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Ze Zhang

Date published: December 13, 2023

December Postdoctoral Spotlight: Ze Zhang, PhD

This month, we feature Ze Zhang, PhD, as our Postdoc Spotlight. Dr. Zhang is a postdoc in the lab of Dr. Kate Fitzgerald in the Division of Innate Immunity. 

I am from Shandong Province, China, which is situated in the North China Plain. This region boasts a rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and a vibrant cultural heritage, making it an excellent place to live.  

What is your research focus? 
My research focuses on innate immunity and cell death, with specific emphasis on inflammasome and cGAS-STING, as well as novel programmed cell death. Drawing from my experience in Professor Xiaodong Wang’s Lab, where I engaged in the study of two independent projects—onco-neuroimmunology and cell death, I delved into the intricacies of innate immunity, particularly inflammasome biology, employing biochemical, genetic, molecular biology, and pharmacologic methods in the Fitzgerald Lab. My research interests encompass the regulation and activation mechanisms of the inflammasome, as well as the identification of corresponding agonists and antagonists. Through these pursuits, I aim to unravel the intricate details of inflammasome biology and advance the development of therapeutic drugs. 

Why did you choose UMass Chan for your postdoctoral studies? 
To begin with, UMass Chan has a strong global reputation and provides a highly supportive environment for junior scientists. The institution is home to numerous renowned scientists in the field of innate immunity, and their groundbreaking research is truly inspiring. Furthermore, Dr. Fitzgerald has been my long-term idol and role model. She is an exceptional PI whom I admire and am honored to work with in pursuit of our shared goals. Our research interests are remarkably similar, and Dr. Fitzgerald is incredibly supportive and nurturing to young scientists. Last but not least, as a native of China, I am eager to immerse myself in a new cultural environment and enhance my English proficiency by living in an English-speaking country. 

Where is your favorite place to travel for vacation and why? 
My preferred travel destination is Sanya, China, due to its exceptionally livable environment. Being a fruit enthusiast, I am captivated by the abundance of tropical fruits available there. Additionally, the multitude of water sports, such as diving, surfing, wakeboarding, and Jetlev Flyers, further adds to its appeal. 

What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play? 
I am very fond of water sports, such as diving, surfing, and more, as they are incredibly effective in relieving stress. Engaging in these activities allows me to alleviate the pressures of both work and daily life, rejuvenating both my body and mind. Furthermore, my affinity for water and aquatic animals is fulfilled through diving, providing me with the opportunity to observe and interact with sea corals and fish.