Wenjuan Shen, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
2015-present Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Program in Neuroscience, Hussman Institute for Autism
2011-2012 Research Scientist, SpectraGenetics Inc., Pittsburgh, PA
2012 Ph.D., Pathology, and Pathophysiology, Jinan University, School of Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
2007 M.Sc., Pharmacology, Jinan University, College of Pharmacy, Guangzhou, China
2005 B.Sc., Medicine, Hunan University of Chinese Medicine, Changsha, Hunan, China
Autism’s etiology remains largely unknown but evidence shows that genetic factors and dendritic spine dysgenesis play critical roles. My interest currently focuses on manipulating autism candidate genes in vivo and in vitro to see if they regulate dendritic spine morphology and synaptic function in different neurons. Our observations will provide new information with potential for improving the understanding and treatment of autism.
During my master’s training, my research focused on studying pro-apoptotic effects of natural medicine on HepG2 cells and tumor-bearing mice. I found that Litchi seed water extract induced HepG2 cell apoptosis and decreased viability by increasing Bax expression and reducing Bcl-2 expression. During my doctoral training, I investigated the role of chlorogenic acid (CGA) in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated microglia activation. Our data demonstrated that CGA significantly suppressed the production of NO and TNF-α and improved survival of dopaminergic (DA) neurons. These effects are associated with inhibition of the NF-κB signaling cascade activation. After joining SpectraGenetics Inc., I took responsibility for building a GPCR library with over 120 GPCR genes for biomedical research and drug discovery. To create the library, I used FAP-tag technology, which is a new class of small genetically encoded biosensors. In the meantime, I constructed a variety of full-length reporter-tagged mouse and human genes.
Shen WJ, Qi RB, zhang J, et al. Chlorogenic acid inhibits LPS-induced microglial activation and improves survival of dopaminergic neurons. Brain Research Bulletin. 2012, 88(5): 487-494. [PMID: 22580132]
Chen MF, Sun X, Shen WJ, et al. Generation of retinal ganglion-like cells from reprogrammed mouse fibroblasts. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010, 51(11): 5970-5978. [PMID: 20484577]
Chen MF, Sun XR, Jiang RZ, Shen WJ, et al. The role of MEF feeder cells in direct reprogramming of mouse tail-tip fibroblasts. Cell Biol Int. 2009, 33(12): 1268-1273. [PMID: 19524692]