My current research interest lies in the field of neuroimmunology, with a primary focus on multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Using a panel of transgenic mouse lines and pharmacological approaches, I conduct research to understand the role of microglia and peripherally-derived macrophages in CNS disorders. Specifically, I study microglial TGF-β signaling in maintaining CNS homeostasis and myelin health, and how it mediates interactions between microglia and oligodendrocytes. By applying single-cell sequencing and spatial-temporal characterization, I'm also unraveling the heterogeneity of microglia and oligodendrocytes and their implications in CNS pathologies. Additionally, I aim to find applicable strategies to combat neuroinflammatory disorders by regulating dysfunctional microglia and other myeloid cells.
Master students with relevant expertise and experience in animal experiments are welcome to contact for internships.
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.
Sun J*, Zhu K*, Wang Y*, Wang D, Zhang M, Sarlus H, Benito-Cuesta I, Zhao X, Zou Z, Zhong Q, Feng Y, Wu S, Wang Y, Harris RA#, Wang J#. Activation of TRPV1 receptor facilitates myelin repair following demyelination via the regulation of microglial function. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica 2022
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
Ineichen B, Zhu K, Carlström K. Axonal mitochondria adjust in size depending on g-ratio of surrounding myelin during homeostasis and advanced remyelination. Journal of Neuroscience Research 2021
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
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
Han J, Zhu K, Zhou K, Hakim R, Sankavaram S, Blomgren K, Lund H, Zhang X.M., Harris RA. Sex-Specific Effects of Microglia-Like Cell Engraftment during Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 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).
Zhu K, Sun J, Kang Z, Zou Z, Wu X, Wang Y, Wu G, Harris RA, Wang J. Repurposing of omeprazole for oligodendrocyte differentiation and remyelination. Brain Research 2019
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.
Supervised 3 master students for their master project reports:
Timas Shin-Yu Kung (8 months, Karolinska Institutet, Projects: 1. Microglial reprogramming for neuroinflammatory disorders; 2. Topoisomerase 1 inhibition mitigates microglial activation and neuroinflammation)
Cindy Bay (2 months, Heidelberg University, Project: Topoisomerase 1 inhibition attenuates neuroinflammation)
Zoë Keasberry (6 months, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Project: Improvement of microglial replacement therapy in severe neurological diseases: understanding the depletion and repopulation pattern of microglia following CSF1R inhibition)
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)