Research Theme Beyond the Neuron

Dr Chao Zhao

University Position


My research focuses on mechanism of remyelination of central nervous system following demyelination in various conditions. After demyelinating injury, the system activates a repair process, which involves oligodendrocyte progenitor cells turning into mature myelinating oligodendrocytes to replace the lost myelin sheath of the axons. Failure of this process can result in axonal loss and permanent functional deficits, as seen in diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Understanding the remyelination process, including the regulating factors in injury environment and the cell's intrinsic properties is essential for developing means of enhancing the repair of normally non-repairable clinical conditions. In addition, study of this fine example of involvement of adult stem cells (precursor cells) in repair process is of general interest in regeneration biology. We combine molecular and cellular techniques, genetic approaches and in vivo demyelinating models to dissect this complicated process.

Key Publications

Astrocyte response to motor neuron injury promotes structural synaptic plasticity via STAT3-regulated TSP-1 expression.

Journal: Nat Commun
E-pub date: 11 Jul 2014
Authors: GE Tyzack, S Sitnikov, D Barson, KL Adams-Carr, NK Lau, JC Kwok, C Zhao, RJM Franklin, RT Karadottir, JW Fawcett, A Lakatos