Chenji Zhou, Ph.D.
602B Shriners Hospital
Sacramento Campus
Ph: 916-453-2268

The Zhou lab studies morphogenetic signaling in neural development and regeneration. They are primarily interested in tissue/organ morphogenesis that is regulated by several inductive factors such as Wnts. Incorrect activity and timing of morphogenetic signaling during development frequently result in embryonic death or severe birth defects.

Currently the Zhou lab is investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms of several common developmental disorders and their prevention strategies using Wnt signaling mutants as the research model. They are also investigating the role of Wnt signaling in neural stem cells and related regeneration process to enhance their therapeutic potential for patients with related genetic diseases, brain tumors, and injured nerve tissues.

For more information, please visit the Zhou lab websites at:

Garland MA, Sun B, Zhang S, Reynolds K, Ji Y, Zhou CJ. Role of epigenetics and miRNAs in orofacial clefts. Birth Defects Research (in press). 2020

Ji Y, Garland MA, Sun B, Zhang S, Reynolds K, McMahon M, Rajakumar R, Islam MS, Liu Y, Chen Y, Zhou CJ. Cellular and developmental basis of orofacial clefts [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jul 29]. Birth Defects Res. 2020;10.1002/bdr2.1768. doi:10.1002/bdr2.1768

Reynolds K, Zhang S, Sun B, Garland MA, Ji Y, Zhou CJ. Genetics and signaling mechanisms of orofacial clefts [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jul 15]. Birth Defects Res. 2020;10.1002/bdr2.1754. doi:10.1002/bdr2.1754

Zhou, C., Ji, Y., Reynolds, K., McMahon, M., Garland, M.A., Zhang, S., Sun, B., Gu, R., Islam, M., Liu, Y., Zhao, T., Hsu, G.I., & Iwasa, J.H. (2020). Non-neural surface ectodermal rosette formation and F-actin dynamics drive mammalian neural tube closure. Biochemical and biophysical research communications.

Wang YZ, Fan H, Ji Y, Reynolds K, Gu R, Gan Q, Yamagami T, Zhao T, Hamad S, Bizen N, Takebayashi H, Chen Y, Wu S, Pleasure D, Lam K, Zhou CJ. Olig2 regulates terminal differentiation and maturation of peripheral olfactory sensory neurons. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 77, 3597–3609 (2020).

Ji Y, Hao H, Reynolds K, McMahon M, Zhou CJ. Wnt Signaling in Neural Crest Ontogenesis and Oncogenesis. Cells. 2019 Sep 29;8(10):1173. doi: 10.3390/cells8101173. PMID: 31569501; PMCID: PMC6829301.

Kumar S, Reynolds K, Ji Y, Gu R, Rai S, Zhou CJ. Impaired neurodevelopmental pathways in autism spectrum disorder: a review of signaling mechanisms and crosstalk. J Neurodev Disord. 2019 Jun 15;11(1):10. doi: 10.1186/s11689-019-9268-y. PMID: 31202261; PMCID: PMC6571119.

Reynolds K, Kumari P, Rincon L, Gu R, Ji Y, Kumar S, Zhou CJ. Wnt signaling in orofacial clefts: crosstalk, pathogenesis and models. Disease Models & Mechanisms. 2019 Feb;12(2). DOI: 10.1242/dmm.037051.

Fan, H., Liu, X., Shen, Y., Chen, S., Huan, Y., Shan, J., Zhou, C., Wu, S., Zhang, Z., & Wang, Y. (2019). In Vivo Genetic Strategies for the Specific Lineage Tracing of Stem Cells. Current stem cell research & therapy, 14(3), 230–238.

Yamagami T, Pleasure DE, Lam KS, Zhou CJ. Transient activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling reporter in fibrotic scar formation after compression spinal cord injury in adult mice. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2018 496:1302-1307.

Wang Y, Zhou CJ, Liu Y. Wnt signaling in kidney development and disease. Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science 2018 153:181-207. DOI: 10.1016/bs.pmbts.2017.11.019

Huang C, Chen Y, Liu H, Jing Yang, Song X, Zhao J, Na He N, Zhou CJ, Wang Y, Huang C, Dong Q. Celecoxib targets breast cancer stem cells by inhibiting the synthesis of prostaglandin E2 and down-regulating the Wnt pathway activity. Oncotarget 2017 8:115254-115269. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.23250

Dong Z, Huang M, Liu Z, Xie P, Dong Y, Wu X, Qu Z, Shen B, Huang X, Zhang T, Li J, Liu J, Yanase T, Zhou C, Xu Y. Focused screening of mitochondrial metabolism reveals a crucial role for a tumor suppressor Hbp1 in ovarian reserve. Cell Death and Differentiation, 2016 Oct;23(10):1602-14. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2016.47. [Epub ahead of print]

Wang Y, Stokes A, Duan Z, Hui J, Xu Y, Chen YP, Chen HW, Lam K, Zhou CJ. Lrp6 modulates Ret signaling in renal development and cystic dysplasia. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2016 Feb;27:417-427. DOI: 10.1681/ASN.2014100998

Zhao T*, Gan Q*, Stokes A, Lassiter RN, Wang YP, Chan J, Han J, Pleasure DE, Epstein JA, Zhou CJ. Beta-catenin regulates Pax3 and Cdx2 for caudal neural tube closure and elongation. Development, 2014 Jan;141:148-157. DOI: 10.1242/dev.101550

Gan Q*, Lee A*, Suzuki R*, Yamagami T, Stokes A, Nguyen B, Pleasure D, Wang J, Chen HW, Zhou CJ. Pax6 mediates ß-catenin signaling for self-renewal and neurogenesis by neocortical radial glial stem cells. Stem Cells, 2014 Jan;32:45-58. DOI: 10.1002/stem.1561

Lassiter RN, Stark MR, Zhao T, Zhou CJ. Signaling mechanisms controlling cranial placode neurogenesis and delamination. Developmental Biology, 2014 May 1;389:39-49. DOI: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2013.11.025

Wang Y, Song L, Zhou CJ. The canonical Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway regulates Fgf signaling for early facial development. Developmental Biology, 2011 Jan 15;349:250-260.

He F, Xiong W, Wang Y, Li L, Liu C, Yamagami T, Taketo MM, Zhou CJ, Chen Y. Epithelial Wnt/ß-catenin signaling regulates palatal shelf fusion through regulation of Tgfß3 expression. Developmental Biology, 2011 Feb 15;350:511-519. (Collaborative contribution to the Chen Lab's revision experiment)

Wang YZ, Yamagami T, Gan Q, Wang Y, Zhao T, Hamad S, Lott P, Schnittke N, Schwob JE, Zhou CJ. Canonical Wnt signaling promotes proliferation and neurogenesis of peripheral olfactory stem cells during postnatal development and adult regeneration. Journal of Cell Science. 2011 May 1;124:1553-1563. (journal cover)

  • CHA403, Neuroscience
  • UC Davis Health Research Award
  • Shriners Hospitals for Children
  • UC Davis Children’s Miracle Network
  • American Cancer Society
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • National Institutes of Health