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Nan Zhu, PhD

Nan Zhu, PhD

Associate Investigator

Education and Training

Postdoctoral Training
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
Brigham and Women's Hospital and Children's Hospital, Boston, MA

Doctoral Training
Boston University, Boston, MA

Contact Us

Nan Zhu, PhD

Associate Investigator
Email (414) 937-6835

  • Research Interests

    My laboratory studies the epigenetic regulation of stem cells and how dysregulation of these pathways contributes to cancer development. Epigenetic mechanisms play an important role in maintaining tissue-specific gene expression patterns and are essential for normal development processes such as hematopoiesis. In normal blood cell development, hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) sits at the top of a hierarchy and has the unique ability to self-renew and differentiate into all blood lineages. HSC self-renewal is tightly controlled and epigenetic regulators play critical roles in this process. In leukemia, cancer cells often harbor multiple genetic mutations that enable them to acquire aberrant self-renewal ability. Recent sequencing of human cancer genome has revealed that mutations in epigenetic regulators commonly occur in leukemia, highlighting their importance in malignancy.  

    We are interested in understanding the epigenetic regulation of normal and malignant hematopoiesis. We approach this by studying the role of epigenetic regulators in normal and malignant hematopoietic stem cell function. The model systems we use include murine and in vitro model systems. We use techniques such as standard biochemical assays, multi-parameter flow cytometry and genomic and transcriptome profiling by next generation sequencing. We are actively investigating epigenetic factors implicated in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) biology as well as epigenetic regulation of key transcription factors in hematopoiesis. 

  • Grant Support
    • Howard Temin Pathway to Independence Award (NIH/NCI), K99/R00, 2013 - 2018
  • Lab

    Jesus Izaguirre Carbonell

    Jesse Schmitz
    Assistant Research Technologist

    Luke Christiansen
    MCW IDP Graduate Student

    Theresa Bluemn
    Predoctoral Fellow

  • Publications
    • Xu Z, Yuan LD, Zhu N, Hua ZC, Wang XC. Cloning, expression and purification of kringle 1 domain of human plasminogen in Escherichia coli. Journal of Nanjing University (Natural Sciences) 2000 July; 36(4):106-108
    • Zhu N, Hansen U. HMGN1 modulates estrogen-mediated transcriptional activation through interactions with specific DNA-binding transcription factors. Mol Cell Biol. 2007 Dec;27(24):8859-73 PMID:17938209
    • Zhu N, Hansen U. Transcriptional regulation by HMGN proteins. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Jan-Feb;1799(1-2):74-9. Review. PMID:20123070
    • Bernt KM*, Zhu N*, Sinha AU*, Vempati S, Faber J, Krivtsov AV, Feng Z, Punt N, Daigle A, Bullinger L,Pollock RM, Richon VM, Kung AL, Armstrong SA. MLL-rearranged leukemia is dependent on aberrant H3K79 methylation by DOT1L. Cancer Cell. 2011 Jul 12;20(1):66-78. (*: equal contribution) PMID:21741597
    • Liu J, Mercher T, Scholl C, Brumme C, Gilliland DG, Zhu N*. UTX is important for myeloid progenitor survival and proliferation. Exp Hematol. 2012 Jun;40(6):487-498.e3.* Corresponding author. PMID: 22306297
    • Trowbridge JJ, Sinha AU, Zhu N, Li M, Armstrong SA and Orkin SH. Haploinsufficiency of Dnmt1 impairs leukemia stem cell function through derepression of bivalent chromatin domains. Genes Dev. 2012 Feb 15; 26(4):344-9. PMID: 22345515
    • Onder TT, Kara N, Cherry A, Sinha AU, Zhu N, Bernt KM, Cahan P, Mancarci OB, Unternaehrer J, Gupta PB, Lander ES, Armstrong SA, Daley GQ. Chromatin modifying enzymes as barriers or facilitators of reprogramming. Nature. 2012 Mar 4;483(7391):598-602. PMID: 22388813
    • Neff T, Sinha AU, Kluk MJ, Zhu N, Khattab MH, Stein L, Xie H, Orkin SH, Armstrong SA. Polycomb repressive complex 2 is required for MLL-AF9 Leukemia. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2012 Mar 27;109(13):5028-33. PMID: 22396593D.
    • Tam WF, Hähnel PS, Schüler A, Benjamin LH, Okabe R, Zhu N, Pante S, Raffel G, Mercher T, Wernig G, Bockamp E, Sasca D, Kreft A, Robinson GW, Hennighausen L, Gilliland DG, Kindler T. STAT5 is crucial to maintain leukemic stem cells in acute myeloid leukemias induced by MOZ-TIF2. Cancer Res. 2013 Jan 1; 73(1):373-84. PMID: 23149921
    • Lobry C, Ntziachristos P, Ndiaye-Lobry D, Oh P, Cimmino L, Zhu N, Araldi E, Hu W, Freund J, Abdel-Wahab O, Ibrahim S, Skokos D, Armstrong SA, Levine RL, Park CY, Aifantis I. Notch pathway activation targets AML-initiating cell homeostasis and differentiation. J Exp Med. 2013 Feb 11;210(2):301-19. PMID: 23359070
    • Huang, C. H., Lujambio, A., Zuber, J., Tschaharganeh, D. F., Doran, M. G., Evans, M. J., Kitzing, T., Zhu, N., de Stanchina, E., Sawyers, C. L.Armstrong S.A.,Lewis, J.S.,Sherr, C.J., Lowe, S.W. CDK9-mediated transcription elongation is required for MYC addiction in hepatocellular carcinoma. Genes Dev. 2014 Aug; 28, 1800-1814. PMID: 25128497
    • Deshpande, A.J., Deshpande A.A., Sinha A.U., Chen L., Chang J., Cihan A., Fazio M., Chen C., Zhu N., Koche, R., Dzhekieva, L., Ibáñez G., Dias S., Banka D., Krivtsov A., Luo, M., Roeder R.G., Bradner J.E., Bernt K.M., Armstrong SA. AF10 Regulates Progressive H3K79 Methylation and Hox Gene Expression in Diverse AML Subtypes. Cancer Cell, 2014. 26(6):p.896-908. PMID: 25464900
    • Chen CW, Koche RP, Sinha AU, Deshpande AJ, Zhu N, Eng R, Doench JG, Xu H, Chu SH, Qi J, Wang X, Delaney C, Bernt KM, Root DE, Hahn WC, Bradner JE, Armstrong SA. Nat Med. 2015 Apr;21(4):335-43. PMID:25822366

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