Welcome to the Zhao Lab

Our long-term goals are to explore novel neuroprotectants for clinical translation of stroke treatment. In the past years we have been interested in studying the protective effects and underlying mechanisms of ischemic postconditioning and remote pre- or postconditioning against stroke, two emerging concepts for stroke therapy. Ischemic postconditioning refers to interruption of reperfusion after stroke, and remote conditioning refers to a series of brief ischemia performed in a remote, non-vital organ, before or after stroke. We have been investigating cell signaling pathways involved in the protective effects of ischemic postconditioning, including the Akt and mTOR pathways, and also studying why a remote organ can pass protective messages to the brain. Additionally, the novel concept of remote conditioning suggests that the pathological mechanisms of stroke-induced brain injury are not restrictive in the brain, but there is an interactive network between the brain and the peripheral organs. This has intrigued us to further explore another emerging field, in which how circulating leukocytes impact neuronal injury after stroke. We are particularly interested in the roles of T cells and monocytes in brain injury.   We aim to find approaches to curb the detrimental effects and promote beneficial effects of leukocyte subsets in brain injury induced by stroke, and facilitate their clinical translation.