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Liang Zheng, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

PhD, Hokkaido University, Japan
Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Illinois at Chicago
Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Alabama at Birmingham

I studied the phenomenon of sterility in hybrid salmonid fish during my graduate studies. Typically, hybrids of interspecific salmonid fish are either inviable or sterile. Using mass spectrometry techniques, I explored the expression profiles of testicular proteins in hybrid and parental salmonid species and noted that transferrin, tropomyosin and similar somatic cell-predominant proteins were up-regulated, whereas certain germ cell-specific proteins such as Vasa were down-regulated in hybrid. I became interested in human genetic diseases, and my doctoral research in marine biology and genetics had prepared me well to establish a zebrafish model for Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP) during my postdoctoral training. TTP is a potentially fatal blood clotting disorder resulting from severe deficiency of plasma ADAMTS13 activity. ADAMTS13 protease activity is essential for normal hemostasis, and it maintains hemostasis by cleaving endothelium-derived ultra-large von Willebrand factor (VWF), thereby preventing inappropriate clotting in the absence of a wound. However, ADAMTS13 deficiency alone is often not sufficient to cause TTP in humans or mice, and other genetic and/or environmental factors may be required to trigger an acute episode. Therefore, using the zebrafish models, my current work involves the identification and characterization of genetic factors that play a role in the pathogenesis of TTP, and elucidation of the role of environmental factors (including infection and pregnancy) that may act as disease modifiers. Ultimately, an understanding of the factors involved in TTP disease will lead to the discovery of novel potential therapeutics for treating TTP.

Selected Publications

Liang Zheng, Mohammad Abdelgawwad, Di Zhang, Leimeng Xu, Shi Wei, X. Long Zheng. Histone-Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura in Zebrafish Depends on Endothelial von Willebrand Factor. Haematologica, 2020, 105(4):1107-1119 (with an Editorial Commentary).

Liang Zheng, Di Zhang, Wenjing Cao, Wen-Chao Song and X. Long Zheng. Synergistic effects of severe ADAMTS13 deficiency and complement activation in pathogenesis of thrombotic microangiopathy in mice. Blood, 2019, 134:1095-1105.

Liang Zheng, Yingying Mao, Mohammad S. Abdelgawwad, Nicole K. Kocher, Mandy Li, Xiangrong Dai, Benjamin Li and X. Long Zheng. Therapeutic efficacy of the platelet glycoprotein Ib antagonist anfibatide in murine models of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Blood Advances. 2016, 1:75-83. (Now in Phase II Clinical Trial: NCT04021173)

Liang Zheng, Yoshie Senda, Syuiti Abe. Perturbation in protein expression of the sterile salmonid hybrids between female brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis and male masu salmon Oncorhynchus masou during early spermatogenesis. Animal Reproduction Science. 2013. 138: 292-304.

Last modified: Aug 20, 2020


Liang Zheng, PhD
Research Assistant Professor