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Xiaoping Zhong, MD, PhD

Professor of Pediatrics
Campus Mail: Box 2644 Med Ctr, Div. Pediatric Allergy & Immunology, Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 681-9450
Email: xiaoping.zhong@duke.edu

The immune system protects the host from microbial infection but can cause diseases if not properly controlled. My lab is interested in the receptor signaling mediated regulation of immune cell development and function as well as the pathogenesis and treatment of autoimmune diseases and allergies.

We are currently investigating the roles diacylglycerol kinases (DGKs) and TSC1/2-mTOR play in the immune system. DGKs are a family of ten enzymes that catalyze the conversion of diacylglycerol (DAG) to phosphatidic acid (PA), Both DAG and PA are important second messengers involved signaling from numerous receptors. While we expect DGKs to perform important roles in development and cellular function by modulating DAG and PA levels, the physiologic functions of DGKs have been poorly understood. Using cell line models and genetically manipulated mice, we have demonstrated that DGKα and ζ isoforms play critical roles in: T cell development, activation, and anergy by regulating T cell receptor signaling; FcεRI signaling and mast cell function; and Toll-like receptor signaling and innate immune responses.

Research areas that we are actively pursuing include:
1. The mechanisms that control T cell maturation, activation
and self-tolerance.
2. NKT cell development and function.
3. Thymic epithelial cells and thymic development, function, and involution.
4. Regulation of Toll-like receptor signaling and innate immunity. 
5. The pathogenesis and treatment of autoimmune hepatitis. 
6. Mast cell development and function.
7. The pathogenesis and immunotherapy for peanut allergy.

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., Duke University, 1997
  • M.D., First Medical College in Guangzhou (China), 1985