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BMS 290 Human Physiology
BMS 291 Human Physiology Laboratory
Postdoctoral fellow Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center 2016
Ph.D. Physiology University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign 2011
M.S. Microbiology Wuhan University, China 2004
B.S. Biological Sciences Qufu Normal University, China 2001
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The heart undergoes hypertrophy in response to increased workload caused by physiological or pathological stimulation, such as exercise, pregnancy, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease. Research in my lab focuses on understanding the molecular mechanism underlying cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. We are particularly interested with a group of protein phosphatases called dual specificity phosphatases (DUSPs) that dephosphorylate mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) at the threonine and tyrosine residues. In my previous study, DUSP8 was discovered to control the growth dynamics of cardiomyocytes through regulation of ERK1/2 signaling in mouse heart (Circulation research, 2016). However, it is still unknown how the subcellular localization and activity of DUSP8 are regulated. In the next step, the critical motifs within DUSP8 protein will be mutated using site-directed mutagenesis approach to assess the functional consequences.
Another interesting project in my lab is to investigate the role of ERK1/2 signaling in homeostasis using mice deficient for both Dusp6 and Dusp8 genes. Both DUSP6 and DUSP8 are ERK1/2 specific DUSPs in vivo. We hypothesize that loss of both Dusp6 and Dusp8 genes leads to enhanced ERK signaling and altered growth of cardiac myocytes, which protects the heart from disease. We will analyze ERK1/2 signaling in mouse embryonic fibroblasts and heart at baseline and following stimulation. We will also collaborate with Dr. Jeffery Molkentin at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for assessment of cardiac function using echocardiography. Students performing research in my lab will not only learn a variety of experimental skills such as molecular cloning, cell culture, western blot, quantitative PCR, microscopy, mouse husbandry and surgery, they will also be trained to answer big questions in biomedical field.