Ping Zhou, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Professor of Neuroscience
My research aims to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying brain injury and neuronal cell death during cerebral ischemia and in other neurodegenerative diseases. We have identified prohibitin (PHB), a mitochondrial protein, as a potential mediator for neuroprotection induced by ischemic preconditioning. Since PHB is localized in mitochondria in brain cells, we hypothesize that PHB expression modulates mitochondrial functions and exerts its neuroprotective role by sustaining mitochondrial integrity and activity in situations of cell demise.
Therefore, we are currently investigating the effect of PHB expression on (i) mitochondrial function, metabolism, and ATP production capacity in normal and in stress conditions; (ii) mitochondrial fusion and fission; (iii) changes in mitochondrial membrane potential and calcium sequestration capacity; (iv) Assembly of individual mitochondrial respiratory complexes and on supercomplex formation. Using PHB transgenic and knockout mouse models, we will continue our further study to understand the mechanisms of action of PHB expression mediated neuroprotection and to translate the information and mechanisms obtained from PHB studies into research for cure in neurological diseases from stroke to Alzheimer’s disease.