Research description

My current research interest falls in the field of neuroimmunology with a main focus on multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Alzheimer's disease (AD).  I'm doing my PhD in Robert Harris group, and we are trying to understand the role of microglia and peripheral-derived macrophages in CNS disorders. We aim to find applicable strategies to combat neuroinflammatory disorders by regulating dysfunctional microglia and other myeloid cells.

Currently, I'm leading the following projects:

1. Drug repurposing and nanoengineering for neuroinflammatory diseases.

2. TGF-β signaling in microglia.

3. Corepressor complexes in the regulation of microglial function and CNS homeostasis.

4. The TRPV1 receptor in demyelination and remyelination.

Selected publications:

Zhu K, Wang Y, Sarlus H, Geng K, Nutma E, Sun J, Kung S, Bay C, Han J, Min J, Benito-Cuesta I, Lund H, Amor S, Wang J, Zhang X.M., Kutter C, Guerreiro Cacais A.O., Högberg B, Harris RA. Myeloid cell‐specific topoisomerase 1 inhibition using DNA origami mitigates neuroinflammation. EMBO Reports 2022

Carlström K, Zhu K, Ewing E, Krabbendam I, Harris R, Falcão A, Jagodic M, Castelo-Branco G, Piehl F. Gsta4 controls apoptosis of differentiating adult oligodendrocytes during homeostasis and remyelination via the mitochondria-associated Fas-Casp8-Bid-axis. Nature Communications 2020

Zhu K, Pieber M, Han J, Blomgren K, Zhang X-M, Harris R, Lund H. Absence of microglia or presence of peripherally-derived macrophages does not affect tau pathology in young or old hTau mice. Glia 2020

Chen Y, Sun J, Chen W, Wu G, Wang Y, Zhu K #, Wang J #. miR-124/VAMP3 is a novel therapeutic target for mitigation of surgical trauma-induced microglial activation. Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy 2019 (# co-corresponding author).

Lund H, Pieber M, Parsa R, Grommisch D, Ewing E, Kular L, Han J, Zhu K, Nijssen J, Hedlund E, Needhamsen M, Ruhrmann S, Guerreiro-Cacais AO, Berglund R, Forteza MJ, Ketelhuth DFJ, Butovsky O, Jagodic M, Zhang XM, Harris RA. Fatal demyelinating disease is induced by monocyte-derived macrophages in the absence of TGF-β signaling. Nature immunology 2018.

Zhu K, Sun J, Kang Z, Zou Z, Wu G, Wang J. Electroacupuncture Promotes Remyelination after Cuprizone Treatment by Enhancing Myelin Debris Clearance. Frontiers in neuroscience 2017.

Teaching portfolio

Supervised 2 master students for a master project report:

Timas Shin-Yu Kung (8 months, Karolinska Institutet)

Cindy Bay (2 months, Heidelberg University) 



2014-2017 M.Sc, Department of Integrative Medicine and Neurobiology, Fudan University, Shanghai, China;

2009-2014 Bachelor's Degree, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China.

9-12/2010  Exchange Student, Dong-eui University, Busan, South Korea.           

Academic honours, awards and prizes

1. Selected for an oral presentation at Karolinska Institutet Inflammation and Immunology network (KIIM) Retreat (Lidingö, 2021)

2. Received research grant from Neurofonden (72, 200 SEK) for the research proposal Novel immunotherapy for neuroinflammation: drug repurposing and nanoengineering for myeloid cells (Stockholm, 2020)

3. Poster presentation at the17th Congress of the International Union of Immunological Societies (Beijing, 2019)

4. Travel Grant from European Federation of Immunological Societies and European Journal of Immunology (EFIS-EJI) for 5th European Congress of Immunology (Amsterdam, 2018)

5. Travel Grant from Scandinavian Society for Immunology (SSI) for 5th European Congress of Immunology (Amsterdam, 2018)

6. Honor of Excellent Graduate Student of Shanghai (Shanghai, 2017)

7. Best Poster Award, 14th Meeting of the Asian-Pacific Society for Neurochemistry (Kuala Lumper, 2016)

8. National Scholarship for Graduate Students in China (Shanghai, 2016)