Winnie Shum    Assistant Professor, PI
InstituteSchool of Life Science and Technology
Research AreaEpididymal Function and Reproductive Physiology

Dr. Shum obtained her bachelor’s degree of Chemistry with first-class honor from Hong Kong Baptist University in 1998. She then obtained her PhD degree trained in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Jones at the Department of Pharmacology of Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in 2001. During her PhD training, she was given the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fellowship. She then visited the laboratory of Dr. Alison Gurney at the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology of Strathclyde University in the UK as a visiting fellow for her training in electrophysiology in 2002. In 2003, she continued her post-doctoral training in Dr. Patrick Wong’s lab at the Department of Physiology of CUHK and Dr. Sylvie Breton’s lab in the Program in Membrane Biology, Center of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Since then, Dr. Shum has been studying the epididymal function in reproductive health. During her time at MGH, she was given the “Fund for Medical Discovery Award” in 2008 and “Martin Research Prize for Excellence in Basic Research” in 2009, and was promoted to the position of Instructor in 2009. In Nov. 2013, Dr. Shum joined ShanghaiTech University as an Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator, and in the same year she obtained the Shanghai Dawn Scholar Award. In March 2017, she was appointed as Distinguished Research Fellow of the CAS Center for Excellence in Molecular Cell Science.

Research Interests
Dr. Shum’s research in reproductive biology focuses on the epididymal function in sperm maturation and male fertility, and the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms. Spermatozoa are infertile when released from testis and yet become functionally competent during epididymal transit. Epididymis is thus essential for sperm maturation and male fertility and important for the health of offspring through the epigenetic transgeneration inheritance. The epididymal function is mainly carried out by the layer of epithelial cells that lines in the luminal cavity of the organ, in which spermatozoa transit and mature in a protected microenvironment. Epididymal epithelial cells are the front line for the establishment of the epididymal-blood barrier that separates the luminal spermatozoa from the body contents. Defects in epididymal function are associated with poor sperm quality, male infertility, and some non-communicable chronic diseases (e.g diabetes and obesity) inherited by the subsequent generations. The ultimate goal of the Shum Lab is to elucidate the epididymal functions and mechanisms, especially the molecular mechanisms of epididymal epithelial cells in sperm maturation and paternal factors related reproductive physiology and disease, and to provide theoretical support and new insights for better understanding of reproductive biology and the development of medical therapies.

The research goals of the Shum Lab are 1) to elucidate the intercellular and inter-system mechanisms of epididymal function and 2) to understand the biopotentials that regulates epithelial cellular activities and functions at the molecular and subcellular levels and in spatial-temporal dimensions, and the risk implications when such network is dysregulated in diseases, using a multidisciplinary technologies including electrophysiology and systems biology research methods. Currently, the lab focuses on how non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are regulating gene expression and how ncRNAs are regulated in the epididymal function, particularly the influence of postnatal development of epididymis on the reproductive function of later life and even the health of the subsequent generations. The Shum lab is also interested in understanding the bioelectrical signaling network that regulates epithelial cellular activities and functions like secretions and barrier integrity maintenance, and the risk implications when such network is dysregulated in diseases. To achieve this goal, the lab focuses on the roles of membrane receptors, including ion channels (e.g. electrical coupling of TRPV6 and TMEM16A) and transporters and pumps, in specific epithelial cell types (e.g. basal cells, clear cells and principal cells in the epididymis) and in the intercellular communication network (e.g. autocrine and paracrine) and the inter-system communication network (e.g. endocrine) that influence epithelial health.

Selected Publications
1.Zhang BL, Gao DY, Zhang XX, Shi S, Shum WW*. Whole-cell patch-clamp recording of single primary epididymal epithelial cells. ( JoVE. 2017. *Corresponding author.

2.Gao DY, Zhang BL, Leung MCT, Au SCL, Wong PYD, Shum WW*. Coupling of TRPV6 and TMEM16A in the epididymal principal cells of the rat epididymis. J Gen Physiol. 2016. *Corresponding author.

3.Zi ZZ, Zhang ZZ, Q Li, An WW, L Zeng, Gao DY, Yang Y, Zhu X, Zeng R, Shum WW*, Wu JR*. CCNYL1, but Not CCNY, cooperates with CDK16 to regulate spermatogenesis in mouse. PLoS Genet. 2015. *Co-Corresponding author.

4. Shum WW, Smith TB, Cortez-Retamozo V, Roy JW, Hill E, Pittet MJ, Breton S, Da Silva N. Epithelial basal cells are distinct from dendritic cells and macrophages in the mouse epididymis. Biol. Reprod., 2014.

5. Shum WW*, Hill E, Brown D, Breton S. Plasticity of basal cells during postnatal development and androgen manipulations in the rat epididymis. Reproduction. 146: 455-469. 2013. *Corresponding author.

6. Shum WW, Ruan YC, Da Silva N, Breton, S. Establishment of cell-cell cross talk in the epididymis: control of luminal acidification. J Androl. 32: 576-586, 2011

7. Shum WW, Da Silva D, Belleannée C, Brown D, Breton S. Regulation of V-ATPase recycling via a RhoA- and ROCKII-dependent pathway in epididymal clear cells. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 301: C31-C43, 2011.

8. Shum WW, Da Silva N, Breton S. Regulations of luminal acidification in the male reproductive tract via cell-cell cross-talk. J. Exp. Biol., 2009; 212:1753-61. 

9. Shum WW, Da Silva N, MeKee M, Smith PJS, Brown D, Breton S. Transepithelial projections from basal cells are luminal sensors in pseudostratified epithelia. Cell, 2008; 135:1108-1117. 

10.Cheung KH, Leung GP, Leung MC, Shum WW, Zhou WL, Wong PY. Cell-cell interaction underlies formation of fluid in the male reproductive tract of the rat. J. Gen. Physiol., 2005; 125: 443-454.