Zhijian Jake Tu

Professor
  • Biochemistry
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Synopsis:

Dr. Davy studies cardiovascular and metabolic consequences of obesity, aging and the metabolic syndrome.

Description:

The major research goals of the Davy laboratory are to determine the cardiometabolic consequences of obesity and aging in humans and to design and test lifestyle and pharmacological interventions to reverse or ameliorate adverse obesity- and age-related changes in cardiometabolic health.  Recent studies have focused on understanding the metabolic consequences of antihypertensive medications and on testing lifestyle and pharmacological interventions to reverse obesity- and age-related arterial stiffening. 

Research Interest:

Genomics and Bioinformatics    

Synopsis:

Dr. Tu uses modern genomics and bioinformatics tools to study the basic genetics and physiology of mosquitoes with the long-term goal of reducing the burden of vector-borne infectious diseases.

Description:

Vector-borne infectious disease (VBID) include emerging perils as well as some of the world’s most devastating diseases such as malaria, dengue and Zika fever, which kill hundreds of thousands of people annually, impose heavy social and economic burdens in developing countries, and threaten public health globally beyond political boundaries. Prevention of VBIDs such as malaria, dengue, and Zika depends heavily on effective mosquito control, which is hindered by increasing insecticide-resistance.

My research activities have evolved around a unifying theme, which is to develop and apply cutting-edge methods to study aspects of mosquito biology that are of significant biological importance as well as translational potential. These included fundamental research on transposable elements and synthetic genetic elements (e.g., Maternal-effect dominant embryonic arrest or MEDEA) that can function as gene drives to spread disease-refractory genes in mosquito populations.

The current focus of my laboratory is to employ novel omics and data analytics tools to discover and investigate genetic elements that control sex-determination and sexual differentiation during embryonic development in mosquitoes. We then use biochemical, genome-editing and other molecular genetic methods to determine the function of these genetic elements and the mechanism of their action. As male mosquitoes do not bite, we are also interested in translating what we learned about mosquito sex determination and sexual differentiation into novel applications to control mosquito-borne infectious diseases.