Strong Hall facade in bright sunlight

Liqin Zhao Lab

Liqin Zhao
Liqin Zhao Lab
Malott Hall, Room 2046
1251 Wescoe Hall Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045

Research Overview

Research conducted in the Zhao Lab is devoted to understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of brain aging and neurodegeneration that drive the onset and progression of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (sAD), focusing on sex and genetic influences on brain metabolism and microglial homeostasis. These mechanistic investigations aim to identify the target pathways, window of opportunity, and therapeutic biomarkers enabling the translational development of novel strategies toward sex-based sAD prevention, risk reduction, and early intervention.

In summary, we are currently focused on studies in the following areas:

  • Sex differences in metabolic brain aging
  • Gene x Environment interaction in etiology of sAD
  • ApoE2 regulation of glycolysis and brain resilience
  • The role of sialic acid and sialylation in sAD pathogenesis
  • Regulation of microglial homeostasis by secreted Clusterin
  • Mitochondria-targeted Clusterin expression and function

The research models and techniques used in our studies include: rodent primary neural cell models (neurons, astrocytes, microglia), human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), human gene stably transfected cell lines, human gene knock-in mouse models, MS proteomics, qRT-PCR arrays, gene cloning, recombinant protein production, synaptic vesicle physiology, mitochondrial biochemistry, fluorescent microscopy, behavioral modeling, and many other general methods commonly used in molecular and cellular biological, pharmacological, and drug discovery research. 

Lab Members

Associate Researchers

Assistant Researchers

Graduate Students

Former Members

Name Title Post KU
Nadine Alshakhshir Graduate Student Ph.D. Program, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Anindit Chhibber Graduate Student Ph.D. Program, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Lucy He Graduate Student Assistant Specialist, UCSF, San Francisco, CA
Shaher Ibrahimi Assistant Researcher M.S. Program, Kansas City University, Kansas City, MO
Shreya Indulkar, M.S. Graduate Student Research Technician, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY
Jeriel Keeney, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Researcher Postdoctoral Researcher, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Kenneth McFarlin Graduate Student Research Associate, Vium Inc, San Mateo, CA
Sarah Woody Graduate Student Scientist, Citoxlab, Stillwell, Kansas
Long Wu Graduate Student Postdoctoral Researcher, UCSF, San Francisco, CA

Selected Publications

Liqin Zhao Publications (PubMed)

Current Projects

Recently Funded Projects

  • NIH: Reshaping ApoE4 and Alzheimer’s Brains with ApoE2
  • NIH: Sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease: A Bioenergetic Etiology?
  • NIH: ApoE, Energy, and Synaptic V-ATPase
  • NIH: Role of Clusterin in Brain Mitochondria
  • J.R. and Inez Jay Fund: ApoE2 as a Therapeutic Shield Against Alzheimer’s Disease: A Proof-of-Concept Study

Liqin Zhao Lab