Wu, Zhenguo

Curiosity, integrity, perseverance, self-motivation and hard work are the basis for a fun research career

Wu, Zhenguo


Greater Bay Biomedical InnoCenter

Senior Principal Investigator

Home page of research group:


  • 2010 - Present

    Hong Kong University of Science and Technology         Professor

  • 2005 - 2010

    Hong Kong University of Science and Technology         Associate Professor

  • 1999 - 2005

    Hong Kong University of Science and Technology         Assistant Professor

  • 1996 - 1999

    University of California, San Diego         Postdoctoral Fellow

  • 1995 - 1996

    University of Western Ontario         Postdoctoral Fellow

  • 1989 - 1995

    University of Western Ontario         Ph.D.

  • 1982 - 1986

    Nanjing University         B.Sc.

Research Areas

Adult muscle stem cells, also known as muscle satellite cells (MuSC), are indispensable for postnatal muscle growth and injury-induced muscle regeneration. Adult MuSC predominantly exist in a quiescent state in normal resting muscles. Upon muscle injury, quiescent MuSC will undergo activation and exit quiescence, re-enter the cell cycle to proliferate and self-renew, and ultimately start differentiation and fusion to orchestrate muscle regeneration. Dysregulation of any of these steps could adversely affect the functions of MuSC and injury-induced muscle regeneration.

My group is interested in understanding how MuSC are regulated during maintenance in uninjured muscles and during regeneration in injured muscles. In addition, we are also interested in understanding whether and how MuSC are affected under certain pathological conditions.


After three years of postdoctoral training (1996-1999) in Professor Michael Karin’s laboratory at the University of California, San Diego, I started my independent academic career at the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology in 1999. I was promoted to associate professor in 2005 and full professor in 2010. Initially using cultured myoblasts as a working model, we investigated the roles of several intracellular signaling pathways (e,g., the JAK/STAT pathway) in regulating myogenic differentiation. In recent years, we started to use genetic mouse models to study the molecular mechanisms that regulate adult muscle stem cells in vivo. Our recent work was published in journals like Cell Stem Cell, Cell Research, Cell Reports, Dev Cell, EMBO J and PNAS. As to research funding, I am currently the project coordinator for a Collaborative Research Fund (CRF) grant (2020-2023) from the Hong Kong Research Grant Council. I was also the project coordinator for two other completed CRF grants. Since 2000, I have obtained 21 individual research grants (18 GRF grants, 2 RGC_NSFC grants, 1 HMRF grant) and three group grants (CRF) as the principal investigator with a total funding over HK$40 million. 


Fig 1. TA muscle sections from uninjured mouse. Immunostaining for Pax7 (red) and Laminin (green). 

The nuclei were counterstained by DAPI (blue). Small arrows indicated the Pax7+ MuSC.


Fig 2. Cultured single myofibers. Red signal indicated MyoG+ satellite cells.


• July, 2004 Overseas Distinguished Young Scholar fund (B), (2004-2007), National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)

• May, 1998 Postdoctoral fellowship, Medical Research Council of Canada (1998-1999)

• Apr., 1996 Long-term fellowship, Human Frontier Science Program (International Human Frontier Science Program Organization, 1996-1998)

Selected Publications

1. Lifang Han, Gang Wang, Shaopu Zhou, Chenghao Situ, Zhiming He, Yuying Li, Yudan Qiu, Yu Huang, Aimin Xu, Michael Tim Yun Ong, Huating Wang, Jianfa Zhang, and Zhenguo Wu (2022). Muscle satellite cells are impaired in type 2 diabetic mice by elevated extracellular adenosine. Cell Reports. 39: 110884.

2. Shaopu Zhou, Lifang Han, Mingxi Weng, Han Zhu, Youshan Heng, Gang Wang, Zeyu Shen, Xianwei Chen, Xinrong Fu, Mingjie Zhang, and Zhenguo Wu (2021). Paxbp1 controls a key checkpoint for cell growth and survival during early activation of quiescent muscle satellite cells. PNAS. 118: e2021093118.

3. Gang Wang, Han Zhu, Chenghao Situ, Lifang Han, Youqian Yu, Tom HT Cheung, Kai Liu, and Zhenguo Wu (2018). p110α of PI3K is necessary and sufficient for quiescence exit in adult muscle satellite cells. EMBO Jounral. 37: e98239.

4. Yitai An, Gang Wang, Yarui Diao, Yanyang Long, Xinrong Fu, Mingxi Weng, Leina Zhou, Kun Sun, Tom HT Cheung, Nancy Y Ip, Hao Sun, Huating Wang, and Zhenguo Wu (2017). A Molecular Switch Regulating Cell Fate Choice between Muscle Progenitor Cells and Brown Adipocytes. Development Cell. 41:382-91. 

5. Han Zhu, Fang Xiao, Gang Wang, Xiuqing Wei, Lei Jiang, Yan Chen, Lin Zhu, Haixia Wang, Yaui Diao, Huating Wang, Nancy Y Ip, Tom HT Cheung, and Zhenguo Wu (2016). STAT3 Regulates Self-renewal of Adult Muscle Satellite Cells During Injury-induced Muscle Regeneration. Cell Reports. 16: 2102-15.