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Walder Foundation Distinguished Professor
Jiou Wang

Departmental Affiliations

School of Medicine

Jiou Wang, MD, PhD, seeks to understand what controls the birth and death of a protein and how the shape and function of DNA and RNA are connected in health and diseases.

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Room E8628

Research Interests

Protein; RNA; neurodegeneration

Experiences & Accomplishments
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Peking University Health Sciences Center

Protein and RNA Homeostasis in Neurodegeneration

We are interested in the biological basis for protein and RNA homeostasis in neurodegeneration. We hope to solve problems that not only have biological significance but also have important implications for understanding and treating disease.

Discovering key regulators of protein homeostasis: Protein misfolding plays a central role in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Elucidating the mechanisms that connect the misfolded proteins to neurodegeneration is a critical step to understand these diseases and to develop novel and effective therapies. We use unbiased genetic screens to understand how cells boost protein quality control to counter the effects of the misfolded proteins. We are also investigating hidden protein quality control regulatory pathways, building on an emerging paradigm in which post-translational modification switches act on previously unrecognized networks that reprogram the protein quality control systems. In addition, we study the regulation of protein synthesis under stress conditions, which is implicated in a myriad of human diseases.

Uncovering novel players in the regulation of RNA homeostasis: Because perturbation of RNA homeostasis in the central nervous system is another major theme in neurodegeneration, we are interested in studying new pathways of RNA processing. We have uncovered novel functions of RNA-binding proteins linked to neurodegeneration, showing impacts on protein quality control regulation, gene silencing activity mediated by mature miRNAs, and in phase transition and stress granule formation.

Revealing the mechanisms of repeat expansion diseases: We are interested in understanding the biology of a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the C9orf72 gene that is the most common cause of ALS and FTD, and may serve as a model for understanding other neurodegenerative diseases with similar repeat expansions. Our studies have pointed to a molecular cascade that connects the structure of the C9orf72 nucleotide repeat to cellular defects and human pathology. We are also investigating the role of the C9orf72 protein in the regulation of autophagy and metabolism, which have critical roles in the functioning of the nervous system.

Positions for graduate students/postdoctoral fellows/visiting scholars are available. Please send a CV to

Honors & Awards

Elected to The American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) (2020)

Select Publications

Recent publications

  • Liu Y, Huang Z, Liu H, Ji Z, Arora A, Cai D, Wang H, Liu M, Simko EAJ, Zhang Y, Periz G, Liu Z, Wang J. DNA-initiated epigenetic cascades driven by C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat. Neuron, 2023.

  • Lu YN, Kavianpour S, Zhang T, Zhang X, Nguyen D, Thombre R, He L, Wang J. MARK2 phosphorylates eIF2a in response to proteotoxic stress. PLoS Biology, 2021.

  • Lu J, Periz G, Lu Y, Tang Q, Liu Y, Zhang T, Shah Y, Thombre R, Aljumaah R, Li W, Mojsilovic-Petrovic J, Ji Y, Johnson K, Kalb R, Wang J. L3MBTL1 Regulates ALS/FTD-associated Proteotoxicity and Quality Control. Nature Neuroscience, 2019.

  • Alexander EJ, Ghanbari Niaki A, Zhang T, Sarkar J, Liu Y, Nirujogi RS, Pandey A, Myong S, Wang J. Ubiquilin 2 modulates ALS/FTD-linked FUS-RNA complex dynamics and stress granule formation. PNAS, 2018.

  • Haeusler AR, Donnelly CJ, Periz G, Simko EA, Shaw PG, Kim MS, Maragakis NJ, Troncoso JC, Pandey A, Sattler R, Rothstein JD, Wang J. C9orf72 nucleotide repeat structures initiate molecular cascades of disease. Nature, 2014.