Published September 28, 2020

Deciphering Signals

Chair holder focuses on using gene therapy to treat ALS and other diseases.

Renping Zhou studies how biological signals regulate normal and pathological processes in the nervous system. In addition to being an accomplished researcher, he also is a dedicated teacher. He considers teaching one of his most important tasks as a professor at Rutgers and devotes a significant amount of time and energy to training the next generation of scientists, supervising research activities of undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows. He is also chair of the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy’s Department of Chemical Biology,

photo of zhou renpingMuch of Zhou’s current research focuses on ALS, a devastating motor neuron disease with an average survival time of two to four years, with the goal of using gene therapy to develop effective avenues of treatment.

In collaboration with Xi Zheng, a research professor in the pharmacy school’s Department of Chemical Biology, Zhou established a collaboration between Rutgers and Wuyi University in China to facilitate student training and scientific exchange.

Zhou holds a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute. He serves on the editorial boards of PLoS One and Cell & Bioscience.

The William and Myrle Garbe Chair in Cancer and Leukemia research was established through a gift from the estate of Myrle W. Garbe.

In the Professor’s Own Words

How do you inspire your students?

I encourage them to read widely and identify the big and important problems that need to be solved by research. Once we decide on a project, I work with the students in designing and performing experiments. My drive and passion in research and discovery to elucidate the mysteries of life and discover disease treatments seem to excite students.

How would you characterize the students you work with?

The Rutgers students I have worked with show a strong thirst for knowledge and commitment to improving human health.

What aspect of your work is most personally fulfilling?

The freedom to pursue research to find cures for diseases and to inspire students to discovery.

What are some of its biggest challenges?

The biggest challenges are finding support for early stage innovative research.


This story is part of Rutgers University Foundation’s Endowed Chairs Impact series. Supporting professorships and research helps spark innovation and creativity here in New Jersey and beyond.