Beiyan Zhou, Ph.D.Associate Professor of Immunology
Dr. Beiyan Zhou is an associate professor of immunology whose interests are in diabetes, metabolism, and hematology. She holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry/molecular biology from Northwestern University, Master of Science in molecular biology from Peking University, and a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Wuhan University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cell and molecular biology at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
|M.Sc.||College of Life Sciences, Peking University||Protein Chemistry and Genetic Engineering|
|Ph.D.||Northwestern University||Biological Sciences|
|Postdoctoral||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Postdoctoral Fellow, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research|
|Name of Award/Honor||Awarding Organization|
|Junior Faculty Award||American Diabetes Association|
|Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award||College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University|
|Genzyme Fellowship for Postdoctoral Research||Genzyme|
|Travel award, NIH/NIDDK Workshop on microRNA in cellular development and hematopoiesis, Annapolis, Md.||NIH/NIDDK|
|Travel Award||American Endocrine Society|
|Research Travel Award, the Graduate School and the Office of the Vice President Grant||Northwestern University|
|Research Travel Award, the Graduate School and Office of the Vice President Grant||Northwestern University|
While compelling evidences have indicated the crucial roles played by epigenetic regulators in both normal developmental control and pathogenesis of diseases, our understanding of the full picture is still in its infancy. The long-term goal of my research is to understand the systemic regulatory networks governed by epigenetic factors in controlling immune cell formation and their functions in various tissue niches. My current research efforts are devoted to unveil the roles of epigenetic regulators, including non-coding RNAs, in modulating immune cell function and their cross-talks with other cells in various metabolic tissue niches in responding to obesity stress.
A. microRNA regulated adipose tissue macrophage and B cell activation under obese stress
Among infiltrated immune cells, adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) are crucial regulators controlling adipose tissue inflammation and systemic insulin resistance. Distinct from classical inflammatory responses, chronic nutrient excess induces ATMs to undergo a unique phenotypic switch M2 –M1 states in obese tissues. To realize the potential of developing new preventive and therapeutic strategies for insulin resistance associated diseases by controlling the properties of ATMs, the molecular mechanism underlying ATM function in the context of obesity induced adipose tissue inflammation needs to be understood. In the post-genomic era, it is becoming clear that non-coding RNAs play critical roles in regulating many diverse cellular processes. A class of non-coding RNAs, termed microRNAs, represents a set of intracellular regulators that impact all aspects of macrophage formation and activation. We recently demonstrated that miR-223 is a potent regulator of chronic nutrient excess induced adipose tissue inflammation by modulating ATM polarization. This was the first identified microRNA that exert potent regulatory effects on macrophage polarized activation and obesity-induced adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance.
In addition, we interrogated the other immune cells in the adipose tissue for their potential contribution to maintenance of metabolic homeostasis. Among various immune cell subtypes, adipose tissue B cells (ATBs) is one of the most dramatically increased cell type in obese visceral fat pad. However, the function of ATBs and the mechanism of action are poorly elucidated. We have identified several novel microRNA regulators that exert profound effects on ATB function and their interaction with other immune cells and adipocytes in the obese adipose tissue niche.
B. Obesity induced histone/chromatin landscape alternation and genetic-epigenetic interplays
Compelling evidence, including ours, demonstrated the crucial contribution of non-coding RNAs and other genes in regulating adipose tissue function, including adipogenesis, adipose tissue immune cell function, as well as cell-cell crosstalks followed by subsequent systemic metabolic functions. However, the overall impacts of the obesity on insulin resistance and inflammation development at epigenetic level have not well depicted. We have incorporated large datasets generated by RNA-seq and ChIP-seq methods to investigate how chronic obesity stress change the genome-wide landscape at both epigenetic and transcriptome levels.
Accepting students for Lab Rotations: Summer '18, Fall '18, Spring '19
We are accepting highly motivated rotation students in the area of immunology/hematopoiesis/ obesity. Our research projects incorporate epigenetic and genomic approaches to understand the crosswalks between immune compartment and host tissue cells under chronic stress conditions, such as obesity.
|Title or Abstract||Type||Sponsor/Event||Date/Year||Location|
|Non-coding RNA regulated macrophage function in obesity. Exercise Physiological Seminar||Talk||Department of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University||2015||Texas A&M University|
|microRNA and adipose tissue inflammation. EB 2015 APS President’s Symposium Series, Boston, MA, March 2015||Talk||Experimental Biology 2015 / American Physiological Society||2015||Boston, MA|
|Immune cell function in obese adipose tissues||Talk||Gateway to Nitrigenomics (NGN) Retreat||2015||Lincoln, Nebraska|
|Non-coding RNA regulated immune cell function in obesity||Talk||Nutrition Obesity Research Mini-Symposium, Texas A&M University||2014||Texas A&M University|
|Uteroferrin enhances fetal erythropoiesis at terminal stages||Talk||SSR - Society for the Study of Reproduction||2014||Michigan, USA|
|Macrophage polarization and insulin resistance||Talk||19th Annual Dr. Raymond O Berry Mem. Lecture and 7th Annual IFRB Retreat||2013|
|Macrophage management of microRNAs in hematopoiesis and diseases, Immunology Consortium, Texas A&M University, May 2013||Talk||Immunology Consortium, Texas A&M University||2013||Texas A&M University|
|A novel paradigm of microRNA regulated B cell functions on insulin resistance: miR-150 regulates insulin sensitivity through controlling antibody production||Talk||American Diabetes Association Conference||2013||Chicago, IL|
|MicroRNA Regulated Lymphocyte Function in Insulin Resistance||Talk||The 5th Scientific Meeting of Chinese American Diabetes Association (CADA)||2013||Chicago, IL|
|Macromanagement of microRNAs in macrophages||Talk||The Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI)||2013|