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Dr Haiyan Zhou
ICH main building - office 110
30 Guilford Street
Tel: 020 7905 2868
Dr Haiyan Zhou profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • Genetics & Genomic Medicine Dept
  • UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

Dr Haiyan Zhou is a principal investigator and group leader in genetics and genomic medicine.  The research of her team focuses on the development of RNA-targeted therapy in genetic conditions and translational biomedical research in muscular dystrophies. Previously Dr Zhou worked with Professor Francesco Muntoni on antisense oligonucleotide therapy in neuromuscular disorders, and was involved in the preclinical development of antisense therapy in spinal muscular atrophy and muscular dystrophies. 

Dr Zhou is a member of the World Muscle Society, the American Society of Cell and Gene Therapy and the Oligonucleotide Therapeutic Society. She holds a medical degree in clinical medicine and Ph.D. in skin pharmacology from Peking Union Medical College.  

Research Summary

Started with the project on exploring genetic defects in congenital myopathies, I reported for the first time that a variety of genetic defects in RYR1 gene were responsible for the wide clinical spectrum of congenital myopathies, and expanded the complex genotype-phenotype correlations. This study was followed by project on exploring the molecular basis of core myopathy awarded by Muscular Dystrophy Association (US). Further investigations on functional consequences of genetic defects in RYR1 gene, additional RYR1-related clinical features and novel molecular pathogenesis have since been reported.
  My research also focuses on developing novel molecular therapies for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The initial project was supported by Wellcome Trust on correcting pre-mRNA splicing in SMA by using antisense oligonucleotides (AON). Continual supports include Wellcome Trust Value in People grant and UCL Therapeutic Innovation Fund. A MRC collaborative project was awarded to develop the advanced peptide-conjugated AO therapy for SMA. Research grants were also awarded from SMA-Europe and GOSH charity to explore additional pathogenesis in SMA and identify novel therapeutic targets. 
  We are now developing AON therapies for Collagen VI-related muscular dystrophies supported by Muscular Dystrophy UK. Further support also comes from UCL/GOSH BRC to expand the application of AON technology into more genetic conditions and biomarker studies in SMA.     

Teaching Summary

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

Postgraduate teaching:
Regular lectures to:
          - Molecule and Genetic Basis of Paediatrics Module/ Paediatrics Masters Programme (2013-).
          - Cell and Gene Therapy Master Programme (2018- ).
b.   Module lead of Advanced Genetic Technologies and their Clinical Applications Module/ Neuromuscular Master Programme (MRC Neuromuscular Centre and UCL, 2014- ). 
c. Deputy module lead of Novel Therapies, Personalized Medicine Masters Programme at GOSICH (2019- ) 

Research projects Supervision:
a. MRC PhD studentship rotation projects.
b. UCL Biomedicine MSc programme.
c. UCL GOSICH Molecule and genetic basis of Paediatrics MSc programme.
d. The integrated BSc degree in Neurosciences (UCL Medical students only).
e. UCL GOSICH Cell and Gene Therapy MSc programme.
f. Human Molecular Genetics MSc programme (Imperial College London).


Academic Background
2016   ATQ02 - Recognised by the HEA as an Associate Fellow University College London
2002   Doctor of Philosophy Chinese Academy of Medical Science
1999   Master of Medicine Qingdao medical College
1994   Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery Qingdao medical College
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