Zhe Lu, MD, PhD

Professor Of Physiology

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664 Clinical Research Building

415 Curie Boulevard

Philadelphia, PA 19104

215-573-7711

Fax: 215-573-2273

zhelu@mail.med.upenn.edu

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Faculty Spotlight


July 2015

Zhe Lu, MD, PhD

The Lu lab is interested in the detailed mechanisms and regulation of ion channel permeation and gating. Zhe Lu, MD, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in studies of potassium channel ion permeation. In particular, the inward rectifier channels, where he has provided fundamental insights into the mechanisms of rectification, which have critical physiological implications. He has also made important discoveries regarding the roles of the lipid membrane and its modifications in regulating ion channel function, including potassium channels as well as the CFTR anion channel that when mutated causes cystic fibrosis. He has discovered a novel role for CFTR in providing thiocyanate as an antioxidant that may play a role in the pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis and other inflammatory diseases, and is exploring the relevance of this and lipid sensitivity of CFTR and other ion channels in host responses to bacterial pathogenic factors.

Zhe was the first to discover the modular nature of voltage-gated potassium channels and defined the minimal structural requirements of the voltage sensor in these channels. He also solved the first X-ray crystal structure inositol trisphosphate receptor calcium release channel ligand binding domain bound to its ligand. To address fundamental problems in ion channel biology, Zhe employs a variety of structural biology, electrophysiology, optical, molecular biological and drug discovery with a rigor that was recognized by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute with a 7 year Investigator award.

Zhe’s work spans the spectrum from the atomic level to whole animal physiology. He has published over 45 peer-reviewed articles in top-tier journals including Cell, Nature, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, PNAS, and the Journal of General Physiology, among others. He joined the Department in 1996 as an Assistant Professor and quickly rose through the ranks to become Full Professor only 8 years later. He is a member of the Neuroscience, Cell and Molecular Biology, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Graduate Groups.

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