2021), DoD Postdoctoral Training award (2014), Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator award (2017), SBUR Young Investigator Award (2019), CPRIT Research Award (2022), CPRIT Recruitment award (2017). He is also the Deborah and W.A. “Tex” Moncrief, Jr. Endowed Scholar in Medical Research. 


Dr. Ping Mu discusses how cancer disguises itself, in a fascinating comparison to identity theft, in this video by the Prostate Cancer Foundation.