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Dr Haiyan Zhou
ICH main building - office 120-121
30 Guilford Street
Tel: 020 7905 2868
  • Lecturer
  • ICH Genetics & Genomic Medicine Prog
  • UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

Dr Haiyan Zhou is a senior research associate funded by the Biomedical Research Centre of Great Ormond Street Hospital and University College London. She studied in medicine at Qingdao Medical College and worked as a physician in paediatrics and dermatology in 1996-2002 in China. After the award of PhD from Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, her career has switched from clinical medicine to biomedical science. Dr Haiyan Zhou joined the Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre under the supervision of Professor Francesco Muntoni in 2004.

Research Summary

I joined the research team of Professor Francesco Muntoni in 2004. I started with the project of exploring genetic defects in congenital myopathies. We reported for the first time that a variety of differential genetic defects in RYR1 gene were responsible for the wide clinical spectrum of congenital myopathies (Neurology 2005; Hum Mole Gene 2006), and expanded the complex genotype-phenotype correlations (Am J Hum Gen 2006; Brain 2007). The successive project on exploring the molecular basis of core myopathy was awarded by Muscular Dystrophy Association US (2007-2010). Further investigation on functional consequences of genetic defects in RYR1 gene (Cell Calcium 2009; Hum Mutat 2013; Biochem J 2013), additional RYR1-related clinical features and novel molecular pathogenesis have been reported (Neuromuscul Disord 2009, 2010 and 2011; Ann Neurol 2010; Hum Mutat 2012; Hum Mole Gene 2015).
  Since 2007, I have been focusing on developing novel molecular therapies for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The initial project was supported by Wellcome Trust (2007-2010) on correcting pre-mRNA splicing in SMA by using antisense oligonucleotides (AOs) (Nucleic Acids Res 2011). Continual supports include Wellcome Trust Value in People grant (2011) and UCL Therapeutic Innovation Fund (2012-2015) (Hum Gene Ther 2013; PLOSone 2013; Hum Mole Gene 2015). A MRC collaborative project has recently been awarded to develop the advanced peptide-conjugated AO therapy for SMA (2014-17). Research grants have also been awarded from SMA-Europe (2015-17) and GOSH charity (2015-17) to explore additional pathogenesis in SMA and identify novel therapeutic targets. 
  In addition, we are now developing AO therapies for other applicable neuromuscular diseases (Muscular Dystrophy UK 2014-16). Further support also comes from UCL/GOSH BRC to expand the application of advanced AO technology into additional genetic conditions. A wide range of multidiscipline academic and industrial collaborations have since been established in UCL and worldwide to facilitate the delivery of this programme.    

Teaching Summary

Dr Haiyan Zhou is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

MSc course (ICH): Molecule and Genetic Basis of Paediatrics. Lecture: DMD and disease therapy/ Therapies for neuromuscular disorders.
b.    Neuromuscular Master Programme (MRC Neuromuscular Centre and UCL): Advanced Genetic Technologies and their Clinical Applications Module. Lecture: Gene Therapy I- antisense oligonucleotides as therapeutic tools.

Research project supervisor:
a. MRC PhD studentship rotation projects.
b. UCL Biomedicine MSc programme.
c. UCL Molecule and genetic basis of Paediatrics MSc programme.


Academic Background
2016 AFHEA ATQ02 - Recognised by the HEA as an Associate Fellow – Academic studies in Higher Education University College London
2002 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Physiology Chinese Academy of Medical Science
1999 MMed Master of Medicine – Medical Research Qingdao medical College
1994 MBBS Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery – Clinical Medicine Qingdao medical College
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