Dr. Zhang received his PhD degree from Karolinska Institute, Sweden in 1997. He finished his postdoctoral fellowship training in the Department of Pathology, University of Toronto in 2003. He is currently an associate professor in Department of Medicine and cross-appointee in the Department of Pathology. His laboratory is at the Matthew Mailing Centre for Translational Transplant Studies, London Health Sciences Centre. His research interest is focused on the mechanisms of immune regulation and tolerance. He and his colleagues have identified a novel type of regulatory T cells, TCRab+CD3+CD4-CD8- (double negative, DN-Treg) cells, that can suppress immune responses and prolong graft survival. In addition, he and his colleagues have found that NK cells can mediate graft ischemia injury and chronic rejection in transplantation.
Currently, there are two areas under active investigation in his laboratory: i) the mechanism of cell death pathways-mediated tissue injury and transplant rejection, and ii) the role of NK and regulatory T cells in immune tolerance. The goal is to dissect the roles of innate immunity and Treg cells during the development of immune tolerance. His research is supported by CIHR, CNTRP, KFOC, CFI and HSF.
Scientist: Lawson Health Research Institute.
Associate Professor: Departments of Medicine, Pathology, Western University.
Research Interest Area
Establishment of immune tolerance and prevention of chronic rejection still remain major goals in clinical transplantation. My primary research focus is on the mechanisms of cell death pathways mediating tissue injury during transplantation and their effects on permitting tolerance induction. We have discovered that necroptosis, a newly identified cell death mechanism, controls transplant rejection and therefore targeting this death pathway may be an important therapeutic strategy in transplantation. My research also focuses on tissue injury. We were the first to report that NK cells mediate kidney and heart ischemic injury and cardiac allograft vasculopathy. In addition, we were the first to descript novel CD3+CD4-CD8- double negative (DN) Treg cells which effectively suppress NK and T cell responses and prolong graft survival. We are currently studying the role of NK and DN Treg cells in immune tolerance.