Glial cell biology, myelination, and brain/nerve tumor biology

Research in Lu Lab aims to understand how distinct glial cell subtypes (oligodendrocytes, astrocytes and Schwann cells) in the central and peripheral nervous systems are generated, how they are regenerated after injury, and how their progenitors are transformed into cancerous cells under pathological conditions. We study the development and regeneration of glial progenitors using a variety of novel molecular, cellular and imaging technologies in combination with in vivo targeting and fate mapping approaches. A major focus of our lab research is to elucidate the transcriptional, posttranscriptional, epigenetic and signaling regulatory networks that govern glial progenitor fate specification, myelination and glioma formation. We have established a series of animal models for demyelinating neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, developmental neurological disorders such as CHARGE syndrome, MOWAT-WILSON syndrome and autisms, as well as brain tumor animal models and patients-derived xenograft models. Our research goal is to dissect the etiological mechanisms of these neurological diseases and develop effective therapies through promoting myelin repair, nerve regeneration or functional recovery in various neurological diseases, while blocking brain tumor initiation and progression.

Current rotation projects in Lu Lab center on: 

  1. Molecular, signaling and epigenetic control of CNS myelination and nerve regeneration in the animal models of neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis, CHARGE syndrome, MOWAT-WILSON syndrome and autisms.
  2. Molecular and signaling mechanisms that control the formation of brain cancers including medulloblastoma, DIPG and glioblastoma in brain tumor animal models and patients-derived xenograft models.
  3. Molecular and signaling mechanisms that control Schwann cell myelination in the PNS and the malignant transformation of peripheral nerve sheath tumors in animal models.