Dr Lei Zhang
Dr Lei Zhang obtained her BSc degree in Wuhan University, China, with a major in Virology. In 2001, she came to Australia to pursue a PhD degree in the Biochemistry department, University of Tasmania. During her PhD, she investigated the hemodynamic actions of insulin on microvasculature in relation to insulin’s metabolic effects on glucose homeostasis.
After the completion of her PhD in 2005, with an interest in diabetes and obesity research, Lei came to Professor Caroline McMillen’s lab at the University of Adelaide working on projects investigating how intrauterine restriction leads to increased risks in developing adulthood cardiovascular disease, obesity and insulin resistance. It was through this experience that she developed a strong interest in central regulation of adiposity associated with insulin resistance.
This interest led to Lei’s appointment in Professor Herbert Herzog’s laboratory at the Neuroscience Research Program of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in 2006, where she started to investigate how neuropeptide Y family peptides regulate energy balance and glucose homeostasis. After obtaining her NHMRC project grant in 2012, she established her research group with particular interest in finding out how neuropeptides regulate appetite, energy metabolism, physical activity, body composition and glucose homeostasis, and whether neuropeptide receptor(s)-targeted strategy would confer benefits for obesity treatment.
In addition, by using an activity-based anorexia mouse model, her group studies the central mechanisms underlying the paradoxical hyperactivity often observed in anorexia nervosa patients. The neuropeptides they are focusing on currently include neuropeptide Y family peptides and RFamide family peptides.
Critical role of lateral habenula circuits in the control of stress-induced palatable food consumption.
- 2023Cell metabolism10.1016/j.cmet.2023.04.020
Agrp-negative arcuate NPY neurons drive feeding under positive energy balance via altering leptin responsiveness in POMC neurons.
- 2023Science advances10.1126/sciadv.adf9063
Monitoring AKT activity and targeting in live tissue and disease contexts using a real-time Akt-FRET biosensor mouse.
NPFF signalling is critical for thermosensory and dietary regulation of thermogenesis.
- 2022Molecular metabolism10.1016/j.molmet.2022.101525
Central NPFF signalling is critical in the regulation of glucose homeostasis.