Dr. Zhenlu Chong joined the Department of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases as an instructor as of July of 2023. He is from Hengshui, Hebei, China. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in Huazhong Agriculture University in Wuhan, China. During his masters, Zhenlu worked on how melatonin and follistatin regulates apoptosis and hormone production in bovine granulosa cell. In the meantime, he also worked as teaching assistant and helped graduate students with experiment classes. Zhenlu then joined Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China for his Ph.D. training. His work was focused on E3 ubiquitin ligase FBXW7 in regulating immune-related diseases. He found that FBXW7 could stabilize RIG-I during RNA virus infection, the mechanism is that FBXW7 interacts with SHP2 and mediates the degradation and ubiquitination of SHP2, thus disrupting the SHP2/c-Cbl complex, which mediates RIG-I degradation. Also, FBXW7 could aggravate murine systemic lupus erythematosus by promoting cell apoptosis.
During his Ph.D., he was also responsible for training undergraduate and graduate students who joined the laboratory. After completing his doctoral studies, Dr. Zhenlu came to the United States and joined University of California San Francisco to start his postdoctoral training. He worked on the pathogenesis of COPA syndrome, which due to COPA gene mutation. COPA is a subunit of coat protein complex I (COPI) that mediates Golgi to ER transport. He collaborated with another laboratory in Japan and found that the defect in COPI transport due to mutant COPA could cause ligand-independent mis-location at Golgi and continuous activation of STING, which contributes to immune dysregulation in COPA syndrome and may be a new molecular target in treating the disease. Dr. Zhenlu Chong is very interested in innate immunology, infectious diseases and CRISPR screen. His research focuses on the how innate immunity responds to SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as the pathogenesis of flavivirus. He is also working on the interactions between flavivirus and host factors by using CRISPR screening, trying to investigate how flavivirus entry into host cells and key host factors that are essential for flavivirus replication in host cells.