Zhen Zhao, Ph.D.

Zhen Zhao, Ph.D. is assistant professor of physiology & neuroscience at the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute (ZNI) at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles. ZNI is a cross-disciplinary hub dedicated to basic neuroscience research and diseases of the brain. Dr. Zhao work focuses on genetic causes of vascular cognitive impairment and dementia, study of the molecular mechanism of the receptor-mediated transport at the blood-brain barrier, and examination of the crosstalk between the cells within the neurovascular unit.

Funded Research

These projects were made possible from Cure Alzheimer's Fund support.

Project Description Researchers Funding
The Role of PICALM Mutations in Alzheimer’s Disease 2015, 2017, 2018

$645,000

Selected Publications

These published papers resulted from Cure Alzheimer’s Fund support.

Zhao, Z., & Zlokovic, B. V. Therapeutic TVs for Crossing Barriers in the Brain, Cell, July 23, 2020, Read More

Nelson, A. R., Sagare, M. A., Wang, Y., Kisler, K., Zhao, Z., & Zlokovic, B. V. Channelrhodopsin Excitation Contracts Brain Pericytes and Reduces Blood Flow in the Aging Mouse Brain in vivo, Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, April 29, 2020, Read More

Zhao, Z., & Zlokovic, B. V. Endothelial Tip Cell Finds Its Way with Piezo1, Neuron, October 14, 2020, Read More

Sweeney, M. D., Zhao, Z., Montagne, A., Nelson, A. R., & Zlokovic, B. V. Blood-Brain Barrier: From Physiology to Disease and Back, Physiological Reviews, January 1, 2019, Read More

Sagare, A. P., Sweeney, M. D., Nelson, A. R., Zhao, Z., & Zlokovic, B. V. Prion Protein Antagonists Rescue Alzheimer’s Amyloid-Beta Related Cognitive Deficits, Trends in Molecular Medicine, February 1, 2019, Read More

Zhao, Z., & Zlokovic, B. V. Can prehospital “plasma supplement” neutralize the systemic storm in severe trauma?, Cell Reports Medicine, December 21, 2021, Read More

Kisler, K., Sagare, A. P., Lazic, D., Bazzi, S., Lawson, E., Hsu, C. J., Wang, Y., Ramanathan, A., Nelson, A. R., Zhao, Z., & Zlokovic, B. V. Anti-malaria drug artesunate prevents development of amyloid-β pathology in mice by upregulating PICALM at the blood-brain barrier, Molecular Neurodegeneration, January 27, 2023, Read More

Ma, Q., Zhao, Z., Sagare, A. P., Wu, Y., Wang, M., Owens, N. C., Verghese, P. B., Herz, J., Holtzman, D. M., & Zlokovic, B. V. Blood-brain barrier-associated pericytes internalize and clear aggregated amyloid-β42 by LRP1-dependent apolipoprotein E isoform-specific mechanism, Molecular Neurodegeneration, October 19, 2018, Read More