After studying Medicine in China, Dr. Zhang pursued Ph.D study at the Medical University of Ohio, where he used genetic mouse models to study the physiological role of NF-kB2 signaling in immune tolerance and the pathogenic function of NF-kB2 mutation in B cell lymphomagenesis. Dr. Zhang then had his postdoctoral training with Dr. Klaus Rajewsky and Dr. Frederick Alt at the Immune Disease Institute and Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, where he focused on understanding the pathogenesis of diffuse large B cell lymphoma, and immune surveillance against Epstein-Barr virus-associated B cell lymphomas. Dr. Zhang is now an Assistant Professor at the Division of Hematologic Neoplasia of DFCI, and Harvard Medical School. His research group currently focuses on two areas: understanding the biology of normal and malignant B cells; revealing immune surveillance mechanism in B cell malignancies and developing new immunotherapy strategies.
Molecular pathogenesis and immune control of B cell lymphomas
Our research effort proceeds along two directions. 1) Using genetically modified mice to study the molecular pathogenesis of diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and Epstein-Barr virus-associated B cell lymphoma. Lymphomas derive from B cells acquiring multiple oncogenic events. Genetically engineered mice, carrying conditional gain- and/or loss-of-function mutants, allow us to assess the causal role of each individual mutational event, the cooperation of multiple such events in lymphomagenesis, and to follow up disease dynamics in vivo. These studies form the basis for identification/validation of therapeutic targets, and rational design of combinatory therapies. 2) Using our mouse models to reveal the surveillance mechanism of immune system on B cell lymphomas, with particular focuses on tumor-killing CD4+ T cells and their regulation by CD8+ regulatory T cells. This work should guide us to develop new immunotherapy strategies for B cell malignancies, and possibly other cancers as well.
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