E-mail: woopingge@@cibr.ac.cn (remove one@ when you use it)
Lab Homepage: https://www.woopinglab.org/
2000 B.S. Biochemistry, East China Normal University, China
2005 Ph.D. Neurobiology Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
2006-2011 Post-doc, Developmental Neurobiology, University of California, San Francisco/HHMI, USA
2005-2006 Research Associate, Lab of Shumin Duan, Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences
2006 Research Associate, Lab of Zuoren Wang, Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences
2006 Visiting Scholar, Lab of Chi-Keung Chan, Institute of Physics Academia Sinica, Taiwan
2011-2013 Associate specialist, Lab of Lily Jan, University of California, San Francisco/HHMI
Sept 2013 – March 2019 Assistant Professor (tenure-track), Children's Research Institute, Department of Pediatrics
Department of Neuroscience, Department of Neurology & Neurotherapeutics
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
2019/12-present Associate Investigator, Chinese Institute for Brain Research, Beijing
2007 Human Frontier Science Program Long-term Fellowship Award
2007 China's Top 10 Advances in Basic Research in 2006
2008 100 Excellent Ph.D. theses of China
2010 The State Natural Science Award (2nd Contributor)
2011 NINDS Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00)
2017 Bugher-AHA Dan Adams Thinking Outside the Box Award
(The Henrietta B. and Frederick H. Bugher Foundation)
Neurological disorders, such as stroke and brain tumors, affect up to one billion people worldwide. Finding new treatments and understanding how these neurological disorders develop requires a better understanding of the complex interactions that occur in the brain. Our lab’s primary interest is studying interactions between brain vasculature (blood vessels) and the nervous system (glial cells and neurons). By combining electrophysiology and in vivo imaging with genetic methods, we hope to determine how the brain builds the gliovascular and neurovascular network during development and how this network can be damaged as the result of a stroke and then repaired.
Current treatment methods for patients with gliomas are hampered by a poor understanding of the underlying biology. Glial cells are critical for brain metabolism, neuronal protection, and cell-cell communication. As a group with long-term experience in studying the function and development of astrocytes and NG2 glia, we are interested in how gliomas interact with adjacent normal glial cells and how glial cells create a microenvironment that influences glioma cell survival, proliferation, and invasion.
Although pericytes are located along vessels in both the central nervous system and other organs, astrocytic endfeet cover only the vasculature in the central nervous system. It remains unclear whether there are subtypes of pericytes in blood vessels and, if so, what their functions are in the brain. There is also little information available about how different subtypes of pericytes interact with glial cells or neurons in the brain. To answer these questions, we use techniques including electrophysiology and in vivo imaging into the study of brain pericytes. The goal is to isolate pericytes from several sources (arterioles, precapillaries, capillaries, postcapillaries, and venules) to characterize the molecular and cellular profile of pericytes from these different locations. We have already established an electrophysiological technique to record individual pericytes within different segments of blood vessels in acutely isolated brain slices.
Formation of Gliovascular Interface
Glial cells constitute approximately half of the cells in the human brain. As the largest population of glial cells, astrocytes are crucial for the survival and function of neurons. Together with brain vasculature, astrocytic endfeet form an intricate structure called the gliovascular interface. This interface is critical for the transport of glucose from the blood to neurons, the regulation of cerebral blood flow, and maintenance of the blood-brain barrier. Detachment of astrocytic endfeet from the vascular membrane is responsible for brain edema and results in neurodegeneration. Restoring this function after stroke is critical to improving functional brain recovery in patients. However, it remains unclear how the gliovascular interface forms and develops. We are studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms for interactions between brain vasculature and astrocytes through genetic manipulation and time-lapse slice or in vivo imaging.
The brain consists of multiple cell types that form a complex neuron-glia-blood vasculature network. During glioma (brain tumor) development, tumor cells infiltrate normal brain tissue and interact with adjacent stromal cells in this network. The network provides glioma cells with an appropriate environment for colonization, growth, and infiltration. However, the role of normal glial cells, which constitute 50 percent of cells in the human brain and are critical for a number of functions (brain metabolism, neuronal protection, and cell-cell communication), in glioma progression is poorly understood. Improving our understanding of glia-glioma interactions and discovering their underlying mechanisms are critical steps for the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of pediatric glioma and are necessary to identify new therapeutic targets.
We are currently investigating whether and how different types of glial cells, especially astrocytes, create a microenvironment that promotes glioma cell survival, proliferation, and invasion. This includes characterization of the fate and potential functional alterations of astrocytes adjacent to gliomas in vivo. We perform longitudinal time-lapse imaging to characterize astrocyte properties (survival, proliferation, and progeny) within and close to gliomas at different developmental stages in order to establish a functional paradigm for glioma growth from its initiation through maturity.
Development of New Tools
We are interested in establishing new tools and methods to study how gliovascular units behave during strokes and in brain tumors in vivo. Currently, vascular surgical challenges present an obstacle for researchers to take advantage of advanced live-imaging technologies in stroke studies, particularly in the developing mouse brain. We have developed a novel approach to induce focal ischemia with precise control of infarct size and occlusion duration in mice at any postnatal age (Jie et al., Nature Methods, 2016). We achieved the occlusion, which is reversible, via micromagnet-mediated aggregation of magnetic nanoparticles within a blood vessel. In combination with longitudinal live imaging, we will investigate the mechanisms underlying disruption and repair of neurovascular units in vivo under ischemic stroke.