Photo of Zhichao  Fan, Ph.D.

Zhichao Fan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Immunology
Academic Office Location:
Immunology
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030-1319
Phone: 860-679-6776
Email: zfan@uchc.edu
Website(s):

Immunology Graduate Program

Department of Immunology

Dr. Zhichao Fan is an Assistant Professor of Immunology whose research lies in the field of innate immunology and inflammation. Specifically, his research focuses on the molecular mechanism of integrin activation on leukocyte adhesion during inflammatory diseases, including myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury and cystic fibrosis, which he examines using advanced microscopy, including super-resolution single molecular microscopy, intravital microscopy, qDF microscopy, and IVFC.

Education
DegreeInstitutionMajor
Ph.D.Fudan UniversityChemical Biology

Post-Graduate Training
TrainingInstitutionSpecialty
PostdoctoralLa Jolla Institute for ImmunologyImmunology

Awards
Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
2019 SLB Meeting Travel AwardSociety for Leukocyte Biology
R01 Research Project GrantNational Institutes of Health
2019 AAI Early Career Faculty Travel GrantAmerican Association of Immunologists
Career Development AwardAmerican Heart Association
2017 Pappenheimer Postdoctoral Travel AwardThe Microcirculatory Society
WSA Postdoctoral FellowshipAmerican Heart Association
2016 Pappenheimer Postdoctoral Travel AwardThe Microcirculatory Society
2016 AAI Trainee Abstract AwardAmerican Association of Immunologists
2015 AAI Young Investigator Award at the La Jolla Immunology ConferenceAmerican Association of Immunologists
Name & DescriptionCategoryRoleTypeScopeStart YearEnd Year
Society of Leukocyte BiologyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationInternational2019
Biomedical Engineering SocietyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationInternational2018
American Society for Cell BiologyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationInternational2018
American Physiological SocietyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationInternational2018
American Association of ImmunologistsProfessional/Scientific OrganizationInternational2015
American Heart AssociationProfessional/Scientific OrganizationInternational2015
Microcirculatory SocietyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationInternational2015

Neutrophils are the most abundant population of human leukocytes (~60%) and play critical roles in infections and inflammation. Circulating neutrophils are recruited to inflamed or infected tissue. The recruitment cascade is initiated by selectin-mediated rolling and chemokine-triggered integrin-dependent arrest (firm adhesion) of neutrophils on the vascular endothelium under flow. Thus, rolling and arrest are two major processes to target for fighting against inflammatory diseases (decrease rolling and arrest) and infections (increase rolling and arrest).


My long-term research interests involve the development of a comprehensive understanding of the mechanism of integrin activation and leukocyte recruitment and how they contribute to human disease, especially inflammation in cardiovascular diseases, which I  examine using advanced microscopy, including super-resolution single molecular microscopy, intravital microscopy, and quantitative dynamic footprinting microscopy.  My current ongoing projects include:


1. Molecular mechanism and clinical relevance of the auto-inhibitory in-cis interaction of integrin and their ligands;


2. Identifying new molecules involved in the pathway of integrin activation and clustering;


3. Pharmacology test of drugs targeting integrins in vitro and in disease models (myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury)


4. High-throughput screening of drugs inhibiting integrin activation and inflammation.


5. Monitoring of leukocyte dynamics in diseases using intravital microscopy and in vivo flow cytometry (IVFC).

NIH-supported postdoc fellows in Leukocyte Biology and Immunology


Our laboratory is looking for multiple motivated postdoctoral fellows to study integrin activation and leukocyte trafficking in inflammatory diseases using advanced microscopy, such as super-resolution microscopy, high-resolution live-cell imaging, and intravital microscopy. Our current research directions include:


1. The auto-inhibitory in-cis interaction of integrin and their ligands.


2. The roles and mechanism of integrin activation and clustering using super-resolution microscopy.


3. Pharmacology test of drugs targeting integrins in vitro and in disease models (myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury)


4. High-throughput screening of drugs inhibiting integrin activation and inflammation.


5. Monitoring of leukocyte dynamics in diseases using intravital microscopy and in vivo flow cytometry (IVFC).


We work on primary human leukocytes, leukocyte-like cell lines, and gene-edited mice to answer questions regarding integrin activation and leukocyte trafficking. Multiple advanced microscopy, from single-molecular level super-resolution microscopy to physiological-relevant intravital microscopy, will be used.


The PI is a member of the Department of Immunology at UConn Health. This is an exciting research environment to cultivate new research ideas and opportunities. The PI has received an R01 award from NIH and a startup fund from UConn Health to support our research. The candidate will receive excellent guidance on scientific research as well as career development (grants, awards, conferences, etc.).


Qualified applicants should have a Ph.D. degree in Cell Biology, Immunology, Biomedical Engineering, Cardiology, or in a related field, and have a strong record of publications. Prevalence will be given to candidates with experience in gene-editing in cells and mice, live-cell imaging, super-resolution imaging, or intravital imaging. People with disease models in mice, such as myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury, are encouraged to apply. Interested candidates should send their CV, representative publications and names of three references to Dr. Zhichao Fan (zfan@uchc.edu).


 

Accepting Lab Rotation Students: Fall '19, Spring '20


What will you learn?


Biomedicine:


1. Integrin activation and functions


2. Leukocyte rolling, arrest, and migration


3. Leukocyte functions in inflammatory diseases


Techniques: 


1. Cell culture


2. In silicon microfluidic device


3. Fluorescence microscopy


4. Super-resolution microscopy


5. Intravital microscopy


6. Flow cytometry (time-lapse, high-throughput)


Careers:


1. Grant/fellowship writing


2. Paper writing


3. Conference opportunities


 

Journal Articles

Editorials

Reviews