Zhou Zhu M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Immunology) and of Medicine (Immunology)
Our studies are on glycoligand receptors, siglecs, that are expressed on the immune cells such as eosinophils (Siglec-8) and neutrophils (Siglec-9) in specific pulmonary diseases. The unique expression patterns of these siglecs, the specific binding to glycoligands, and the consequent cellular responses, including apoptosis, are being explored as potential targets and pathways for the development of effective therapeutic approaches for pulmonary diseases such as asthma and COPD.
Glycobiology of inflammatory lung diseases
Siglec-8 in eosinophil inflammation and asthma
Siglec-9 in neutrophil inflammation and COPD
SHP-1 regulation of allergic and inflammatory diseases
Role of SHIP-1 in anaphylaxis and asthma
Pulmonary inflammation is an important immune response that underlies many diseases, including asthma and COPD. Cytokines, chemokines, and other factors play important roles in initiation, regulation, and resolution of inflammation in the lung. Our laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms and specific pathways that regulate inflammation. Our studies involve clinical samples including tissues and cells from patients and we utilize animal models of allergen induced, cytokine induced, and spontaneous inflammatory responses in the lung. These include allergen sensitization and challenge models, transgenic models in which specific cytokines or factors are targeted to the lung, and natural mutant models. Using these models and techniques we will be able to identify novel molecules and pathways that mediate or regulate pulmonary inflammation.
Extensive Research Description
Another area of research is in understanding the regulatory mechanisms in food allergy and anaphylaxis. During allergen-triggered responses, for example in anaphylaxis, activation of immune cells, release of mediators, and tissue and cellular responses are involved but are highly regulated by many factors. Using animal models of anaphylaxis we are identifying some of these factors, processes and the underlying mechanisms. Findings from these studies will help us to understand, and enable us to modify and improve the anaphylactic processes.