Graduate Training in Neuroscience
University of Washington
Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (Toxicology program); Adjunct Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Current Research Interests for Zhengui Xia Lab:
I. Neural Stem Cell Function and Regulation
One of our research interests is to elucidate signal transduction mechanisms that regulate the fate of neural stem cells, i.e. what makes a neural stem cell proliferate and differentiate into neurons or glia in the mammalian brain. We are interested in neural stem cell regulation both during embryonic development and in adult brain (adult neurogenesis). Specifically, recent studies in our lab suggest a novel role for the ERK5 MAP kinase in regulating both developmental and adult neurogenesis. Using a combination of molecular, cellular, and in vivo animal models (inducible, conditional knockout mice), we are investigating 1) mechanisms by which ERK5 regulate neurogenesis; 2) functional consequence ERK5-regulated developmental neurogenesis on animal behavior; 3) functional consequence ERK5-regulated adult neurogenesis on animal behavior including olfaction, learning and memory, stress and depression etc.
II. Parkinsonís disease models
We are also interested in molecular mechanisms and signal transduction pathways that regulate dopamine neuron death in Parkinson's disease models. We utilize both in vitro and in vivo, including inducible and conditional knockout mice to address these issues. It is our hope that these mechanistic studies may ultimately lead to the development of pharmacological interventions and clinical strategies for treatment of Parkinson's disease. These studies may also provide insights concerning the relationships between environmental toxicants and the etiology of neurodegenerative disorders.