Biography

I received my medical (M.D.) and graduate (M.S. in Pharmacology) degrees in 1982 from the Capital Institute of Medicine and Institute of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Beijing, China, and my Ph.D. degree in Physiology and Biophysics in 1990 from SUNY at Stony Brook, New York, NY.  Upon finishing my 3-year postdoctoral training at Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Dr. Paul Adams’ lab at Stony Brook in 1993, I was recruited to the Department of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor (research track), and was promoted by the Medical School to Associate Professor in 1999.  I moved to MUSC as a tenure-track Associate Professor in November 2002.  I received my tenure appointment at MUSC in 2005. In 2008, I was recruited as a Professor to the Department of Anesthesiology, Neuroscience Division, Emory University School of Medicine.

Research

Research in my lab focuses on ionic and molecular mechanism of neuronal cell death, neurovascular protection, neurogenesis, angiogenesis and stem cell therapy using coordinated techniques in electrophysiology (whole cell and single channel patch clamp recordings, brain slice recordings), cellular/molecular biology examinations and animal models of ischemic/traumatic injuries.

We are specialized in ion channel/transporter regulations under pathological conditions such as hypoxia and ischemia. The ion channel and transporter proteins under our investigation include voltage-gated K+ channels (e.g. Kv2.1, Kv1.5 and KCNQ channels), glutamate receptor channels (NMDA, AMPA and kainite receptors), and the Na+/K+-ATPase.

We are experienced in the investigation of molecular and cellular mechanisms of apoptosis; our in vitro and in vivo research has revealed the novel form of “hybrid cell death” of concurrent apoptosis and necrosis in the same cells after hypoxic and ischemic injury.

We have expertise in stem cell biology and the regulation of neuronal differentiation of these cells. Our research is focused on regenerative mechanisms that stimulate neurogenesis and angiogenesis related to the repair of neurovascular unit after brain disorders. Comprehensive functional and behavioral tests are performed in the lab to assess short- and long-term changes in locomotion, social interaction and cognitive activities after ischemic stroke and pain stimuli.