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Dr Lan Zhu

Job: Senior Lecturer (VC2020) in Biomedical and Medical Science

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Allied Health Sciences

Research group(s): Pharmacology and Neuroscience Research Group

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 2577375



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Personal profile

Lan Zhu studied Medicine in Wuhan, China and went on to teach Physiology for a couple of years in the same Medical School. To further develop her interest in neuroscience she went to study for her PhD in Neuroscience in Turin, Italy upon receiving an international PhD studentship. After her PhD, she has been working at University of Turin, Italy, University of Leicester, and King’s College London as a postdoctoral researcher. 

She joined DMU in February 2015 as a Lecturer in Biomedical and Medical Science. Her main research interests are the neuronal mechanisms in physiological and pathological processes. She has been studying the brain cellular and molecular mechanisms for the learning and memory, e.g. neuronal/synaptic plasticity, for many years and then ion channel mechanisms particularly potassium channel mechanisms in peripheral neuropathic pain in the recent years.

She also has a passion in the translational research which led her to lead and complete a project with a group of neuroscientists, engineers and urologists.

She is currently interested in combining neurophysiology with neuropsychiatry and trying to understand the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders. Her current research is looking at the regulation of some neuronal functional key players such as potassium channels and glutamate receptors and the underlying mechanisms in the brain of a pharmacological animal model of schizophrenia. She is collaborating with neuroscientists from DMU and University of Leicester.

The research techniques employed in her research include whole cell patch clamp recording, in vivo extracellular recording, ex vivo intracellular recording, cell/tissue culture, confocal imaging, immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, behaviour analysis, surgery, tissue preparation.

Publications and outputs

Click here to view a full listing of Dr Lan Zhu's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

  • Physiology of potassium channels particularly voltage-gated potassium channels
  • Regulation of voltage-gated potassium channels and its mechanisms in the cerebellum in schizophrenia
  • Regulation of NMDA receptors and its mechanisms in the cerebellum in schizophrenia
  • Relationships among dopamine hypothesis, NMDA receptor hypofunction hypothesis, and Kv channels dysregulation in schizophrenia
  • Cerebellar mechanisms in schizophrenia
  • Neuropathic pain ion channel mechanisms particularly potassium channels
  • Translational bioengineering e.g. bladder functional recovery after spinal cord injury
  • Neuronal mechanisms including neuronal excitability, synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity of learning and memory
  • Pharmacology of glutamatergic receptors, e.g. AMPAR, NMDAR, mGluR and their involvement in synaptic plasticity underlying learning and memory

Areas of teaching

  • Nervous system
  • Histopathology and Cytopathology
  • Basic anatomy and physiology
  • Organ systems physiology


  • Bachelor of Medicine
  • PhD in Neuroscience
  • PGCert in Higher Education

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • British Neuroscience Association (BNA)
  • Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS)
  • International Brain Research Organisation (IBRO)
  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy

Professional licences and certificates

  • Certificate of Home Office Procedure Individual Licence
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education
  • Certificate in Research Supervision


  • Regulation of potassium channels and its underlying mechanisms in the brain of a schzophrenia animal model
  • Regulation of a glutamate receptor and its underlying mechanisms in the cerebellum of a schizophrenia animal model
  • Regulation of a calcium binding protein and its underlying mechanisms in the cerebellum of a schizophrenia animal model

Current research students

  • Mr Lukasz Lagojda (First supervisor) 
  • Miss Rubab Talpur (Second supervisor)


Internally funded research project information

  • De Montfort University Research Investment Fund (Principle Investigator, 1/8/2015 - 31/07/2016). Collaborator: Prof Ian Forsythe from University of Leicester.
  • De Montfort Unviersity Full Bursary PhD studentship (1st supervisor, 1/10/2016 - 30/09/2019)

Research project for potential international students

Schizophrenia is a disabling psychiatric disorder affecting more than 1% of global population. The NMDAR (N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor) hypofunction hypothesis is one of the pathogenesis hypotheses for schizophrenia. Voltage-gated potassium channels (Kv) exert intricate control over electrophysiological properties of neurons; hence contributing to the information processing and behaviour adaptation of the brain. The cerebellum is a region of the brain that is well known for its role in motor control. Recent research proves its involvement in cognitive functions. Recently, the concept of involvement of the cerebellum in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia is gaining momentum, exemplified in the structural and functional alterations in the cerebellum in people with schizophrenia.

The projects are designed to investigate the regulation of particular types of Kv channels and NMDAR in the brain particularly the cerebellum and its underlying mechanisms in a schizophrenia animal model.