Zerui Wang, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Pathology
Center for Global Health & Diseases
School of Medicine

My research mainly focuses on understanding of misfolded proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases including prion disease, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson disease (AD). My technical expertise involves a wide range of approaches including protein chemistry, protein purification, cellular and molecular biology, absorption and other spectroscopies, and protein-protein interaction methods. My scientific contributions also include 1) Developing skin biomarkers for diagnoses of prion diseases, PD and AD using ultrasensitive RT-QuIC and sPMCA assays, 2) Further optimizing the technical and experimental conditions for PMCA and RT-QuIC assays, 3) Early detection of prion diseases at pre-clinical stage by RT-QuIC and sPMCA, 4) Investigation of the possible route of CWD to humans, 5) Generation of infectious PrPSc from normal PrPC of different species in vitro by ultrasensitive amplification assay, and 6) Investigating different glycoforms of mutant PrPSc form in vitro.

Research Information

Research Projects

Investigating Early Biomarkers in Peripheral Tissues and Biofluids for Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease; Exploring therapeutic target for Prion diseases.

Recent Funding

CJD Foundation; U01; R01; MJFF


  1. Wang Z, Becker K, Donadio V, Siedlak S, Yuan J, Rezaee M, Incensi A, Kuzkina A, Orrú CD, Tatsuoka C, Liguori R, Gunzler SA, Caughey B, Jimenez-Capdeville ME, Zhu X, Doppler K, Cui L, Chen SG, Ma J, Zou WQ. Skin α-Synuclein Aggregation Seeding Activity as a Novel Biomarker for Parkinson Disease. JAMA Neurol. 2020 Sep 28;78(1):1–11. Highlighted in Nat Med 26:1677(2020).
  2. Wang Z, Manca M, Foutz A, Camacho MV, Raymond GJ, Race B, Orru CD, Yuan J, Shen P, Li B, Lang Y, Dang J, Adornato A, Williams K, Maurer NR, Gambetti P, Xu B, Surewicz W, Petersen RB, Dong X, Appleby BS, Caughey B, Cui L, Kong Q, Zou WQ. Early preclinical detection of prions in the skin of prion-infected animals. Nat Commun. 2019 Jan 16;10(1):247.
  3. Wang Z, Qin K, Camacho MV, Cali I, Yuan J, Shen P, Greenlee J, Kong Q, Mastrianni JA, Zou WQ. Generation of human chronic wasting disease in transgenic mice. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2021 Sep 26;9(1):158. 
  4. Wang Z, Jue Yuan, Pingping Shen, Abskharon R, Lang Y, Dang J, Adornato A, Xu L, Chen J, Feng J, Moudjou M, Kitamoto T, Lee HG, Kim YS, Langeveld J, Appleby B, Ma J, Kong Q, Petersen RB, Zou WQ, Cui L.  In Vitro Seeding Activity of Glycoform-Deficient Prions from Variably Protease-Sensitive Prionopathy and Familial CJD Associated with PrPV180I Mutation. Mol Neurobiol. 2019 Aug;56(8):5456-5469.
  5. Donadio V*, Wang Z*, ncensi A, Rizzo G, Fileccia E, Vacchiano V, Capellari S, Magnani M, Scaglione C, Stanzani Maserati M, Avoni P, Liguori R, Zou WQ. In vivo diagnosis of Synucleinopathies: A comparative study of Skin Biopsy and RT-QuIC. Neurology. 2021 May 18;96(20):e2513-e2524. Co-first author*
  6. Liguori R*, Donadio V*, Wang Z*, Incensi A, Rizzo G, Antelmi E, Biscarini F, Pizza F, Zou WQ, Plazzi G. A comparative blind study between skin biopsy and seed amplification assay to disclose pathological α-synuclein in RBD. npj Parkinson’s disease 2023 Jan 11. Co-first author*
  7. Wu L*, Wang Z*, Lad S, Gilyazova N, Dougharty DT, Marcus M, Henderson F, Ray WK, Siedlak S, Li J, Helm RF, Zhu X, Bloom GS, Wang SJ, Zou WQ, Xu B. Selective Detection of Misfolded Tau From Postmortem Alzheimer's Disease Brains. Front Aging Neurosci. 2022 Jul 20;14:945875. Co-first author*
  8. LoPiccolo  MK*, Wang Z*., et al. Skin α-synuclein seeding activity in adult patients with Gaucher disease type-1. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 138(2):107216 Co-first author*
  9. Xiao X*, Shen P*, Wang Z*, Dang J, Adornato A, Zou LS, Dong Z, Yuan J, Feng J, Cui L, Zou WQ. Characterization of physiochemical properties of caveolin-1 from normal and prion-infected human brains. Oncotarget. 2017 Jul 21;8(33):53888-53898. Co-first author*
  10. Shen P*, Dang J*, Wang Z*, Zhang W, Yuan J, Lang Y, Ding M, Mitchell M, Kong Q, Feng J, Rozemuller AJM, Cui L, Petersen RB, Zou WQ. Characterization of Anchorless Human PrP With Q227X Stop Mutation Linked to Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker Syndrome In Vivo and In Vitro. Mol Neurobiol. 2021 Jan;58(1):21-33. PMID: 32889654. Co-first author*
  11. Orrú CD, Yuan J, Appleby BS, Li B, Li Y, Winner D, Wang Z, Zhan YA, Rodgers M, Rarick J, Wyza RE, Joshi T, Wang GX, Cohen ML, Zhang S, Groveman BR, Petersen RB, Ironside JW, Quiñones-Mateu ME, Safar JG, Kong Q, Caughey B, Zou WQ. Prion seeding activity and infectivity in skin samples from patients with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Sci Transl Med. 2017 Nov 22;9(417):eaam7785
  12. Bargar C, Wang W, Gunzler SA, LeFevre A, Wang Z, Lerner AJ, Singh N, Tatsuoka C, Appleby B, Zhu X, Xu R, Haroutunian V, Zou WQ, Ma J, Chen SG. Streamlined alpha-synuclein RT-QuIC assay for various biospecimens in Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2021 Apr 7;9(1):62.
  13. Zhan YA, Abskharon R, Li Y, Yuan J, Zeng L, Dang J, Martinez MC, Wang Z, Mikol J, Lehmann S, Bu S, Steyaert J, Cui L, Petersen RB, Kong Q, Wang GX, Wohlkonig A, Zou WQ. Quiescin-sulfhydryl oxidase inhibits prion formation in vitro. Aging (Albany NY). 2016 Dec 11;8(12):3419-3429.
  14. Abskharon R, Dang J, Elfarash A, Wang Z, Shen P, Zou LS, Hassan S, Wang F, Fujioka H, Steyaert J, Mulaj M, Surewicz WK, Castilla J, Wohlkonig A, Zou WQ. Soluble polymorphic bank vole prion proteins induced by co-expression of quiescin sulfhydryl oxidase in E. coli and their aggregation behaviors. Microb Cell Fact. 2017 Oct 4;16(1):170.