School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

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Zhuo-Hua Pan
Professor
Scientific Director of the Ligon Research Center of Vision, Kresge Eye Institute, WSU SOM
(313) 577-9830
 
Biography

Dr. Pan’s research is focused on the development of optogenetic approaches to cure blindness caused by photoreceptor degeneration. The optogenetic strategy for vision restoration is based on the idea of genetically converting light-insensitive inner retinal neurons into photosensitive cells, thus imparting light sensitivity to the retina after the death of photoreceptor cells. Using rAAV vectors to express a microbial rhodopsin, channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), from green algae, Dr. Pan’s group demonstrated the feasibility of this strategy in an animal model with retinal degeneration. The optogenetic gene therapy developed in Dr. Pan’s laboratory has been licensed to a biotech company, RetroSense therapeutics. RetroSense’s first generation gene therapy product has received clearance from the US FDA for clinical trial. Dr. Pan’s ongoing research aims at further developing and refining the optogenetic technology for vision restoration.

Dr. Pan teaches Medical Neuroscience course, which is part of the Year 1 Medical School curriculum. In addition, he is Course Director of Biology of the Eye (ANA 6050, 7055, and BIO 6055, 7055).

 

Awards & Honors
  • Faculty Research Excellence Award, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 2001
  • Career Development Chair Award, Wayne State University, 2004.
  • Grant recipient, Hope for Vision, 2006.
  • Board of Governors Faculty Recognition Award, Wayne State University, 2007.
  • Visionary Award, Hope for Vision, 2009.
  • Edward T. and Ellen K. Dryer Endowed Professor of Ophthalmology and Kresge Eye Institute, Wayne State University, 2011.Dahlem Conference; Public presentation on “Optogenetics”, Berline, Germany, 2012.
  • Gordon Research Conference; Session Chair on “Clinical applications of optogenetics”, Barga, Italy, 2014.
  • International Society for Eye Research (ISER) Biennial Meeting; Session Chair on “Optogenetics for vision restoration”, San Francisco, CA, 2014.
  • Open Innovations Forum and Technology Show; Open Interview on “The Future of gene therapy”, Moscow, Russia, 2015.

 

 

Other Information

Education and Training

  • 1978-1982 B.S., University of Science & Technology of China, Hefei, China.
  • 1982-1984 M.S., Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academic of Science, Beijing, China.
  • 1986-1990 Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York.
  • 1990-1991 Postdoc., State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York.
     
Publications
  • Pan, Z.-H. Differential expression of high- and two types of low-voltage-activated calcium currents in rod and cone bipolar cells of the rat retina. J. Neurophysiol. 83:513-527, 2000.
  • Pan, Z.-H. and Hu, H.-J. Voltage-dependent Na+ currents in mammalian retinal cone bipolar cells. J. Neurophysiol. 84:2564-2571, 2000.
  • Pan, Z.-H., Hu, H.-J., Perring, P., and Andrade, R. T-type Ca2+ channels mediate neurotransmitter release in retinal bipolar cells. Neuron 32:89-98, 2001.
  • Cui, J., Ma, Y.-P., Lipton, S.A., Pan Z.-H. Glycine receptors and glycinergic synaptic input at the axon terminals of mammalian retinal rod bipolar cells.  J. Physiol. 553:895-909, 2003.
  • Pan Z.-H., Bi, A., Ma, Y.-P., Olshevskaya, E., and Dizhoor, A.M. Functional Expression of a Directly Light–Gated Membrane Channel in Mammalian Retinal Neurons: A Potential Strategy for Restoring Light Sensitivity to the Retina After Photoreceptor Degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci.. 2005; 46(13):4631.
  • Bi, A., Cui, J., Ma, Y.-P., Olshevskaya, E., Pu, M., Dizhoor, A.M., and Pan Z.-H. Ectopic expression of a microbial-type rhodopsin restores visual responses in mice with photoreceptor degeneration. Neuron 50:23-33, 2006.
  • Zhang, Y., Ivanova, E., Bi, A., and Pan, Z.-H. Ectopic expression of multiple microbial rhodopsins restores ON and OFF light responses in the retina after photoreceptor degeneration. J. Neurosci. 29:9186-96, 2009.
  • Lu, Q., Ivanova, E., and Pan Z.-H. Characterization of GFP-expressing retinal cone bipolar cells in a 5-HTR2a transgenic mouse line. Neurosci. 163:662-668, 2009.
  • Ivanova, E., Hwang, G.-S., Pan, Z.-H., and Troilo, D. Evaluation of AAV-mediated expression of chop2-GFP in the marmoset retina. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 51:5288-5296, 2010.
  • Zhang, Y., Ivanova, E., Bi, A., and Pan, Z.-H. Ectopic expression of multiple microbial rhodopsins restores ON and OFF light responses in the retina after photoreceptor degeneration. J. Neurosci. 29:9186-96, 2009.
  • Wu, C., Ivanova, E., Cui, J., Lu Q. and Pan. Z.-H. Action potential generation at an AIS-like process in the axonless retinal AII amacrine cell. J. Neurosci. 31:14654-14659, 2011.
  • Ivanova, E., Lee, P., and Pan, Z.-H. Characterization of multiple bistratified retinal ganglion cells in a purkinje cell protein 2-cre transgenic mouse line. J. Comp. Neurol. 521:2165-80, 2013.
  • Wu, C., Ivanova, E., Zhang, Y., Pan, Z.-H. AAV-mediated subcellular targeting of optogenetic tools in retinal ganglion cells. PloS One, 8(6):e66332, 2013.
  • Pan, Z.-H., Ganjawala, T.H., Lu, Q., Ivanova, E., and Zhang, Z. ChR2 mutants at L132 and T159 with improved operational light sensitivity for vision restoration. PloS One, 9(6):e98924, 2014.
  • Pan, Z.-H., Lu, Q., Bi, A., Dizhoor, A.M., and Abrams, G.W. Optogenetic approaches to restoring vision. Ann. Rev. Vision Sci. 1:185-210, 2015.


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