Chenji Zhou, Ph.D.

Professor In-Residence
602B Shriners Hospital
Sacramento Campus
Ph: 916-453-2268
Lab Website

Research Interests

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.

Graduate Group Affiliations

Garland MA, Sun B, Zhang S, Reynolds K, Ji Y, Zhou CJ. “Role of epigenetics and miRNAs in orofacial clefts”. Birth Defects Res. 2020 Nov;112(19):1635-1659. doi: 10.1002/bdr2.1802. Epub 2020 Sep 14. PMID: 32926553; PMCID: PMC7924905.

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”. Birth Defects Res. 2020 Nov;112(19):1558-1587. doi: 10.1002/bdr2.1768. Epub 2020 Jul 29. PMID: 32725806; PMCID: PMC7901717.

Reynolds K, Zhang S, Sun B, Garland MA, Ji Y, Zhou CJ. “Genetics and signaling mechanisms of orofacial clefts”. Birth Defects Res. 2020 Nov;112(19):1588-1634. doi: 10.1002/bdr2.1754. Epub 2020 Jul 15. PMID: 32666711; PMCID: PMC7883771.

Zhou CJ, Ji Y, Reynolds K, McMahon M, Garland MA, Zhang S, Sun B, Gu R, Islam M, Liu Y, Zhao T, Hsu G, Iwasa J. “Non-neural surface ectodermal rosette formation and F-actin dynamics drive mammalian neural tube closure”. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2020 Jun 4;526(3):647-653. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2020.03.138. Epub 2020 Apr 2. PMID: 32248972; PMCID: PMC7210071.

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. 2020 Sep;77(18):3597-3609. doi: 10.1007/s00018-019-03385-x. Epub 2019 Nov 22. Erratum in: Cell Mol Life Sci. 2021 Jul;78(14):5665-5666. PMID: 31758234; PMCID: PMC7242138.

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, Sepulveda Rincon L, Gu R, Ji Y, Kumar S, Zhou CJ. “Wnt signaling in orofacial clefts: crosstalk, pathogenesis and models”. Dis Model Mech. 2019 Feb 4;12(2):dmm037051. doi: 10.1242/dmm.037051. PMID: 30760477; PMCID: PMC6398499.

Fan H, Liu X, Shen Y, Chen S, Huan Y, Shan J, Zhou C, Wu S, Zhang Z, Wang Y. “In Vivo Genetic Strategies for the Specific Lineage Tracing of Stem Cells”. Curr Stem Cell Res Ther. 2019;14(3):230-238. doi: 10.2174/1574888X13666180726110138. PMID: 30047336.

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”. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018 Feb 19;496(4):1302-1307. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2018.02.004. Epub 2018 Feb 3. PMID: 29410176; PMCID: PMC5816694.

Wang Y, Zhou CJ, Liu Y. “Wnt Signaling in Kidney Development and Disease”. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2018 Jan;153:181-207. doi: 10.1016/bs.pmbts.2017.11.019. Epub 2017 Dec 30. PMID: 29389516; PMCID: PMC6008255.

Huang C, Chen Y, Liu H, Yang J, Song X, Zhao J, 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 Dec 14;8(70):115254-115269. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.23250. PMID: 29383157; PMCID: PMC5777769.

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 Differ. 2016 Oct;23(10):1602-14. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2016.47. Epub 2016 May 20. PMID: 27206316; PMCID: PMC5041189.

Wang Y, Stokes A, Duan Z, Hui J, Xu Y, Chen Y, Chen HW, Lam K, Zhou CJ. “LDL Receptor-Related Protein 6 Modulates Ret Proto-Oncogene Signaling in Renal Development and Cystic Dysplasia”. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2016 Feb;27(2):417-27. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2014100998. Epub 2015 Jun 5. PMID: 26047795; PMCID: PMC4731110.

Zhao T, Gan Q, Stokes A, Lassiter RN, Wang Y, Chan J, Han JX, Pleasure DE, Epstein JA, Zhou CJ. “β-catenin regulates Pax3 and Cdx2 for caudal neural tube closure and elongation”. Development. 2014 Jan;141(1):148-57. doi: 10.1242/dev.101550. Epub 2013 Nov 27. PMID: 24284205; PMCID: PMC3865756.

Gan Q, Lee A, Suzuki R, Yamagami T, Stokes A, Nguyen BC, 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(1):45-58. doi: 10.1002/stem.1561. PMID: 24115331; PMCID: PMC3963407.

Lassiter RN, Stark MR, Zhao T, Zhou CJ. “Signaling mechanisms controlling cranial placode neurogenesis and delamination”. Dev Biol. 2014 May 1;389(1):39-49. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2013.11.025. Epub 2013 Dec 3. PMID: 24315854; PMCID: PMC3972360.

Wang Y, Song L, Zhou CJ. “The canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway regulates Fgf signaling for early facial development”. Dev Biol. 2011 Jan 15;349(2):250-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.11.004. Epub 2010 Nov 9. PMID: 21070765.

He F, Xiong W, Wang Y, Li L, Liu C, Yamagami T, Taketo MM, Zhou C, Chen Y. “Epithelial Wnt/β-catenin signaling regulates palatal shelf fusion through regulation of Tgfβ3 expression”. Dev Biol. 2011 Feb 15;350(2):511-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.12.021. Epub 2010 Dec 23. PMID: 21185284; PMCID: PMC3040240.

Wang YZ, Yamagami T, Gan Q, Wang Y, Zhao T, Hamad S, Lott P, Schnittke N, Schwob JE, Zhou CJ. “Canonical Wnt signaling promotes the proliferation and neurogenesis of peripheral olfactory stem cells during postnatal development and adult regeneration”. J Cell Sci. 2011 May 1;124(Pt 9):1553-63. doi: 10.1242/jcs.080580. Epub 2011 Apr 12. PMID: 21486944; PMCID: PMC3078819.

  • CHA403, Neuroscience
  • UC Davis Health Research Award