Welcome to Zou Lab

Our nervous system is made of many types of neurons wired into complex circuits, which underlie all our behavior. The Zou lab studies the fundamental molecular signaling and cellular mechanisms of axon guidance and synapse formation and how disruption of these normal processes may lead to developmental disorders, such as autism. We also study how neural circuits respond to and recover from traumatic injury, in the hope to promote their repair and return of function.

Latest News

New icon May, 2016:

Edmund Hollis 2nd, Nao Ishiko, Ting Yu , Chin-Chun Lu, Ariela Haimovich, Kristine Tolentino, Alisha Richman, Anna Tury, Shih-Hsiu Wang, Maysam Pessian, Euna Jo, Alex Kolodkin and Yimin Zou. Ryk controls remapping of motor cortex during functional recovery after spinal cord injury. Nature Neurosci. 2016 May;19(5):697-705

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New icon Apr 11, 2016:

Hollis et al showed that conditionally knocking out Ryk led to increased corticospinal axon plasticity and functional recovery. Motor cortex reorganized such that the hindlimb cortex controls the forelimb with continued forelimb reaching task training:

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Jan 19, 2015:

Hollis et al showed that reorganization of synaptic contacts can strengthen the spared circuits and lead to functional recovery after partial spinal cord injury. And blocking repulsive Wnt signalling increases axon plasticity and synaptic connections that drive greater functional recovery.

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Dec 23, 2014:

Hollis et al reported a more robust conditioning lesion model. Injection of a chemical demyelinating agent, ethidium bromide, into the sciatic nerve induces a similar set of regeneration-associated genes and promotes a 2.7-fold greater extent of sensory axon regeneration in the spinal cord than sciatic nerve crush. This study provides a new method for investigating the underlying mechanisms of the conditioning response and suggests that loss of the peripheral myelin maybe a major signal to change the intrinsic growth state of adult sensory neurons and promote regeneration.

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Dec 4, 2013:

Onishi et al published new findings on signaling mechanisms that mediates growth cone turning. Commissural axons engage planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling components to turn in a Wnt gradient. Frizzled3, a Wnt receptor, undergoes endocytosis via filopodia tips. Wnt5a increases Frizzled3 endocytosis, which correlates with filopodia elongation. He discovered an unexpected antagonism between Dishevelleds, which may function as a signal amplification mechanism in filopodia.

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