Weixin Zhao, MD
Weixin Zhao, M.D., Instructor
Weixin Zhao received his M.D. from Nantong Medical College at Nantong University in China in 1982. After ten years of clinical practice as an urologist, he attended postdoctoral training focused on the basic research of penile erectile function and bladder function at the Urology Department of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York in 1992.
SYNOPSIS OF AREA OF INTEREST: The physiology and pharmacology of muscular-related cells, tissues and organs
DETAILED AREA OF INTEREST: Dr. Zhao possesses great passion for unraveling the mechanism that regulates normal muscle development, and applying that knowledge to understand precisely what goes astray in cases of disease. For over 14 years, Dr. Zhao has concentrated his study upon the fields of urological diseases and smooth muscle biology. It is becoming increasingly apparent that cell signaling events are involved in a multitude of physiological and pathological processes. They are present in various types of cells and have been localized to both the plasma membrane and cytosolic compartments. As members of the potassium channel class, MaxiK and KATP channels are known to couple to and signal through several different G protein families. As a consequence, these channels have been shown to participate in the activation of a number of different signaling cascades. Extracellular and intracellular calcium form another important cell signaling system. Much more attention has been paid to the intracellular calcium stores. The calcium homeostasis of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is connected to a multitude of cell functions involved in intracellular signal transduction, control of proliferation, programmed cell death, or the synthesis of mature proteins. The cross-talk between potassium channel function, ER calcium homeostasis and cell differentiation may have some implications for the better understanding of the signaling defects involved in the acquisition and maintenance of certain pathological phenotypes. At the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Zhao has been exploring the potential roles of multiple signal transduction systems in the processing of differentiation from pluripotent stem cells, peripheral progenitor cells, and targeted cell lines. He has been extensively involved in the tissue engineering of blood vessels, bladders, and kidneys. Since the ongoing research projects are based on a combination of developmental biology, stem cell technology, and tissue engineering, we expect to answer the questions in regeneration and remodeling of tissue and organs for the purpose of repairing, replacing, maintaining, or enhancing organ function, as well as the engineering and growing of functional tissue substitutes in vitro for implantation in vivo as a biological replacement for damaged or diseased tissues and organs.