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Biomedical Sciences

Quillen College of Medicine


Meng-Yang Zhu, M.D., Ph.D. 
Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences

Contact Information:

Stanton Gerber Hall (Bldg. 178)
Room B235, Lab A238
Phone:  423-439-6394
Fax:  423-439-2280

Education and Professional Background:

M.D. 1977 Soochow University School of Medicine, Suzhou, China
M.Sc. 1982 Soochow University School of Medicine, Suzhou, China
Ph.D. 1993 University of Saskatchwan, Saskatoon, Canada

2012Present     Professor, Dept. of Biomedical Sciences,Quillen College of Medicine,
                         East Tennessee State University
20072012         Associate Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology, Quillen College of Medicine,
                         East Tennessee State University
20002006         Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry and Human Behavior,
                         University of Mississippi Medical Center
19992000         Instructor, Harvard Medical School. Assistant Neurologist, Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory,
                         McLean Hospital      
19941999         Senior Research Associate, Dept. of Psychiatry and Human Behavior,
                         University of Mississippi Medical Center
19931994         Post-doctoral Fellow, Cancer Research Unit, Saskatoon Cancer Center,
University of Saskatchewan, Canada                                    
1988 1988       Visiting Scholar, Neuropsychiatric Research Unit,
University of Saskatchewan, Canada                 
1985 - 1988        Assistant Professor, Director of Laboratory, Dept. of Biochemistry,
Soochow University School of Medicine, China


Dr. Zhu is a Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the Quillen College of Medicine of East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee. He received his M.D. degree at the Soochow University School of Medicine, China, and the Ph.D. degree in the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Then he finished his post-doctoral training at the Cancer Research Unit of the Saskatoon Cancer Center and University of Mississippi Medical Center. Since his doctorate, Dr. Zhu has been focused his research direction on psychiatric diseases with main field on major depression. He was an instructor in the Department of Psychiatry of Harvard Medical School and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at University of Mississippi Medical Center. Since 2007, Dr. Zhu has been recruited as the faculty of this campus.

Research Interest:

Molecular regulation of norepinephrine transporter by stress and stress hormones.
Transcriptional regulation of the noradrenergic phenotypes by transcriptional factors.
Possible effects of agmatine on neuronal protection in vivo and in vitro.

The research of this laboratory focuses on the exploration of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the gene modulation of key proteins (enzymes and transporters) in central catecholamine neurons. Using animal and cell models we investigate effects of stress, stress hormones, transcription factors, antidepressants and other psychopharmacological compounds on gene expression in central catecholamine systems and on neurogenesis.  In addition, we study the neuro-protective effect of agmatine, a putative neurotransmitter or modulator in the brain, on hippocampal neurons in vitro and in vivo.  This latter project also includes investigating the regulation of enzymes involved in the synthesis of agmatine.

A variety of cellular and molecular biological methodologies, as well as stereotaxic microinjection and behavioral analyses are applied to cell and/or animal models to address these research projects. Since dysfunction of neural circuitry in central catecholamine systems and cell injury are potentially involved in the development of psychiatric and neurological illnesses such as major depression, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, these studies will improve our understanding of the molecular pathology of these disorders and may ultimately lead to the potential therapeutic interventions.


Key Laboratory Personnel:

Maoxian Deng, Ph.D., Visiting Scholar
Ummear Raza, MSc, Graduate Student

Selected Publications:

Fan Yan, Huang J.J and Zhu M.-Y.: Effects of transcription factors Phox2 on expression of norepinephrine transporter and dopamine hydroxylase in SK-N-BE(2)C cells. J. Neurochem, 2009, 110: 1502-1513.

Sun Z.W., Fan Y., Zha Q.Q and Zhu M.-Y.: Corticosterone Up-regulates Expression and Function of Norepinephrine Transporter in SK-N-BE(2)C Cells. J. Neurochem., 2010, 113:105-116.

Mandela P., Chandley M., Xu Y.-Y., Zhu M.-Y., and Ordway G.A.:Reserpine

induced reduction in norepinephrine transporter function requires catecholamine storage vesicles. Neurochemistry International, 2010, 556:760-767.

Zhang Y., Li H., Li Y., Sun X.-L., ZhuM.-Y, Hanley H., LeSage G., and Deling Yin D.L.: Essential role of Toll-like receptor 2 in morphine-induced microglia activation in mice. Neuroscience Letters, 2011, 489:43-47.

Yan Fan, Huang J.J., Duffourc M., Kao R.L., Ordway G.A., Huang R. and ZhuM.-Y.: Transcription factor Phox2 upregulates expression of norepinephrine transporter and dopamine -hydroxylase in adult rat brains. Neuroscience, 2011, 192:37-53.

Zha QQ, Wang Y., Fan Y. and ZhuM.-Y.: Dexamethasone-induced up-regulation of the human norepinephrine transporter involves the glucocorticoid receptor and increased binding of C/EBP- to the proximal promoter of norepinephrine transporter. Journal of Neurochemistry, 2011, 119(3):654-663.

Ordway G.A., Szebeni A., Chandley M., Stockmeier C.A., Newton S.S., Duffourc M., Zhu M.-Y., Zhu H., and Szebeni K.: Low Gene Expression of Bone Morphogenetic Protein 7 in Brainstem Astrocytes in Major Depression. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2012, 15(7):855-868.

Chen P., Fan Y., Li Y., Sun Z.W., Bissette G. and ZhuM.-Y.: Chronic social defeat up-regulates expression of norepinephrine transporter in rat brains. Neurochemistry International, 2012, 60:9-20.

Zhang J., Fan Y., Li Y., Zhu H., Wang L., and Zhu M.-Y.: Chronic social defeat up-regulates expression of the serotonin transporter in rat dorsal raphe nucleus and projection regions in a glucocorticoid-dependent manner. Journal of Neurochemistry, 2012, 123(6):1054-1068.

 Fan Y., Chen P., Li Y., and ZhuM.-Y.: Effects of chronic social defeat on expression of dopamine -hydroxylase in rat brains. Synapses, 2013, 67:300-312.

Wang Y., Musich P.R., Serrano M.A., Zou Y., Zhang J. and ZhuM.-Y.: Effects of DSP4 on the noradrenergic phenotypes and its potential molecular mechanisms in SH-SY5Y cells. Neurotoxity Research, 2014, 25(2):193-207.

Fan Y., Chen P., Li Y., Cui K., Noel D.M., Cummins E.D., Brown R.W. and ZhuM.-Y.: Corticosterone administration upregulated expression of norepinephrine transporter and dopamine -hydroxylase in rat locus coeruleus and its terminal regions. Journal of Neurochemistry, 2014, 128:445-458.

Fan Y., Chen P., Li Y., Ordway G.A. and ZhuM.-Y.: Effects of desipramine treatment on stress-induced up-regulation of norepinephrine transporter expression in rat brains. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015, 232(2):379-390.

Wang Y., Musich P.R., Cui K., Zou Y., and ZhuM.-Y.: Neurotoxin-induced DNA damage is persistent in SH-SY5Y cells and LC neurons. Neurotoxity Research, 2015, 27(4): 368-383.

Wang Y., Hilton B., Cui K., and ZhuM.-Y.: Effects of antidepressants on DSP4/CPT-induced DNA damage response in neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. Neurotoxity Research, 2015 (in press). 








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