Weihua Zhao, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Research Member, Houston Methodist Research Institute
6565 Fannin St. B5-018
Department of Neurology, Houston Methodist Hospital
Assistant Professor in Neurology and Neuroscience, Weill Cornell Medical College
Houston TX 77030
Her research is to investigate the underlying mechanisms of motor neuron death in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A multidisciplinary approach is used on motoneuron culture systems, animal models and human tissues to study:
- The pathological roles of mutant superoxide dismutase (mSOD1) and TDP-43 on pathogenesis of ALS
- Immune injury and repair mediated by microglia/macrophages and T cells
- Discovering potential drugs to boost protective immune responses, subsequently enhance motor neuron survival and prolong disease progression
M.D., Beijing Medical University, China
Ph.D., Beijing University, China
Postdoctorate, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
- Henkel JS, Beers DR, Zhao W, Wen S, Toennis KM, Appel JE, Moore DH, Powell SZ, and Appel SH. Regulatory T-lymphocytes mediate amyotrophic lateral sclerosis progression and survival. EMBO Mol Med. 2013 Jan;5(1):64-79.
- Zhao W, Beers DR, Liao B, Henkel JS, Appel SH. Regulatory T lymphocytes from ALS mice suppress microglia and effector T lymphocytes through different cytokine-mediated mechanisms. Neurobiol. Dis. 2012; 48(3):418-428.
- Liao B, Zhao W, Beers DR, Henkel JS, Appel SH. Transformation from a neuroprotective to a neurotoxic microglial phenotype in a mouse model of ALS. Exp Neurol. 2012; 237(1):147-152.
- Beers DR, Henkel JS, Zhao W, Wang J, Huang A, Wen S, Liao B, Appel SH. Endogenous regulatory T lymphocytes ameliorate amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in mice and correlate with disease progression in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Brain. 2011; 134(Pt 5):1293-1314.
- Beers DR*, Zhao W*, Liao B, Kano O, Wang J, Huang A, Appel SH, Henkel JS. Neuroinflammation modulates distinct regional and temporal clinical responses in ALS mice. Brain Behav Immun. 2011; 25(5):1025-1035. *These authors contributed equally to the work.
- Zhao W, Beers DR, Henkel JS, Zhang W, Urushitani M, Julien J-P, Appel SH. Extracellular mutant SOD1 induces microglial-mediated motoneuron injury. Glia. 2010; 58(2):231-243.
- Beers DR, Henkel JS, Zhao W, Wang J, Appel SH. CD4+ T-Cells Support Glial Neuroprotection, Slow Disease Progression, and Modify Glial Morphology in an Animal Model of Inherited ALS. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008; 105(40):15558-15563.
- Xiao Q, Zhao W, Beers DR, Yen AA, Xie W, Henkel JS, Appel SH. Mutant SOD1G93A microglia are more neurotoxic relative to wild-type microglia. J Neurochem. 2007; 102(6):2008-2019.
- Beers DR, Henkel JS, Xiao Q, Zhao W, Wang J, Yen AA, Siklos L, McKercher SR, Appel SH. Wild-Type Microglia are Neuroprotective in PU.1 Knockout Mice with Familial Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006; 103(43):16021-16021.
- Zhao W, Xie W, Xiao Q, Beers DR, Appel SH. Protective effect of anti-inflammatory cytokine, Interleukin-4, on motoneuron toxicity induced by activated microglia. J Neurochem. 2006; 99(4):1176-1187.
- Zhao W, Xie W, Le W, Henkel JS, Simpson EP, Yen AA, Xiao Q, Appel SH. Activated microglia initiate motor neuron injury by a nitric oxide and glutamate-mediated mechanism. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2004; 63(9):964-977.