Issue Three (December 2004)
In this issue, we introduce four outstanding alumni. While Drs. Ke Zhang, He Li, and Zaodung Ling work in different institutions and on different biologic principles, they share many similarities. They are all graduates of 1983 of Fujian Medical University. They all have made important discoveries in their own research field and shown academic excellence. They have all been promoted to the associate professorship. Dr. Tongchuan Li is well known to our alumni. He graduated in 1982 from FJMU. He has been one of the key leaders of AAFMUA. He is not only an outstanding pharmacologist but also a well known community activist.All four alumni we introduced here have supported AAFMUA and FJMU in many ways enthusiastically. We wish them all continuous success and many more important discoveries to come.
张 克 KE ZHANG, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of UCLA
Zhang Ke has been a familiar name to me as far as I can remember back to the days of the medical school. He was in the class 1978. I was one class junior than him. I don’t remember any specific direct interaction with him, but he seemed to be famous already at the time.
Dr. Zhang was appointed as an instructor in the department of microbiology and immunology of FJMU after his graduation in 1983. He then went on his postgraduate studies at Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. In 1989, he came to the U.S. and pursued research in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy at University of California at Los Angeles. In 1993 he became a visiting assistant research immunologist and in 1995 became assistant research immunologist at UCLA. In 1998, he was promoted to Assistant Professor and recently he joined the rank of associate professorship in UCLA School of Medicine.
Dr. Zhang has published more than forty articles and many book chapters and invited review articles. His research has focused on functional regulation and signal transduction of IgE in lymphocytes. He has had many important discoveries, including the discoveries of novel IgE isoforms in human B cells, the role of CD40 in IgE class switch recombination, the role of CD40-mediated p38 MAP kinase in regulating IgE class switching recombination and a novel human Fcg-Fce bifunctional fusion protein inhibits FceRI-mediated degranulation. He showed that IL-10 was a switch factor for g1 and g3 in human B cells. He also found that human AID was induced by IL-4 and negatively regulated by CD45, implicating CD45 as a Janus Kinase (JAK) phosphatase in antibody diversification. He has many other discoveries that I am ill-equipped to discuss here.
Dr. Zhang won many awards, including Clinical Immunology Society Young Investigator Award in 1993 and Pharmacia Scholar Award in 1996.
Dr. Zhang has been a very enthusiastic supporter of AAFMUA. He has trained postdoctoral fellow from FJMU and gave lectures when he visited the hometown. He has supported many activities of AAFUMA. He is a guest professor of FJMU and Associate Director of Fujian Institute of Clinical Immunology.
Dr. Zhang’s present research interest includes:
1. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of antibody class switching and regulation. Specifically, the research projects include, a). Understanding of the nature of the accessibility control of Ig class switch recombination. b). The mechanisms of the interaction between Ig germline promoter and 3’enhancer in class switch recombination. c). Identification of the signal pathway involved in class switching recombination. d) search and identification of the components involved in the regulation of Ig class switch recombination.
2. Allergic response and regulation, including IgE regulation and production, the potential role of IgE and IgE isoforms in allergic responses and immune responses, and the development of fusion proteins capable of inhibiting or regulating allergic responses.
3. Development of novel adjuvant for vaccination of next generation of vaccines.
李 河 HE LI, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate professor of Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (top)
Dr. Li obtained a Master’s degree in Fujian Medical University in 1989 after graduating from the medical school in 1983. In 1990 Dr. Li went to Canada for a Ph.D. degree. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in 1994 from McGill University. Subsequently he pursued postdoctoral fellowship in the Epilepsy Branch, NINDS and Neurobiological Branch, National Institute of Mental Health at NIH. He became assistant professor of psychiatry in 1998 and associate professor of psychiatry and neuroscience in 2004 at the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
Dr. Li also has had extensive publications, beginning from his graduate training.
While at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Dr. Li was in the laboratory of Dr. Henry where he received extensive training in electrophysiological techniques, using the in vitro preparation of hippocampal slices. His doctoral thesis was focused on the role of adenosine on the modulation of neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission in the hippocampus. His thesis project provided the first detailed examination of adenosine receptor-mediated effects on inhibitory interneurons in the hippocampus. These studies enhanced our understanding of how adenosine may protect inhibitory interneurons from injury during epilepsy, hypoxia and traumatic brain injury. Investigators who are considered top in the field have extensively praised his work on adenosine. Dr. Helmut Haas, one of the leading experts in the field, specifically wrote: “never before have the effects of adenosine been demonstrated so convincingly and with high-quality recordings from interneurons”
1994, Dr. Li began a post-doctoral fellowship at the NIH, in the laboratories of Dr. Robert Post and Dr. Michael Rogawski. He focused on the neurobiological mechanisms underlying epilepsy and affective disorders, and on the development of novel therapeutic strategies useful in the treatment of these illnesses. Using a combination of molecular, electrophysiological and calcium imaging techniques, He was able to reveal some of the effects of anticonvulsants and psychotropic agents on the neuronal function of the amygdala. Because the amygdala plays a central role in the formation of memories associated with emotionally significant events, he also became interested in the plasticity of synaptic transmission in the amygdala (Long-Term Potentiation and Long-Term Depression), which is believed to be the cellular mechanism that underlies learning and memory functions. His experiments led to the discovery of a novel form of neuroplasticity in the amygdala, which is mediated via the GluK5 subtype of kainate receptors;
In 1998, Dr. Li accepted a tenure track faculty appointment in the Department of Psychiatry at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). His research program has been centered in the amygdala cellular neurobiology. His group has obtained valuable insights into the mechanisms by which serotonin and norepinephrine modulate synaptic transmission in the amygdala. The results have been published in Neuroscience and Neuropsychopharmacology respectively in 2003. Some important discoveries could be summarized as follows:
1. Discovery of additional functions of the GluK5 receptor. In the investigations of the effects of anticonvulsants on synaptic physiology in the amygdala, his group has observed that topiramate blocks postsynaptic GluK5 receptors on interneurons. These findings have been published in Nature Neuroscience and the Journal of Neuroscience respectively. As a result of these articles, an invited review of the literature dealing with the functions of GluK5 receptors in the amygdala circuitry was published in Molecular Neurobiology.
2. Discovery of the loss of alpha 1A adrenoceptor-mediated noradrenergic facilitation of GABAergic transmission in the basolateral amygdala following exposure to stress in animal models. This study provides important insights into possible mechanisms underlying the antiepileptogenic effects of norepinephrine in temporal lobe epilepsy, hyper-excitability of the amygdala in certain stress-related disorders such as PTSD and the stress-induced exacerbation of seizure activity in epileptic patients.
3. In the five years since his arrival at USUHS, Dr. Li’s group has developed a state of art laboratory capable of studying insight into the molecular mechanisms from which clinical manifestations of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including PTSD, derive. His laboratory has attracted graduate students, post-doctoral fellows as well as collaborators at USUHS and at the NIH. In 2004, Dr. Li co-chaired a translational neuroscience conference at Uniformed Services University. He has served as grant reviewers in many occasions and has received many grants and awards for his research. His name has been well regarded in his research field.
Dr. He Li has been working greatly to promote the collaboration between Fujian Medical University and his laboratory in common interested research projects by offering opportunities to allow faulty members in the FMU to join his research project at Uniformed Services University of the Health Science. During the last three years, Professor Xiuzhong Dai, Dr. Longkun Zhu (Chair, Department of Phsyiology) and Dr. Aiqin Chen were invited to work in his laboratory from FMU. Dr. Chen finished her Master thesis research under Dr. He Li’s guidance and published the research work in Nature Neuroscience and Neuroscience. It is expected that this scholar exchange program will bring mutual benefits and profound impact to the research capability and productivity in the Fujian Medical University.
林兆东 ZAODUNG LING (ZAODONG LIN), M.D.
Associate Professor of Rush University (top)
Dr. Ling graduated from FJMU in 1983. He came to the U.S. very early on in 1985 to become a post-doctoral fellow in immunology at the University of Minnesota. In 1987, he moved to the department of pathology at University of Washington at St. Louis. Between 1988 and 1992 he continued his training in immunology at University of British Columbia. In 1997 he became a faculty member of Rush University graduate school at Chicago. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2003.
Dr. Ling has had numerous publications. His research has involved in many important biologic disciplines, but mainly focusing on neuroscience especially Parkinson’s disease in recent years. He has shown that D3 dopamine receptor agonist has neuroprotective effects in Parkinsonism-related disorders. He has done many in depth studies into how prenatal lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induces dopamine neuron loss. He also has shown the mechanism of TNF-alpha and interleukin-1beta in inducing dopamine neuron loss in animal models.
Dr. Ling served as Ad hoc reviewer for NIAMS and NINDS and is invited reviewer for many journals including journal of experimental neurology, journal of neurochemistry and others. He has received many grants from many sources such as NIH and department of defense.
Dr. Ling’s research focuses on the etiology of sporadic Parkinson’s disease (PD). He has discovered that prenatal exposure to a bacterial toxin or other Toll like receptor ligands at sensitive gestation windows may cause epigenetic alterations and loss of dopamine neurons in substantia nigra. His research has suggested that an individual born to a mother with bacterial vaginosis, pelvic infection, urinary tract infection, or other types of infection during fetal development may have reduced number of dopamine neuron at beginning of life. Secondary toxin exposure in his/her life or just normal aging may cause further dopamine neuron loss and subsequently to have PD. His research has also suggested that in utero priming may predetermine an adult to be more susceptible to certain diseases and some adult diseases are congenital diseases which can be prevented in early stages of life. Recently, he also discovered that blood brain barrier (BBB) is permeable in brain area of neuron degeneration. This is a new addition to the understanding of multi-hit theory in etiology of PD.
Dr. Ling has been a strong supporter of FJMU and AAFMUA. He donated up-to-date textbooks to FJMU, gave several lectures in FJMU during his visit, cooperated research work in Fujian Institute of Gerontology, and accepted as well as co-trained Ph.D. candidates from FJMU. Dr. Ling is a Guest Professor of FJMU and Associate Director of Fujian Institute of Gerontology.
(Article contributed by Minggui Pan)
李统铨 TONGCHUAN LI, M.D., Ph.D.
Senior Scientist and Project Manager of Pharmacology, Cubist Pharmaceuticals
Dr. Tongchuan Li received his medical degree from Fujian Medical University and was appointed as an instructor of Pharmacology in 1982. In 1985 he received a scholarship from University of Minnesota and obtained his Ph.D. degree of Pharmacology in 1990 from UMN. Since then he has begun his research career in pharmaceutical industry. He has been a Senior Scientist since 1993 and a project manager since 1995. Dr. Li is an outstanding pharmacologist and has published 40 scientific papers and received several awards and honors including International WHO’s WHO of Professionals by Gibralter Publishing Inc., USA and Who’s Who in America by MARQUIS WHO’s WHO, USA since 2002. His major research accomplishments include his pre-clinical studies on a new antibiotic Daptomycin (Cubicin) which received the FDA approval in September, 2003 for clinical use, and his two United States Patents (6,077,846 and 6,177,451) for the drug mechanism studies on Epibatidine and its derivatives.
Dr. Li’s research interests focus on:
a. In vivo experiments to assess the efficacy of drug candidates;
b. Development of animal models of diseases, such as mouse systemic infections induced by Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, mouse lung, thigh and urinary tract infections, rat osteomyelitis and endocarditis, endotoxin-induced septic shock in rabbit and rat, and other animal models of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, ischemia and asthma, etc;
c. Study of Mechanisms of drug action;
d. Acute toxicity studies of drug candidates;
e. Pharmacokinetic studies of drug candidates.
Dr. Tonchuan Li is not only an outstanding pharmacologist but also a community activist and philanthropist. He is one of the leaders in a Chinese church and makes regular donations to the local church and other organizations such as Salvation Army and American Red Cross. He also donated money and pharmacology textbooks to FJMU as well as Zhangzhou Health School. This year, he donated 100,000 Yuan RMB to his hometown, Dayang, Yongtai County, Fujian Province for countryside road construction. Dr. Li and his family often entertain visitors from our home university as well as FJMU alumni in America. He has arranged, sponsored and coordinated several visits of FJMU personnel to the United States since 2000.
Dr. Li is one of the founders of our organization, AAFMUA and great supporter of our organization and FJMU. He served as vice chairman of preparation committee of AAFMUA, vice president in the first term and president of second term of AAFMUA. He is currently the Honorary President of AAFMUA and still playing a key role in the AAFMUA leadership. We highly appreciate Dr. Li’s significant contribution to our organization and FJMU.
(Article contributed by Ruqing Huang)