2015 Senior Research Fellow: Zhongjun Zhou

25 June 2015

Professor Zhongjun Zhou, a biochemist from The University of Hong Kong, is an internationally recognised expert on laminopathy-based premature ageing. His research interests lie in bone development, blood vessel development and ageing. His present research work focuses on premature ageing and ageing-associated diseases, as well as the extracellular matrix.

Zhou led the discovery of prelamin A as an in vivo substrate for metalloproteinase Zmpste24 through a genetic approach and explained how Lamin A abnormality influences development and ageing. His research demonstrated that Lamin A activates longevity protein SIRT1 to maintain stem cell potency. He revealed for the first time that mutation in nuclear structural protein Lamin A compromises DNA repair, which contributes to accelerated ageing in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS). His work provided important insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying HGPS. This has important implications on normal ageing and ageing–related human degenerative disorders. As of early June 2015, Zhou has 58 publications with a total of 2,570 citations.

Zhou has been awarded a Senior Research Fellowship for his contribution to our understanding of the process of aging at the cellular and molecular levels. Zhou will use his 2015 Senior Research Fellowship to further study the role of Lamin A in chromatin remodelling, telomere attrition, DNA damage and ageing.

Currently, Zhou is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. He graduated from Xiamen University, and studied PhD degrees at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College (pathophysiology) and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden (medicinal biochemistry). On joining The University of Hong Kong, Zhou was awarded the Faculty Outstanding Research Output Award in 2006 and the Outstanding Research Award in 2014. He was a co-founder of the Asian Association of Ageing Research.

Croucher Senior Research Fellowships are prestigious awards supporting mid-career scientists in Hong Kong universities who wish to spend more time on research, and less time on their heavy teaching and administrative commitments. In selecting the awardees for the Senior Research Fellowships the Croucher Foundation Trustees were assisted by a group of eminent scientists from nine countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, UK and the USA. All candidates in this exercise went through a stringent process of assessment and selection, and are Hong Kong scientists internationally recognised to be at the forefront of their respective fields.

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