Zhentao Zhang, PhD

Zhentao Zhang, MD, PhD, is a postdoctoral research scholar in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory University. He completed his doctoral studies on neuroscience and neurology in Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China). He joined the group of Keqiang Ye, PhD, in 2012, where he focused on the proteolytic processing of APP and tau in AD. The discovery of AEP as a novel protease that mediates the truncation of both APP and tau not only makes it a promising target for the treatment of AD, but also makes it a potential biomarker for the diagnosis of AD.

"After finishing my MD and PhD degrees, I worked in the neurology department at a hospital. A lot of patients come to the hospital with the main complication of cognitive decline. Some could not remember where they lived. Some could not recognize their family members. Almost half of them were diagnosed with Alzheimer disease.

This devastating disease poses a great challenge to their families and to society. Unfortunately, there is no cure for it because the molecular mechanisms of the disease are largely unknown. I joined Dr. Keqiang Ye’s team in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory University. Under the instruction of Dr. Ye, we identified a novel protease AEP that mediates the pathogenesis of AD. We immediately came to the hypothesis that this enzyme may serve as a novel biomarker for the early diagnosis of AD. The support from BrightFocus Foundation provides us the opportunity to verify this hypothesis. We hope our findings will help facilitate early diagnosis and early intervention, and ultimately improve treatment success for patients who suffer from this illness."