Wenzhen Duan MD, PhD

Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Telephone Number: 410-502-2866
Fax Number: 410-614-0013

Johns Hopkins University
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
600 N. Wolfe St.
Baltimore, MD 21287
Room: 9-111 CMSC
Areas of Research
Neurobiology of Disease

Graduate Program Affiliations

Neuroscience Training Program

Cellular and Molecular Medicine

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    Representative in vivo MRI images with deformation-based morphometry (DBM) of relative tissue volume; major structural boundaries defined in the control mouse are overlaid on the R6/2 mouse and color-coded Jacobian maps for visual guidance. In the Jacobian map, only regions with significant change in local tissue volume (false discovery rate = 0.05) are shown. The color reflects the normalized local tissue volume with respect to local tissue volume in similar regions in the control mouse brains. Green and blue in the Jacobian map indicate mild and severe atrophy, respectively. Atrophy in the neocortex (white arrows), striatum (yellow arrows), piriform cortex (magenta arrows), hippocampus (red arrows), thalamus (orange arrows), and amygdala (cyan arrows) can be appreciated (Zhang et al., Neuroimage 2010 49(3):2340-51).

Translational Neurobiology Laboratory

Welcome to the Translational Neurobiology Laboratory, where cutting-edge basic science meets real-world impact. Our research program is dedicated to advancing the field of neurobiology by focusing on therapeutics and biomarker development for neurodegenerative disorders with a focus on Huntington’s disease (HD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We are a team of passionate researchers who are committed to bridging the gap between basic research and clinical applications to improve patient outcomes. 

Recent research in the field of neurovascular and brain barrier has shed light on the crucial role of brain barriers and brain-immune interactions in maintaining brain health and its relevance in neurological diseases. Studies have identified novel mechanisms that regulate brain barrier integrity, including the role of specific cell types such as pericytes and astrocytes, as well as signaling pathways involving tight junction proteins and transporters. Furthermore, emerging research has highlighted the crosstalk between the neurovascular unit and immune cells, and how this interplay influences barrier function in neurodegenerative diseases. These findings have deepened our understanding of the complex interactions between the brain and cerebral vasculature and may have significant implications for the development of new therapeutic strategies for neurological disorders, including AD and HD. 

As a part of the Division of Neurobiology, our interdisciplinary team of scientists work collaboratively to develop innovative therapeutic approaches and identify reliable biomarkers by incorporating these new research insights on brain barriers and brain immune interactions. We leverage cutting-edge techniques in molecular biology, genetics, neuroimaging, and computational analysis to unravel the intricate mechanisms underlying these neurological disorders and develop evidence-based interventions. Through our collaborative approach, we aim to bring breakthrough discoveries from the lab to the clinic in a timely and efficient manner, ultimately benefiting patients and their families.

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