Department of Pathology
Case Western Reserve University, USA
Dr. Zhou completed her PhD thesis studying the gap junction protein regulation by Src oncogene. Since 1999, Dr. Zhou’s research has been focusing on the glycosylation regulation of selectin-selectin ligand interaction and fucosylation modification of Notch in hematopoiesis. Dr. Zhou has conducted research to try to understand the functional regulation of hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) fate specification and differentiation, myeloid and lymphoid cell homeostasis, and HSC self-renewal and niche development by fucosylated glycans present on Notch and selectin ligands. Her findings published on Blood (2008) that mice with fucosyl-glycan deficiency develop myeloid hyperplasia revealed for the first time that deficiency of Notch O-fucose modification contributes to aberrant myeloid homeostasis. Following that study, Dr. Zhou has used mouse models to investigate the role of Notch-ligand interaction modified by fucosylation in HSC lineage commitment and lineage differentiation, and more recently, the role of interaction between Notch and Notch ligand pairing in the placement of HSC in the marrow niche that regulates HSC homeostasis. Dr. Zhou also works on leukemia niche requirement using activated Notch1-driven T-ALL mouse models.
Her long term research goals include, 1) to understand the mechanism(s) through which Notch-ligand interaction elicits downstream effect and coordinates with other adhesion molecules and cytokine network in HSC homing, niche lodgement and reconstitution, and to translate the knowledge gained from animal models into clinical studies in the future to develop novel approaches to improve stem cell therapy through modulation of Notch glycosylation; 2) to identify cellular and/or soluble factors that are essential to bone marrow niche support of leukemic cells or critical for suppression of hematopoiesis that are amenable to disruption, either through targeting the tumor itself, or the niche environment; and 3) to develop a deeper understanding of the role of Notch signaling in pancreatic cancer development.