Vice President:, Neuroscience
"As a neuroscientist with a medical background, I am inspired to understand how the brain works from the level of molecule to cognitive behavior, and to tackle serious brain diseases based on understanding of biological mechanisms."
years at Genentech
I started at Genentech in September 2008. Prior to that, I spent 14 years as a faculty member in the Boston area - first at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and then at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where I was Professor of Neuroscience. Before I got into research I was a practicing physician in London, U.K. So I have seen human disease from two sides - as a scientist investigating basic mechanisms and as a medical doctor treating patients.
I came to Genentech because I believe this company is best equipped to translate our increasing knowledge of the basic causes of disease into effective new treatments for serious brain disorders. I am energized by the people at Genentech, who have the right combination of know-how, creativity and motivation to make a difference for patients.
Caspase-3 activation via mitochondria is required for long-term depression and AMPA receptor internalization in hippocampal neurons.
Cell 2010; (in press).
Li Z, Jo J, Jia J-M, Lo S-C, Whitcomb DJ, Jiao S, Cho K, Sheng M.
At Genentech we are committed to building a world-class Neuroscience Research program that will discover new drugs to treat major diseases of the nervous system. Not only are neurological and psychiatric conditions common and debilitating, but for many of them, there is no satisfactory treatment, a case in point being Alzheimer's disease. To meet these unmet needs, a current focus area of research is neurodegenerative disorders.
Much of my research is focused on brain "synapses," the tiny structures by which cells in the brain (neurons) contact and communicate with each other. Groups of neurons link together via synapses to form a functional "circuit." An emerging realization is that many diseases of the brain result from defective development or aberrant function of synapses, leading to circuit malfunction. For instance, Alzheimer's disease is characterized by severe loss of synapses in the brain as well as death of neurons. I believe that if we can understand the molecules that control the number, structure and function of synapses, we should be able to discover novel ways to treat many important neuropsychiatric illnesses.
NMDA receptors in nervous system diseasesNeuropharmacology, 2013, ISSN: 0028-3908 View on PubMed
Specific Trans-synaptic interaction with inhibitory interneuronal neurexin underlies differential ability of neuroligins to induce functional inhibitory synapsesJournal of Neuroscience, 2013, ISSN: 0270-6474 View on PubMed
Neuroscience: Strength in numbersNature, 2013, ISSN: 0028-0836 View on PubMed
GluN2B Antagonism Affects Interneurons and Leads to Immediate and Persistent Changes in Synaptic Plasticity, Oscillations and BehaviorNeuropsychopharmacology, 2013, ISSN: 0006-3223 View on PubMed
Caspase-3 in the central nervous system: Beyond apoptosisTrends in Neurosciences, 2012, ISSN: 0166-2236 View on PubMed
Three-dimensional imaging of solvent-cleared organs using 3DISCONature Protocols, 2012, ISSN: 1750-2799 View on PubMed
Childhood disorders of the synapse: Challenges and opportunitiesScience Translational Medicine, 2012, ISSN: 1946-6234 View on PubMed
Caspase-3 Activation via Mitochondria is Required for Long-Term Depression and AMPA Receptor Internalization.Cell, 2010, ISSN: 0092-8674
Autophosphorylated CaMKIIα Acts as a Scaffold to Recruit Proteasomes to Dendritic Spines.Cell, 2010, ISSN: 0092-8674
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Menicon Professor – 2008
- University of California, San Francisco, Neuroscience, Postdoctoral Fellow – 1994
- Harvard University, Molecular Genetics, Ph.D. – 1990
- General Medicine London, U.K., Internship and Residency – 1986
- London University, U.K., Guys Hospital Medical School, Medicine, M.B.B.S. – 1982
- University of Oxford, U.K., Corpus Christi College, Physiology, – 1979