Sheng Zhong, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego
The extracellular RNAs (exRNAs) from human biofluid have recently been systematically characterized. However, the correlations of biofluid exRNA levels and human diseases remain largely untested. Here, considering the unmet need for presymptomatic biomarkers of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD), we leveraged the recently developed SILVER-seq (small-input liquid volume extracellular RNA sequencing) technology to analyze exRNA from a longitudinal collection of human plasma samples. When we required statistical significance with multiple testing adjustments, phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH) was the only gene that exhibited consistent upregulation in AD brain transcriptomes from 3 independent cohorts and an increase in AD plasma as compared to controls. We validated PHGDH’s serum exRNA and brain protein expression increases in AD by using 5 additional research cohorts. These data suggest the potential utilities of plasma exRNA levels for screening sporadic AD.
Sheng is a Professor of Bioengineering at UC San Diego. He obtained a double major in Mathematics and Economics from Peking University, a PhD of Biostatistics with a PhD minor in Molecular Biology from Harvard University. He worked at Stanford University and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign before moving to UC San Diego. He received an NIH Director's Pioneer Award and an NIH Catalyst Award in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases. Eight of his previous trainees are contributing to science on tenure-track faculty positions.