Liqin Zhao, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, The University of Kansas-Lawrence

Ph.D., Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, China, 1999
Postdoctoral, Bejing Institute of Pharmacology & Toxicology, 1999-2002

Our research, focusing on brain aging and neurodegeneration (with an emphasis on Alzheimer's disease; AD), aims:

  • At the basic level, to understand the neurobiological effects of sex hormones and the molecular basis underlying sex differences in the risk of developing AD. Some particular areas of interest include: menopause/perimenopause, estrogen receptor beta, insulin/IGF signaling, insulin-degrading enzyme, energy metabolism, apolipoproteins, and gene expression and regulation.
  • At the translational level, to advance basic scientific findings into therapeutic development for prevention and early intervention of pathological brain aging and neurodegeneration. Some particular areas of focus include: non-hormonal alternative therapies, estrogen receptor beta modulators, phytochemicals, and lifestyles in modulation of aging health.

Selected Publications

*Zhao L, Mao Z, Chen S, Schneider LS, Brinton RD. (2013) Early Intervention with an Estrogen Receptor b-Selective Phytoestrogenic Formulation Prolongs Survival, Improves Spatial Recognition Memory, and Slows Progression of Amyloid Pathology in a Female Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease. J Alzheimer Dis 37(2):403-419.

*Zhao L, Morgan TE., Mao Z, Lin S, Cadenas E, Finch CE, Pike CJ, Mack WJ, Brinton RD. (2012) Continuous versus Cyclic Progesterone Exposure Differentially Regulates Hippocampal Gene Expression and Functional Profiles. PLoS ONE 7(2): e31267.

*Zhao L, Mao Z, Schneider, LS, Brinton RD. (2011) Estrogen Receptor b-Selective Phytoestrogenic Formulation Prevents Physical and Neurological Changes in a Preclinical Model of Human Menopause. Menopause 18(10):1131-1142.

Zhao L, Jin C, Ma Z, Gopinathan MB, Rehder K, Brinton, RD. (2007) Design, Synthesis, and Estrogenic Activity of a Novel Estrogen Receptor Modulator - A Hybrid Structure of 17b-Estradiol and Vitamin E in Hippocampal Neurons. J Med Chem 50(18):4471-4481.

Zhao L, O'Neill, K, Brinton, RD. (2006) Estrogenic Agonist Activity of ICI 182,780 in Hippocampal Neurons: Implications for Basic Science Understanding of Estrogen Signaling and Development of Estrogen Modulators with a Dual Therapeutic Profile. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 319(3):1124-1132.

Zhao L, O'Neill K, Brinton RD. (2005) Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs) for the Brain:  Current Status and Remaining Challenges for Developing NeuroSERMs. Brain Res Rev 49(3):472-493.

Zhao L, Wu T-W and Brinton RD. (2004) Estrogen Receptor Subtypes Alpha and Beta Contribute to Neuroprotection and Increased Bcl-2 Expression in Primary Hippocampal neurons. Brain Res. 1010(1-2):22-34.

Zhao L and Brinton RD. (2005) Structure-Based Virtual Screening for Plant-Based ERβ-selective Ligans as Potential Preventative Therapies Against Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases. J Med Chem. 48(10):3463-3466.

Zhao L and Brinton RD. (2006) Select Estrogens within the Complex Formulation of Conjugated Equine Estrogens (Premarin) Are Protective Against Neurodegenerative Insults: Implications for a Composition of Estrogen Therapy to Promote Neuronal Function and Prevent Alzheimer's Disease. BMC Neurosci. 7:24(1-13).

Zhao L and Brinton Rd. (2006) Estrogen Receptor β as a Therapeutic Target for Promotion of Neurogenesis and Prevention of Neurodegeneration. Drug Dev Res. 66(2):103-117.

Zhao L and Brinton RD. (2007) Estrogen Receptor α and β Differentially Regulate Intracellular Ca²+ Dynamics Leading to ERK Phosphorylation and Estrogen Neuroprotection in Hippocampal Neurons. Brain Res. 1172:48-59.

Last modified: May 19, 2014


Liqin Zhao, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor