Fangfang ZHU

Associate professor

Phone number : +86 21-62933344

Email : zhuff@sjtu.edu.cn

Office address : No3 Teaching Building Rm 209, 1954 Hua Shan Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai


Dr. Fangfang Zhu is Associate Professor of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Her primary research interests are in the applications of regenerative medicine and immuno-oncology and she has years of experience on translational medicine. She is particularly interested in understanding the biology of hematopoietic development, especially how the platelet generation could be regulated at the genetic, epigenetic and protein levels. She is currently working on multiple ways to achieve the goal of generation of platelets in a large-scale ex vivo. In parallel, she is trying to identify novel immune checkpoints in various solid tumors which are used by cancer cells to avoid the clearance by macrophage, with the purpose to provide new targets for cancer drug discovery. She has published several peer reviewed papers in high profile journals and is the owner to several patents on stem cell biology and immuno-oncology.

Dr. Zhu received her Ph.D. degree from Peking University, and did her postdoctoral training in the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine for years with Dr. Irving L. Weissman, the “Father of Stem Cells”. She was appointed Siebel Scholar at Stanford. In addition, she was Vice President in WI Harper Group, responsible for the financial investments on early-stage startups in the Healthcare field.

Education background

2002-2006 Bachelor – Lanzhou University

2006-2011 Ph.D. - Peking University

Work Experience

2018-2020, Vice President, WI Harper Group

2018-2019, Visiting Scholar, Stanford University School of Medicine

2017-2018, Research Scientist, Stanford University School of Medicine

2011-2017, Postdoctoral scholar, Stanford University School of Medicine

Areas of Research Interests

Interested in human hematopoietic hierarchy, Zhu Lab is dedicated to studying the platelet biology, with the goal of generating platelets in a large scale in vitro for clinical applications, which is important for the treatment of genetic blood diseases, cancers, and other pathologies affecting platelet production. Hematopoietic stem cells can first differentiate into hematopoietic progenitors, such as common myeloid progenitor cells, then into more restricted lineage progenitors. One of these progenitors is Megakaryocyte-erythroid progenitors (MEPs) that will further differentiate into either megakaryocyte progenitors (MkPs) that give rise to megakaryocytes which can generate platelets, or erythroid progenitors (EPs) that give rise to erythrocytes. During this process, transcription factors (TFs) are activated/inactivated and play a critical regulatory role in the cell fate decision. Zhu Lab has designed a CRISPR-mediated gene editing strategy for the identification of regulators for hematopoietic development. Based on the TF network, more signal pathways and epigenetics modifications will be demonstrated. The identification of such megakaryopoiesis regulators will enable the efficient in vitro generation of megakaryocytes and platelets from HSCs and other cell types, providing promising resource of platelets for various diseases.

In addition, the Zhu Lab are interested in the macrophage-mediated innate immune checkpoints in various cancers. The “don’t eat me” signal plays an important role in the immune checkpoint inhibition by multiple cancers and these anti-phagocytic surface proteins identified so far include CD47, CD24, PD-L1 and B2M. Cancer cells overexpress these proteins to hijack the immune system to avoid clearance by macrophages, which are promising targets for cancer immunotherapy. Monoclonal antibodies to block the “don’t eat me” axis have shown great therapeutic results in various cancers, such as antibodies targeting CD47 and PD-L1. However, different organs and different microenvironments complicate the regulation of phagocytosis of cancer cells and indicate there are additional “don’t eat me” signals to be discovered. Zhu Lab are working on the identification of novel “don’t eat me” signals in different solid tumors which will provide potential new drug targets for cancer immunotherapy.