University of Louisville
Dept. of Microbiology & Immunology, Center for Predictive Medicine
University of Louisville
Dr. Jian Zheng joined Microbiology and Immunology as tenure-track Assistant Professor on April 1, 2022. Jian received his M.D. from Southern University in China and his Ph.D. in Immunology from Hong Kong University. He carried out his postdoctoral research in Dr. Stanley Perlman’s laboratory at University of Iowa investigating host immune responses to coronaviruses and evaluating potential vaccines as well as anti-viral drugs. He has published his findings in top tier journals including Cell, PNAS, Science Translational Medicine and Nature.
1. Host immune responses to coronaviruses and other respiratory virus infections. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to be a major global threat, and the likelihood of another CoV outbreak looms large over humanity. However, the progression of virus-related disease is never a solo dance of pathogens but is modulated by host immune responses. Human lungs are the organ with the largest surface area in our bodies, in constant contact with external environment. A comprehensive understanding of the roles of airway-resident immunity and its interaction with systemic immune responses during viral infections will be key to unlocking the pathogenesis of CoVs and other respiratory virus infections, especially seasonal influenza virus infection.
2. Aged-related immunoregulation and inflammation in the respiratory system. Unlike solid organs, the development and maturation of the lung continues after birth and lasts into adulthood. During aging of hosts, progressively decreased lung function, accompanied by structural changes in the respiratory tract and biological changes in resident and circulating cells, leads to impaired gas exchange and predisposition to infectious diseases and tumors. Therefore, elucidating aged-related immune modulation in the respiratory system is vital to enable us to confront increasing health problems in an aging society. We will specifically focus on aging-dependent signaling pathways, such as the PLA2G2D-PGD2-DP1 pathway, and their roles in inflammatory diseases.
3. Translational Medicine.My medical background motivates my enthusiasm for bridging basic science research outcomes to their clinical application. Establishing animal models that reflect key characteristics of human diseases represents a critical step in translational medicine and will be a major focus of my lab. Host factor-targeting treatments could be potential solutions to counteract viral evolution. In my previous investigations, my colleagues and I explored new applications of “old” drugs for treating respiratory virus infections and other diseases. By collaborating with clinicians, chemists, and biopharmaceutical companies, I am dedicated to exploring novel therapies and preventive strategies against respiratory virus infections and other immune disorder-related diseases.