I’m a researcher analyzing cardiovascular disease, molecular biology, cell signaling and gene therapy. My interest stems from statistics that indicate heart failure (HF) is the leading cause of death worldwide. HF-associated cardiomyocyte (CM) loss cannot be innately restored due to the limited self-renewal ability of the heart, which results in severely diminished cardiac function. This finding is one of the foremost challenges in the treatment of HF.
By using technologies such as spatial transcriptomics and newly synthesized protein labeling, we are working on determining a more comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie cardiac injury and repair. This knowledge is critical for developing improved ischemic and congenital heart disease therapies. By studying the molecular mechanisms in cardiac remodeling and regeneration, and developing therapeutic strategies to intervene in this process, we aim to stimulate CM proliferation, reverse cardiac remodeling and improve cardiac function beneficially.
One of my groundbreaking discoveries is the Hippo Signaling Pathway (HSP), a fundamental pathway for controlling organ size that functions as a critical inhibitor of CM proliferation during development to limit heart size. My recent study reveals that AAV9-mediated disruption of the HSP promotes cardiac functional recovery and regeneration in a pig model of myocardial infarction (MI) — an approach with enormous translational potential for developing novel cardiac therapies. In addition, I utilized advanced technologies such as single-cell RNA-sequencing and CRISPR/Cas9 to elucidate the crosstalk between Hippo and Wnt signaling in heart regeneration and uncovered the essential role of noncanonical Wnt signaling in suppressing cardiac fibrosis.
I have been a researcher for over 12 years, and I began my work at Cincinnati Children’s in 2023.
PhD: East China Normal University.
Postdoc: University of North Carolina.
Research Scientist: Texas Heart Institute.
Molecular Cardiovascular Biology, Heart
Ribosomal protein RPL11 haploinsufficiency causes anemia in mice via activation of the RP-MDM2-p53 pathway. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2023; 299:102739.
Gene Therapy Knockdown of Hippo Signaling Resolves Arrhythmic Events in Pigs After Myocardial Infarction. Circulation. 2022; 146:1558-1560.
The cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous roles of the Hippo pathway in heart regeneration. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. 2022; 168:98-106.
RNA splicing to cytoskeleton: A new path to cardiomyocyte ploidy and division?. Developmental Cell. 2022; 57:945-946.
Yap Promotes Noncanonical Wnt Signals From Cardiomyocytes for Heart Regeneration. Circulation Research. 2021; 129:782-797.
Gene therapy knockdown of Hippo signaling induces cardiomyocyte renewal in pigs after myocardial infarction. Science Translational Medicine. 2021; 13:eabd6892.
Suppressing Hippo signaling in the stem cell niche promotes skeletal muscle regeneration. Stem Cells. 2021; 39:737-749.
Epithelial Wntless is dispensable for intestinal tumorigenesis in mouse models. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 2019; 519:754-760.
Interleukin‑22 regulates the homeostasis of the intestinal epithelium during inflammation. International Journal of Molecular Medicine. 2019; 43:1657-1668.
The regulation and function of the Hippo pathway in heart regeneration. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology. 2019; 8:e335.