Research in the Zhang laboratory is focused on intracellular stress response originated from the ER and mitochondria that modulate inflammation and metabolism associated with metabolic disease and cancer. Biochemical, physiological or pathological stimuli, such as viral infection, chemical insult, genetic mutation, metabolic syndromes, nutrient deprivation and even normal differentiation of specialized cells, can disrupt ER homeostasis and subsequently cause accumulation of unfolded or misfolded proteins in the ER lumen-a condition referred to as â??ER stressâ?. Under those conditions, the ER and mitochondria can interact with each other and build up a dynamic network where they generate calcium signal, oxidative stress and the inflammatory responses. They use biochemical approaches and animal genetics to investigate how cellular stress activates stress sensor molecules including the kinase/endoribonuclease IRE1a and the bZIP transcription factor CREBH to mediate pathophysiological responses.
Part of The Investigator's Annexe program.