Nanyang Assistant Professor Franklin Zhong was awarded the Nanyang Assistant Professor and joined the faculty at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine in 2018. He completed his postdoctoral training at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore in the area of innate immunity and pathogen sensing. Asst Prof Zhong holds a PhD in Cancer Biology from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, UK.
Asst Prof Zhong’s research focuses on the inner workings of the human innate immune system in barrier tissues, such as the skin, that protects body’s internal organs from microbial infection. His latest work has led to the identification of new immune sensing pathways that regulate inflammation and cancer immune-surveillance, which could serve therapeutic targets in the treatment of infectious and auto-immune diseases.
The innate immune system provides the first line of defense in our body against microbial infections and incipient malignancies. Asst Prof Zhong’s lab aims to dissect the fundamental biology of the human innate immune system by the addressing the following questions:
How doe the human innate immune system recognise diverse pathogens that evolve rapidly to evade the immune system?
How does the immune system differentiate dangerous pathogens from beneficial symbiotic microbes?
How are early cancer cells recognised and destroyed by the immune system and how/why this no longer occurs during later stages of malignancy?
How does dysregulated innate immune response contribute to auto-immune diseases?
Zhong FL, Robinson K, Teo DET, Tan KY, Lim C, Harapas CR, Yu CH, Xie WH,Sobota RM, Au VB, Hopkins R, D'Osualdo A, Reed JC, Connolly JE, Masters SL,Reversade B. Human DPP9 represses NLRP1 inflammasome and protects against autoinflammatory diseases via both peptidase activity and FIIND domain binding. J Biol Chem. 2018 Dec 7;293(49):18864-18878.
Gong Q, Long Z, Zhong FL, Teo DET, Jin Y, Yin Z, Boo ZZ, Zhang Y, Zhang J, Yang R, Bhushan S, Reversade B, Li Z, Wu B. Structural basis of RIP2 activation and signaling. Nat Commun. 2018 Nov 26;9(1):4993. doi:
Chia PH*, Zhong FL*, Niwa S, Bonnard C, Utami KH, Zeng R, Lee H, Eskin A, Nelson
SF, Xie WH, Al-Tawalbeh S, El-Khateeb M, Shboul M, Pouladi MA, Al-Raqad M, Reversade B. A homozygous loss-of-function CAMK2A mutation causes growth delay, frequent seizures and severe intellectual disability. Elife. 2018 May 22;7.
Zhong FL, Mamaï O, Sborgi L, Boussofara L, Hopkins R, Robinson K, Szeverényi I, Takeichi T, Balaji R, Lau A, Tye H, Roy K, Bonnard C, Ahl PJ, Jones LA, Baker PJ, Lacina L, Otsuka A, Fournie PR, Malecaze F, Lane EB, Akiyama M, Kabashima K, Connolly JE, Masters SL, Soler VJ, Omar SS, McGrath JA, Nedelcu R, Gribaa M, Denguezli M, Saad A, Hiller S, Reversade B. Germline NLRP1 Mutations Cause Skin Inflammatory and Cancer Susceptibility Syndromes via Inflammasome Activation.
Cell. 2016 Sep 22;167(1):187-202.e17.
Freund A, Zhong FL, Venteicher AS, Meng Z, Veenstra TD, Frydman J, Artandi SE. Proteostatic control of telomerase function through TRiC-mediated folding of TCAB1. Cell. 2014 Dec 4;159(6):1389-403.
Zhong FL, Batista LF, Freund A, Pech MF, Venteicher AS, Artandi SE. TPP1 OB-fold domain controls telomere maintenance by recruiting telomerase to chromosome ends. Cell. 2012 Aug 3;150(3):481-94.