Zeng-Defu

Defu Zeng

  • Professor, Department of Diabetes Immunology
  • Professor, Department of Diabetes Complications and Metabolism
  • Professor, Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

Defu Zeng

Research Focus :
  • Transplantation immune tolerance: mixed chimerism
  • Beta cell regeneration in diabetic mice
  • GVHD and GVL effect
Areas of Expertise
  • Diabetes immunology/autoimmunity
  • In vivo beta cell regeneration
  • Hematology & hematopoietic cell transplantation
  • 2013 to present - Professor, Division of Molecular Diabetes Research, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope
  • 2013 to present - Professor, Department of Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2008 to 2013 - Associate Professor, Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope
  • Associate Professor, Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2003 to 2008 - Assistant Professor, Departments of Diabetes/Endocrinology and Hematology/Bone Marrow Transplantation, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2000 to 2003 - Senior Research Scientist, Division of Immunology & Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA
  • 1997 to 2000 - Research Associate, Division of Immunology & Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA
  • 1993 to 1997 - Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Division of Immunology & Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA
  • 1990 to 1993 - Assistant Professor, Department of Pathophysiology, Fujian Medical College, Fuzhou, China
  • 1985 to 1990 - Postgraduate Fellow, Department of Pathophysiology, Fujian Medical College, Fuzhou, China
  • Diabetes Complications and Metabolism
  • Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

Degrees

  • 1985 - Fujian Medical College, Fuzhou, China, M.D.

Fellowship

  • 1993 to 1997 - Stanford University, School of Medicine, CA, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Immunology & Rheumatology

Transplantation Immune Tolerance

Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is a curative therapy for hematological malignancies and hereditary disorders as well as refractory autoimmune diseases. Induction of mixed chimerism via allogeneic HCT is also one of the most reliable approaches for induction of organ transplantation tolerance. However, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remains a major obstacle in classical HCT, in which recipients are required to be conditioned with total body irradiation (TBI) or high dose chemotherapy in order to allow donor stem cell engraftment. Recent studies have shown that tissue damage and activation of tissue dendritic cells caused by conditioning TBI or chemotherapy plays a critical role in induction of GVHD.
 
One of the research projects in the Zeng lab is to understand the pathogenesis of GVHD, in which donor T cells infiltrate the target tissues and mediate damage. Based on the clinical features, GVHD can be divided into acute and chronic GVHD. New immunosuppressants have been effective in preventing acute but not chronic GVHD. The latter remains the major cause of morbidity and mortality of long-term survivors of classical HCT, and there has been no improvement in treating chronic GVHD over the past three decades, due to the poor understanding of its pathogenesis.
 
We have recently developed new mouse models of chronic GVHD that can reflect the pathogenesis in humans. We are currently dissecting the role of allo- and auto-reactive CD4+ T (Th1, Th2 and Th17), Treg cells, APCs (dendritic and B cells), as well as autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of chronic GVHD. We are currently testing whether depletion of donor CD4+ T cells and/or B cells early after HCT can prevent chronic GVHD. These studies will provide new insights into chronic GVHD pathogenesis and lead to the development of novel therapies for patients.
 
Another project is to develop a radiation-free GVHD preventative conditioning regimen for induction of mixed chimerism for the therapy of autoimmune diseases (i.e. type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and lupus). We have observed that induction of mixed chimerism results in reversal of autoimmunity, elimination of insulitis, and beta cell regeneration in overt diabetic NOD mice. We are dissecting the mechanisms whereby mixed chimerism reverses autoimmunity. We are also tracing the origin of beta cell regeneration after reversal of autoimmunity. Our studies will provide new insights into transplantation biology and promote the application of HCT as a curative therapy not only for patients with hematological malignancies but also for patients with variety of refractory autoimmune diseases.
Mingfeng Zhang, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
626-246-4673 (HOPE) ext. 64203
 
Ruishu Deng, M.D., Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
626-246-4673 (HOPE) ext. 64432
 
Jian Zhou
Visiting Scientist
626-246-4673 (HOPE)
 
Su-Fan Zhou
Visiting Scientist
626-246-4673 (HOPE)
 
Kaniel Cassady
Ph.D. Candidate
626-246-4673 (HOPE) ext. 64432
 
Hua Jin
International Ph.D. Student
626-246-4673 (HOPE) ext. 60659
 
QingXiao Song
International Ph.D. Student
626-246-4673 (HOPE)
 
Jun Wang
International Ph.D. Student
626-246-4673 (HOPE)
 
Yuqing Lu, M.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
626-246-4673 (HOPE)

Information listed here is obtained from Pubmed, a public database; City of Hope is not responsible for its accuracy.

  • American Diabetes Association
  • American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
  • American Society of Transplantation
  • Clinical Immunology Society
  • The American Society of Hematology
  • The American Association of Immunologists
Back To Top