Haining Zhu, PhD

Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology
R. Ken and Donna Coit Endowed Chair in Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases
Co-Director, Coit Center for Longevity & Neurotherapeutics
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Member, University of Arizona Cancer Center
Member, Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center
Member, Neuroscience GIDP
Member, Cancer Biology GIDP

The Zhu laboratory studies RNA binding proteins and RNA metabolism including protein translation and stress granules under physiological and pathological conditions. We are also interested in protein phase separation and aggregation in vitro and in vivo and their relevance in human diseases. We strive to better understand the molecular mechanisms for neurodegenerative diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and other diseases such as cancer. In addition, we are interested in therapeutic development targeting the molecules identified in the mechanistic studies.

Education & Post Graduate Training: 

Postdoctoral Training, Proteomics, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2002
Ph.D., Chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, 2000
B.S., Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China, 1994

Areas of Research: 
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)
  • RNA binding proteins in neurodegenerative diseases
  • Regulation of RNA metabolism and protein translation in neurodegenerative diseases
  • Stress granules in neurodegenerative diseases and other human health conditions
  • Protein homeostasis, misfolding, aggregation and turnover
  • Mass spectrometry, proteomics and functional genomics
  • Protein chemistry, biophysics, structure and function relationship

Select Publications


Song D, Kuang L, Yang L, et al. "Yin and yang regulation of stress granules by Caprin-1." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022;119(44):e2207975119. PMCID: PMC9636964  PMID: 36279435


Arenas A, Chen J, Kuang L, et al. "Lysine acetylation regulates the RNA binding, subcellular localization and inclusion formation of FUS." Hum Mol Genet. 2020;29(16):2684-2697. PMCID: PMC7530527  PMID: 32691043
Kuang L, Hashimoto K, Huang EJ, Gentry MS, Zhu H. "Frontotemporal dementia non-sense mutation of progranulin rescued by aminoglycosides." Hum Mol Genet. 2020;29(4):624-634. PMCID: PMC7068117  PMID: 31913476


Gal J, Chen J, Na D-Y, Tichacek L, Barnett KR, Zhu H. "The Acetylation of Lysine-376 of G3BP1 Regulates RNA Binding and Stress Granule Dynamics." Mol Cell Biol. 2019;39(22). PMCID: PMC6817755  PMID: 31481451


Kamelgarn M, Chen J, Kuang L, Jin H, Kasarskis EJ, Zhu H. "ALS mutations of FUS suppress protein translation and disrupt the regulation of nonsense-mediated decay." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018;115(51):E11904-E11913. PMCID: PMC6304956  PMID: 30455313


Gal J, Kuang L, Barnett KR, et al. "ALS mutant SOD1 interacts with G3BP1 and affects stress granule dynamics." Acta Neuropathol. 2016;132(4):563-76. PMCID: PMC5023729  PMID: 27481264


Yang L, Gal J, Chen J, Zhu H. "Self-assembled FUS binds active chromatin and regulates gene transcription." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014;111(50):17809-14. PMCID: PMC4273402  PMID: 25453086