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Weiquan Zhu, Ph.D.

Languages spoken: English, Chinese

Academic Information

Departments: Internal Medicine - Research Assistant Professor, Pathology - Adjunct Instructor

Divisions: Cardiovascular Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology

Academic Office Information

(801) 585-0869

360 Wakara Way
Molecular Medicine Program, University of Utah
360 WAKARA WAY, Room: 4110A

My research interests are on vascular stability and its relationship to disease. I have a broad background in molecular biology, biochemistry, and cell biology, as well as specific expertise in signaling cascades that are required for studying essential cellular responses in vascular biology and pathology. I conducted my postdoctoral training with Dr. Dean Y. Li at the University of Utah, where I studied the function of the small GTPase ARF6 and the protective role of ARF6 inhibition in animal models of sepsis and arthritis. This work led to two first-author publications: 1) the discovery that the interleukin receptor activates a MYD88-ARNO-ARF6 cascade to disrupt vascular stability and how these effects are central to inflammatory arthritis (Nature, 2012) and 2) the first indication that Slit-Robo can serve as a target to blunt the cytokine storm associated with sepsis and influenza (Sci. Transl. Med., 2010).

As an independent investigator, I have expanded my research into new areas, such as the nexus between inflammation, infection and immune-related diseases. My laboratory’s research focuses on examining whether ARF6 activation acts as a common convergence point to regulate multiple inflammatory and angiogenic pathways and determining whether blocking ARF6 activation promotes vascular stability and can be used as a novel strategy to treat sepsis, cytokine storm related syndromes, and vascular eye disease. We published an article in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI, 2017), which shows that ARF6 inhibition stabilizes the blood-retina barrier and reduces debilitating sequelae in several ocular inflammatory disease-related animal models. This work has triggered our interest in determining whether ARF6 inhibition would have similar efficacy in maintaining blood-CNS barrier (BCNSB) function under pathological conditions in CNS and in maintaining alveolar-capillary barrier function under pathological conditions of infection-induced ARDS. My long-term goal is to have these basic science discoveries translated into therapeutics that can be used in the clinic.

Education History

Fellowship University of Utah
Molecular Medicine
Postdoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Graduate Training Nanjing Normal University
Molecular Zoology
Undergraduate Yancheng Normal College

Global Impact

Awards & Honors

Description Country
Beijing Science and Technology Award,1st prize, Application of stem cell transplantation in the treatment of ischemic heart disease China
Excellent Achievement Award for Scientific Research in Colleges and Universities, 2nd prize. Mechanism and Intervention Strategies of Low Survival of Stem Cells Induced by Myocardial Ischemic Microenvironment China