Shaoqing He Ph.D.

Lab Mission

My research interest focuses on the pathological mechanisms of glaucoma. The characteristic events occurring during progression of glaucoma are the death of nerve cells in the eye (retinal ganglion cells) and damage to the optic nerve. We are testing the hypothesis that transcription factors, the proteins controlling gene expression, and astrocytes, one type of supporting cells in the nervous system, play a crucial role in both events.  Therefore, my efforts are dedicated to understand the interaction of nerve cells and astrocytes, and to reveal the roles of transcription factors in neuronal cell death, particularly through the reactivation of astrocytes.

Self introduction

I am a self-motivated scientist in glaucoma research and have the expertise, background and experience in biomedical science to lead and carry out the current proposal. I have been devoted into research since 1993 when I started to join the poliovirus vaccine research. I have been actively involved in endothelin-mediated signaling pathways and their roles in astrocytes and retinal ganglion cells during my Ph.D. work. I had three years of postdoc training at UT Southwestern Medical Center, which broadened my expertise and sharpened my research skills. Since 2010, I have been actively involved in neurodegeneration research focusing on endothelin’s role in glaucoma. I have extensive experience in assays of cell biology and molecular biology, including mRNA, protein assays and gene arrays to understand gene expression changes in animal and cell culture models of glaucoma. I also have an excellent ability to develop advanced and cutting-edge techniques, such as microarray, lentivirus and adeno-associated virus-mediated gene manipulation in cell culture and in vivo animal experiments. In addition, I have exceptional capability to initiate research projects, design and perform experiments, manage the progression of projects, and promote team work. Since 2011, I teach in the ‘Methods in Molecular Biology’ course which is offered in the graduate school at the UNT Health Science Center.

Education and Training

  • B.S. Yunnan University, China
  • M.S. Peking Union Medical College
  • Ph.D.  University of North Texas Health Science Center
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Project: Interaction between Ocular astrocytes and Retinal Ganglion Cells

Endothelins (ETs), belonging to a family of vasoactive peptides, and their receptors namely ETA and ETB, are involved in neurodegeneration in glaucoma. ET levels are elevated in the aqueous humor, circulation of glaucoma patients and in animal models of glaucoma (mouse, rat, dog, and monkey). The changes in ET expression and/or regulation of ET receptors appear to play a crucial regulatory role in apoptosis of RGC and astrogliosis. ETs trigger the reactivation of astrocytes leading to astrogliosis. Our laboratory demonstrated that ET induces the several signaling pathways regulating the proliferation in astrocytes and contributing to the abnormal regulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) in human primary optic nerve head astrocytes and laminar cribrosa cells. We focus on ET-mediated interaction between astrocytes and retinal ganglion cells and work on the detrimental roles of ETs to induce apoptosis of RGCs as a result of the astrogliosis and reactivation of astrocytes.

Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography

This page was last modified on October 10, 2019