Chenghua Gu, Harvard Medical School, USA
Chenghua Gu, is an Associate professor in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. Her laboratory studies the interactions between the vascular and the nervous systems, specifically how the blood-brain barrier (BBB) functions and how blood supply is dynamically matched to the local energy needs of neural circuits. Her laboratory recently demonstrated that inhibition of transcytosis is a major mechanism for the BBB function, a surprising finding in view of the nearly exclusive focus on tight junctions as the mechanism of BBB integrity. Her findings imply that the molecular pathways inhibiting transcytosis could be targeted to open the BBB and deliver drugs to the central nervous system. Her lab also discovered that neural activity can influence the structure of vascular networks, not only blood flow, which revealed a novel mechanism to match brain energy supply to neural demand. In earlier studies, Dr. Gu’s lab contributed to the recognition that the same guidance cues are used for wiring both the nervous and vascular systems, and discovered basic principles governing the establishment of neurovascular congruency.
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