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Kevin Zhang

MSTP Student, Kevin Zhang, Has Research Published in Nature!

While pursuing his PhD in Molecular & Developmental Biology, Kevin Zhang and his PI, Richard Lang, PhD, led a multi-institutional team of scientists in a discovery that has potentially far-ranging impact!   

The team discovered sunlight’s potential connection to metabolism! More specifically, they found that certain brain neurons that express the protein Opsin 5, can detect specific wavelengths of violet light from the sun. Those neurons then send signals throughout the body, which can influence metabolism. This discovery could potentially impact treatment for metabolic disorders, lifestyle choices that women make during pregnancy, and preterm infant care in hospitals. In the future, this discovery could even revolutionize indoor lighting systems.

The exciting findings were recently published in Nature, including contributions from other UC MSTP students (Kevin Gaitonde, Courtney Linne, and Brian Upton). 

To further explore the team’s findings, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is installing a custom, full-spectrum lighting system within their neonatal intensive care unit.

Learn more about the discovery.

Read the full article in Nature.
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