Dr. Huang studies the origin and development of Alzheimer’s disease, focusing on the pathological role of apolipoprotein E4 (apoE4)—the major genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s. With mice modified to replicate Alzheimer's, Dr. Huang showed that apoE4 is broken down into fragments that contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. He is also interested in identifying strategies to treat or prevent Alzheimer’s. Recently, his lab used induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells—adult cells made to act like embryonic stem cells—made from skin cells of patients carrying apoE4, or other mutations related to Alzheimer’s, to study their effects on the development, survival, and degeneration of human neurons. These patient- and disease-specific human iPS cells are being used in different drug-discovery and development projects for Alzheimer’s. Dr. Huang has published more than 70 scientific papers in the field of apoE and Alzheimer’s disease research and drug discovery.
In 1995, Dr. Huang joined the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease as a postdoctoral fellow and in 1999 became a Staff Research Investigator. In 2005, Dr. Huang was promoted to Assistant Investigator, in 2009, to Associate Investigator, and in 2015, to Senior Investigator. Dr. Huang also has an appointment in UCSF’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and is a member of several scientific and professional societies, including the Society for Neuroscience and the Alzheimer’s Association. He has served as referee for several government and private grant agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the American Federation for Aging Research. He also serves as a reviewer for numerous scientific journals.
Dr. Huang earned an MD from Qingdao Medical University in China in 1985 and a PhD in biochemistry and pathology from Peking Union Medical College and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing in 1991. He then trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the Arteriosclerosis Research Institute at the University of Muenster, Germany.