Charleen Chu, MD, PhD

  • A. Julio Martinez Chair, Neuropathology
  • Director, Ophthalmic Pathology
  • Co-Director, Pathologist Investigator Residency Research Training Program
  • Professor of Pathology

    Education & Training

  • Graduate School – Duke University – PhD
  • Medical School – Duke University – MD
  • Residency/Fellowship – Duke University – Anatomic Pathology, Neuropathology, and Ophthalmic Pathology
  • Research Fellowship – Duke University – Neuro-Oncology
Research Grants

NIH Grants:  R01

Research Summary

The focus of my laboratory is understanding molecular mechanisms that contribute to neurodegeneration and neuroprotection, with an emphasis on signaling pathways and protein-protein, protein-organelle interactions in neurons. We utilize a combination of molecular biology, biochemistry/mass spectrometry, fixed and live cell imaging approaches as applied to primary neurons, iPSC and mouse models and human post-mortem brain tissues.

Representative Publications
  1. KZQ Wang*, E Steer*, PA Otero*, NW Bateman, MH Cheng, AL Scott, C Wu, I Bahar, YT Shih, YP Hsueh & CT Chu. (2018) PINK1 interacts with VCP/p97 and activates PKA to promote NSFL1C/p47 phosphorylation and dendritic arborization in neurons. eNeuro, in press.
  2. Chu CT. Mechanisms of selective autophagy and mitophagy: Implications for neurodegenerative diseases. Neurobiol Dis. 2018 Jul 17. pii: S0969-9961(18)30275-4. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2018.07.015. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PubMed PMID: 30030024.
  3. Verma M, Callio J, Otero PA, Sekler I, Wills ZP, Chu CT. Mitochondrial Calcium Dysregulation Contributes to Dendrite Degeneration Mediated by PD/LBD-Associated LRRK2 Mutants. J Neurosci. 2017 Nov 15;37(46):11151-11165. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3791-16.2017. Epub 2017 Oct 16. PubMed PMID: 29038245; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5688524.
  4. Das Banerjee T, Dagda RY, Dagda M, Chu CT, Rice M, Vazquez-Mayorga E, Dagda RK. PINK1 regulates mitochondrial trafficking in dendrites of cortical neurons through mitochondrial PKA. J Neurochem. 2017 Aug;142(4):545-559. doi: 10.1111/jnc.14083. Epub 2017 Jun 23. PubMed PMID: 28556983; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5554084.
  5. Gusdon AM, Callio J, Distefano G, O'Doherty RM, Goodpaster BH, Coen PM, Chu CT. Exercise increases mitochondrial complex I activity and DRP1 expression in the brains of aged mice. Exp Gerontol. 2017 Apr;90:1-13. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2017.01.013. Epub 2017 Jan 18. PubMed PMID: 28108329; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5346470.
  6. Di Maio R, Barrett PJ, Hoffman EK, Barrett CW, Zharikov A, Borah A, Hu X, McCoy J, Chu CT, Burton EA, Hastings TG, Greenamyre JT. α-Synuclein binds to TOM20 and inhibits mitochondrial protein import in Parkinson's disease. Sci Transl Med. 2016 Jun 8;8(342):342ra78. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf3634. PubMed PMID: 27280685; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5016095.
  7. KZQ Wang, J Zhu, RK Dagda, G Uechi, SJ Cherra III, AM Gusdon, M Balasubramani & CT Chu. (2014) ERK-mediated phosphorylation of TFAM downregulates mitochondrial transcription. Mitochondrion, 17: 132-140. PMC4134365
  8. CT Chu, J Ji, RK Dagda, JF Jiang, YY Tyurina, AA Kapralov, VA Tyurin, N Yanamala, IH Shrivastava, D Mohammadyani, KZQ Wang, J Zhu, J Klein-Seetharaman, K Balasubramanian, AA Amoscato, G Borisenko, Z Huang, AM Gusdon, A Cheikhi, EK Steer, R Wang, C Baty, S Watkins, I Bahar, H Bayır & VE Kagan (2013) Cardiolipin externalization to the outer mitochondrial membrane acts as an elimination signal for mitophagy in neuronal cells. Nature Cell Biol 15:1197-1205. PMC3806088. F1000 Cell Biology, Neuroscience and Microbiology Recommended.