Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Science
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Neurobiology & Anatomy
Director of Model Development
Moran Center for Translational Medicine
The Fu Lab
Phototransduction, Protein Trafficking, Retinal Degeneration
Dr. Fu received his B.S in Biochemistry at Peking University, Beijing, China. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, where he was a member of the Honor Society for International Scholars. Prior to coming to the Moran Eye Center, Dr. Fu worked as a postdoc fellow at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Fu lab is interested in using the visual system to study sensory transduction, protein trafficking, and the biological mechanisms underlying various types of neurodegeneration and aging, and to address post-genomic era challenges (e.g. translate enormous genetic information to functional information). Please see our publications: PNAS 108, 14578-14583, 2011; PNAS 108:8879-8884, 2011; Nature Neuroscience 11: 565-571, 2008. Recently, the Fu lab has made significant progress toward the understanding of two blinding diseases: Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), the most severe retinal dystrophy in early childhood, and age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the elderly.
In the past decade, scientists have made major progress in modern biomedical research. For example, genome-wide association studies to identify genetic susceptibility of complex diseases; gene therapy to treat inherited forms of diseases. What is the audacious goal for the next decade? One such goal is precise editing or replacement of mutant genes in vivo. Please see NEI Challenge to Identify Audacious Goals in Vision Research and Blindness Rehabilitation http://www/nei.nih.gov/challenge. Almost every disease has a genetic component. It is also well established that many genetic mutations can lead to diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, age-related macular degeneration. A recent project in the lab is to permanently correct disease-associated mutations in a patient using molecules that are specially designed to target mutated DNA sequences (such as TALEN and CRISPR) and that can be delivered safely and efficiently into the tissue. Such strategy could potentially provide the best cure or prevention for many diseases.
We place emphasis in "Translational Research"-- discovering disease mechanisms and developing innovative treatment strategies. Students who are interested in addressing major health challenges facing our modern society and in exploring opportunities in both academia and pharmaceutical industry are encouraged to rotate.
Students are expected to learn a variety of techniques including genetics, electrophysiology, biochemistry, cell biology, advanced in vivo and in vitro imaging, nanoparticle drug delivery, gene therapy, and animal behavior.
Zhang, T., and Fu, Y. (2013) A Phe-rich region in short-wavelength sensitive opsins is responsible for their aggregation in the absence of 11-cis-retinal. FEBS Lett., in press.
Kumar. S,, Berriochoa, Z., Jones, A., and Fu, Y. (2013) Detecting abnormalities in choroidal vasculature in a mouse model of age-related macular degeneration by high resolution Indocyanine Green Angiography. J Vis Exp, in press.
Zhang, T., Baehr, W., and Fu, Y. (2012) Chemical chaperone TUDCA preserves cone photoreceptors in a mouse model of Leber congenital amaurosis. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 53(7):3349-3356.
Jones, A., Kumar, S., Zhang, N., Tong, Z., Yang, J.-H., Watt, C., Anderson, J., Fnu, A., Fillerup, H., Mccloskey, M., Luo, L., Yang, Z., Ambati, B., Marc, R., Oka, C., Zhang, K., and Fu, Y. (2011) Increased expression of HTRA1 in retinal pigment epithelium induces polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, in press.
Zhang, T., Zhang, N., Baehr, W., and Fu, Y. (2011) Cone opsin determines the time course of cone photoreceptor degeneration in Leber congenital amaurosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 108 (21):8879-8884.
Fu, Y. (2010) Phototransduction: Phototransduction in Rods. In Encyclopedia of the Eye. Edited by Besharse, J., Dana, R. & Dartt, D. A. Elsevier Academic Press. Volume 3, pp. 397-402.
Fu, Y., Kefalov, V., Luo, D. G., Xie, T., Yau, K. W. (2008) Quantal noise from human red cone pigment. Nature Neuroscience, 11:565-571.
Fu, Y., Zhong, H., Wang, M.H., Luo, D.G., Liao, H.W., Maeda, H., Hattar, S., Frishman, L.J., and Yau, K.W. (2005) Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells detect light with a vitamin A-based photopigment, melanopsin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 102(29):10339-10244.
Kefalov, V.*, Fu, Y.*, Marsh-Armstrong, N., and Yau, K.W. (2003) Role of visual pigment properties in rod and cone phototransduction. Nature, 425:526-531. *Equal contribution co-first authors.