Zhaozhu Qiu PhD

Assistant Professor of Physiology

Telephone Number: 410-614-3795

Johns Hopkins University
Department of Physiology
725 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
Room: 216 Wood Basic Science Building
Areas of Research
Cellular + Molecular Neuroscience
Neurobiology of Disease

Graduate Program Affiliations

Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program 

Neuroscience Training Program

Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular Pysiology

Mechanisms of Osmotic Regulation in Physiology and Disease

Cell is composed of around 70% water with a plasma membrane also permeable to water. So keeping cell volume constant in response to osmotic challenges is fundamental to life. This is achieved in mammals by maintaining a stable blood plasma osmolarity (near 300 mOsm/L) and by possessing a variety of mechanisms that allow individual cells to monitor and recover their volume following osmotic swelling or shrinkage. Defective osmoregulation leads to various human disorders, including dehydration, hypertension, renal and neurological diseases. However, the identity of many key osmosensing molecules has been a long-standing mystery. Our goal is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of mammalian osmotic regulation at both the cellular and whole body levels. To this end, we combine several techniques including high-throughput functional genomics, electrophysiology, mouse genetics, imaging, and biochemistry. For example, we recently performed a genome-wide RNAi screen and co-discovered SWELL1 (LRRC8A) as an essential component of the elusive Volume-Regulated Anion Channel (VRAC). VRAC is required for maintaining cell volume in response to osmotic swelling. Future studies can now address the function and regulation of the ubiquitously expressed VRAC channel in normal and disease states. 

Back to faculty profiles