Assistant Professor |School of Life Sciences, Department of Biology
Dr. Wen Zhou did his PhD study at the Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences. As a Benacerraf postdoctoral fellow in immunology and through a Charles A. King Trust Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard medical school and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (2017–2021), Dr. Wen Zhou has given his extensive experience and training in the field of immunology. His research in postdoc has particularly focused on cGAS-STING immunity pathway as a paradigm for anti-pathogen and anti-tumor signaling. His research provides mechanistic advances in our understanding of how immune cells sense cytosolic DNA in health and diseases.
After joining SUSTech as an assistant professor in April 2021, Dr. Zhou’s lab will seek to reveal the importance of phase separation as a new form regulation in immunity, and to discover new nucleic acid receptors and regulatory factors.
We are working to understand the molecular mechanisms of innate immune responses to pathogens and tumor. Our lab use a combination of biochemistry, cell biology and structural biology to study two main questions: (1) How immune cells precisely control immune surveillance and regulation? (2) What’s the uncharacterized nucleic acid receptors and regulatory factors? We are focusing on:
1. Phase separation as a new form regulation in immunity: Phase separation refers to the formation of liquid droplets in cells due to the weak interactions by numerous macrobiomolecules. Our knowledge of phase separation in immunity is quite limited. We are working to determine the important roles of phase separation in innate immune signaling.
2. Discover novel nucleic acid receptors and regulatory factors: Nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), serve as dangerous signals, are able to induce potent immune responses. Nucleic acid receptors are the key components that control innate immune responses. Bioinformatics analysis suggests that a large number of potential nucleic acid receptors are waiting for discovery. We are working to screen and discover new nucleic acid receptors and related regulatory factors to understand nucleic acid immunity across evolution.