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Zishan Zhang

Mentor: Michael Tomasson, M.D.
Lab Room: 5204 MERF
Lab Phone: 319-335-4958

The role of bone marrow macrophage polarization in CIH impacted multiple myeloma progression.

Multiple myeloma (MM) is the cancer of bone marrow plasma cells. The etiology of MM is not clear, but risk factors include age, sex, race, and body mass index. Obesity is the only modifiable risk factor for MM but high-fat diet does not increase MM development in mice. Over 45% of obese patients have sleep apnea that is a severe sleep disorder that occurs when the breathing is interrupted during sleep. Sleep apnea is physiologically complex and one component is chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH). The mechanisms and factors linking obesity and multiple myeloma stay not fully understood and one of possible factors is sleep-apnea-mediated CIH. Previous studies in our lab have shown that CIH contributes to the development of MM in mice. The gene expression is analyzed in bone marrow cells from C57BL/6J mice exposed to CIH. Among top 10 genes affected by CIH, six are macrophage genes. Our hypothesis is that CIH drives MM progression via polarization of bone marrow macrophages. My work will focus on determination of macrophage subpopulations activated by CIH. This research will help us understand how CIH changes the bone marrow microenvironment to promote MM progression.

Honors and Awards

  • Graduate College Post Comprehensive Research Fellowship