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Jijun Hao

Jijun Hao

Western University of Health Sciences, USA

Title: Zebrafish, a great tool for drug development

Biography

"Jijun Hao obtained his PhD degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from University of Leeds (UK) in 2003, which was followed by postdoctoral training in the fields of chemical genetic and stem cell biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. In 2010, he was appointed as a Research Assistant Professor at the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in Vanderbilt University. Currently He is an Assistant Professor at Western University of Health Sciences. He has published 13 peer-reviewed articles and three book chapters, and filed three patents."

Abstract

"The traditional “target-based” drug discovery approach involves in vitro biochemical and cell-based assays followed by in vivo animal tests before ultimately trials in humans. Typically more than 99% of drug leads identified in the early in vitro screening fail in the later in vivo studies and clinical trials. As result, developing a new drug typically takes 15 years and costs 1.2 billion US dollars before it reaches the market. The challenge for traditional "target-based" drug discovery could be overcome by zebra fish "phenotype-based"approach. Based on the hypothesis that a small molecule that selectively targets a signaling pathway involved in embryonic patterning should phenocopy genetic mutations in that pathway, we discovered several highly selective small molecule modulators of signaling pathways in the zebra fish phenotype-based screening recently. For instance, we have developed exclusively selective inhibitor of bone morphogenetic protein signaling, DMH1, based on the fact that fish embryos treated with DMH1 would pheno-copy dorsalized morphology seen in BMP signaling mutant fish. In addition, we have discovered a highly specific VEGF receptor 2 inhibitor (DMH4), Wnt/β-catenin inhibitor (Windorphen) and a new group of Hedgehog pathway inhibitor (Eggmanones). Our research demonstrates that zebra fish phenotype-based approach is an efficient way for drug development."

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