Home /
ZHU, Alan Jian
Office Address: Jinguang Life Science Building,Peking University, No.5 Yiheyuan Road, Haidian District,Beijing, P.R.China 100871
Lab Phone: 45121
Lab Address: Jinguang Life Science Building,Peking University, No.5 Yiheyuan Road, Haidian District,Beijing, P.R.China 100871
Lab Homepage: http://
Personal Homepage: http://
2000 - 2005, Postdoctoral training, Developmental Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, USA
1994 - 1999, Ph.D, Molecular Cell Biology, Imperial Cancer Research Fund / Imperial College London, UK
1990 - 1994, BSc. (Honours), Biochemistry, University of Aberdeen, UK
Professional Experience
2018 - present, Peking University Boya Distinguished Professor
2016 - present, Associate Director, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Cell Proliferation and Differentiation
2013 - present, Investigator, Peking University - Tsinghua University Center for Life Sciences
2013 - present, Investigator, Tenured Associate Professor (2019 -), School of Life Sciences, Peking University
2006 - 2014, Assistant Professor and Associate professor (2013 -), Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute / Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Honors and Awards
2019 Peking University School of Life Sciences Dongbao Service Award
2019 Peking University Teaching Excellence Award
2018 Peking University Excellent Class Advisor Award
2018 Peking University Tang Lixin Education Foundation Teaching Excellence Award
2017 The National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars
2017 Peking University Teaching Excellence Award
2009 Research Grant Award, National Institutes of Health
2007 Research Scholar Award, American Cancer Society
2007 Basil O`Connor Starter Scholar Award, March of Dimes Foundation
2006 Scott Hamilton CARES Initiative Award for Cancer Research
2001 Walter & Idun Berry Foundation for Children`s Health Postdoctoral Fellowship Award
1999 Human Frontier Science Program Long-term Postdoctoral Fellowship Award
1994 Imperial Cancer Research Fund Postgraduate Studentship Award
Research Interests
Mechanistic understanding of key genes responsible for developmental and metabolic diseases

The core of developmental biology research is to understand how the developmental signals are precisely regulated in a spatial and temporal manner to guide cell fate decisions, tissue patterning and adult homeostasis. We utilize the Drosophila wing as a model system to understand how developmental signals are initiated and transduced in normal development. We are conducting genetic screens to identify temporal and spatial regulators of developmental signaling that dictate distinct developmental outcomes. Current research efforts underlie the following three areas that take place at the plasma membrane: 1) Where do developmental signals come from? 2) How are these signals received by the receptors? 3) How do signal receiving cells interpret concentration gradient of developmental signals at the plasma membrane? As the regulatory mechanisms of cell signaling are highly conserved from flies to mammals, the knowledge pertained from studies in a genetic amenable Drosophila model system will be instrumental to our understanding of critical roles of various signaling systems in vertebrate development, metabolism and regeneration, and what goes awry in diseases including cancer, obesity and fatty liver disease.

Representative Peer-Reviewed Publications
1. Zhao, X., Liu, B., He, T., Zhu A. J., Zhao, Z. and Du, J. (2019) Epigenetic regulator Stuxnet modulates octopamine effect on sleep through a Stuxnet-Polycomb-Octb2R cascade. EMBO Reports (in revision).

2. Wang, L. C., Liao, L. X.,, Lv, H.N., Liu, D., Dong, W., Zhu, A. J., Chen, J. F., Shi, M. L., Fu, G., Song, X. M., Jiang, Y., Zeng, K. W. and Tu, P. F. (2017) Highly selective activation of heat shock protein 70 by allosteric regulation provides an insight into efficient neuroinflammation inhibition. EBioMedicine 23: 160-172.

3. Du, J., Zhang, J., He, T., Li, Y., Su, Y., Tie, F., Liu, M., Harte, P. J. and Zhu. A. J. (2016) Stuxnet facilitates the degradation of Polycomb protein during development. Developmental Cell 37: 507-519 (Cover featured article).

Commented in Developmental Cell, Science China Life Sciences, and F1000Prime.
Karch, F. (2016) Stuxnet recruits the proteasome to take down Polycomb. Developmental Cell 37: 485-486.
Wu, X. (2016) Stuxnet detected, Pc breaks down. Science China Life Sciences 59:1202-1203.

4. Liu, M., Li, Y., Liu, A., Li, R., Su, Y., Du, J., Li, C. and Zhu, A. J. (2016) The exon junction complex regulates the splicing of cell polarity gene dlg1 to control Wingless signaling in development. eLife 5: e17200.

5. Zhang, J., Du, J., Lei, C., Liu, M. and Zhu, A. J. (2014) UBPY controls the stability of the ESCRT-0 subunit Hrs in development. Development 141: 1473-1479.

6. Geisbrecht, E. R., Sawant, K., Su, Y., Liu, Z., Silver, D. L., Burtscher, A., Wang, X., Zhu, A. J. and McDonald J. A. (2013) Genetic interaction screens identify a role for Hedgehog signaling in Drosophila border cell migration. Developmental Dynamics 242: 414-431.

7. Zhang, J., Liu, M., Su, Y., Du, J. and Zhu, A. J. (2012) A targeted in vivo RNAi screen reveals deubiquitinases as new regulators of Notch signaling. G3 Genes Genomes Genetics 2: 1563-1575 (Cover featured article).

8. Su, Y., Ospina, J. K., Zhang, J., Michelson, A., Schoen, A. M. and Zhu, A. J. (2011) Sequential phosphorylation of Smoothened transduces graded Hedgehog signaling. Science Signaling 4: ra43.

Commented in Science Signaling.
VanHook, A. M. (2011) Fine-tuning Hedgehog signaling in development and disease. Science Signaling, 4: eg10.

9. Du, J., Zhang, J., Su, Y., Liu, M., Ospina, .J. K., Yang, S. and Zhu, A. J. (2011) In vivo RNAi screen reveals neddylation genes as novel regulators of Hedgehog signaling. PLoS ONE 6: e2416.

10. Huang X., Suyama, K., Buchanan, J., Zhu, A. J. and Scott, M. P. (2005) A Drosophila Model of the Niemann-Pick type C lysosome storage disease: dnpc1a is required for molting and sterol homeostasis. Development 132: 5115-5124.

11. Zhu, A. J. and Scott, M. P. (2004) Incredible journey: How do developmental signals travel through tissue? Genes & Development 18: 2985-2997 (Cover featured article).

12. Hwa, J. J.,* Zhu, A. J.,* Hiller, M. A., Kon, C. Y., Fuller, M. T., Santel, A. (2004) Germ-line specific variants of components of the mitochondrial outer membrane import machinery in Drosophila. FEBS Letter 572: 141-146 (* Co-first author).

13. Zhu, A. J., Zheng, L., Suyama, K. and Scott, M. P. (2003) Altered localization of Drosophila Smoothened protein activates Hedgehog signal transduction. Genes & Development 17: 1240-1252 (Cover featured article).

Commented in Current Biology, and F1000Prime.
van den Heuvel, M. (2003) Hedgehog signaling: off the shelf modulation. Current Biology 13: R686-R688.

14. Zhu, A. J. and Watt, F. M. (1999) β-Catenin signalling modulates proliferative potential of human epidermal keratinocytes independently of intercellular adhesion. Development 126: 2285-2298.

15. Zhu, A. J., Haase, I. and Watt, F. M. (1999) Signaling via β1 integrins and mitogen-activated kinase determines human epidermal stem cell fate in vitro. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 96: 6728-6733.

16. Zhu, A. J. and Watt, F. M. (1996) Expression of a dominant negative cadherin mutant inhibits proliferation and stimulates terminal differentiation of human epidermal keratinocytes, Journal of Cell Science 109: 3013-3023.
CLS Graduate Program Fundamental Developmental Biology track Organizer, Fall semester
CLS Graduate Program Advanced Developmental Biology track Organizer, Fall semester
PTN Graduate Program Developmental Biology track, Participant, Spring semester
Undergraduate Developmental Biology course, Organizer, Spring semester
Laboratory Introduction
Laboratory Members:Dr. Wei Dong, Dr. Yajuan Li
Postdoctoral Fellow: Dr. Min Liu
Graduate Students: Yuan Gao (CLS)、Lebing Zhang (CLS)、Tao He (SLS)、Aiguo Liu (CLS)、Mengyuan Yi (SLS)、Ting Long (CLS)、Yuanhe Zhang (SLS),Yu Fan (SLS),Yansong Zhang (SLS)、Ying Huang (SLS),Siyuan Lin (CLS)、Jie Wang (SLS)
Undergraduate Students: Minming Wang、Jingyu Peng、Peixiang Gao、Ji`an Wang、Qi Yang
Laboratory Phone:(010)-6274-5121