About Our Lab 

The Han lab generates personalized Drosophila disease models to study disease mechanism and to develop targeted treatment based on the genetics of the disease. 
The goal of our research is to understand disease mechanism and develop precision medicine treatment based on the disease mechanism, by generating and studying Drosophila models that carry the exact same genetic mutations from human patients.
The Han lab started in 2006 at the University of Michigan Medical School, initially as a developmental biology lab to study genes involved in heart development using Drosophila as a model, and gradually switching direction to model human heart, kidney and blood diseases using Drosophila.

Dr. Han has made seminal contributions in the field of heart development during his graduate and postdoc studies, as well as the beginning years of his independent lab. These include the identification of several evolutionarily conserved genetic pathways that control heart development in flies and in humans (Development 2003, 2005, 2006; PNAS 2004, 2005; Science 2006; Developmental Cell 2008; Development 2012; Developmental Biology 2016a, b). In 2013, Dr. Han’s lab published the two landmark papers that first established the Drosophila nephrocyte as a new kidney disease model (JASN 2013a, b).

The Han lab further established Drosophila as a novel kidney disease model in a series of important discoveries (JCI 2013, 2014, 2015; JASN 2016, 2017; Hum. Mol. Gen. 2017). Dr. Han’s lab also pioneered in generating personalized heart and kidney disease models using a “Gene-Replacement” strategy developed in the lab (eLife 2017; JASN 2017; Hum. Mol. Gen. 2017). Being a leader in the field of animal modeling of heart and kidney diseases, Dr. Han’s lab combines the power of the leading-edge genetic tools in Drosophila with patient exome sequencing and advanced Bioinformatic analysis, to continue lead the efforts for building personalized animal models for studying the disease mechanism and developing new targeted therapies based on the genetics and molecular mechanism of the disease.

Representative Publications 

Zhu, J.Y., Fu, Y., Richman, A., Zhao, Z., Ray, P.E., and Han, Z. (2017) A personalized Drosophila model of COQ2 nephropathy rescued by the wild-type human COQ2 allele and dietary Q10 supplementation. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (E-published on April 20, 2017). PMID: 28428331. (Featured on the cover of JASN for the September 2017 issue). 

Fu, Y., Zhu, J.Y., Richman, A., Zhao, Z., Zhang, F., Ray, P.E., Han, Z. (2017) A Drosophila model system to assess the function of human monogenic podocyte mutations that cause nephrotic syndrome. Human Molecular Genetics (E-published on Feb. 6, 2017). PMID: 28164240. 

Zhu, J.Y., Fu, Y., Nettleton, M., Richman, A., and Han, Z. (2017). High throughput in vivo functional validation of candidate congenital heart disease genes in Drosophila. eLife (E-published on Jan. 20, 2017). PMID: 28084990.

Fu, Y., Zhu, J.Y., Zhang, F., Richman, A., Zhao, Z., and Han, Z. (2017). Comprehensive functional analysis of Rab GTPase genes in Drosophila nephrocytes. Cell and Tissue Research (E-published on Feb. 8, 2017). PMID: 28180992. 

Zhu, J.Y., Heidersbach, A., Kathiriya, I.S., Garay, B.I., Ivey, K.N., Srivastava, D., Han, Z.*, and King, I.N.* (2017) The E3 ubiquitin ligase Nedd4/Nedd4L is directly regulated by microRNA-1. Development 144, 866-875. (*Co-corresponding author, E-published on Mar. 1, 2017). PMID: 28246214. 

Comprehensive List of Published Work

News about the Han Lab

Lab led by Zhe Han, Ph.D., receives $1.75 million from NIH

Supplement might help kidney disease

Studying fruit flies to better understand human kidneys

Fruit flies can model human genetic kidney disease

Key to genetic influence of APOL1 on chronic kidney disease

Studying congenital heart disease in fruit flies