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

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:

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)

Wang YZ, Plane JM, Jiang P, Zhou CJ, Deng W. Concise Review: Quiescent and active states of endogenous adult neural stem cells: identification and characterization. Stem Cells. 2011 Jun; 29(6): 907–912.

Guo F, Maeda Y, Ma J, Delgado M, Sohn J, Miers L, Ko EM, Bannerman, Xu J, Wang Y, Zhou CJ, Takebayashi H, Pleasure D. Macroglial plasticity and the origins of reactive astroglia in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitisJ Neurosci. 2011 Aug 17; 31(33): 11914–11928

Zhou CJ, Wang YZ, Yamagami T, Zhao T, Song L, Wang K. Generation of Lrp6 conditional gene-targeting mouse line for modeling and dissecting multiple birth defects/congenital anomalies. Developmental Dynamics. 2010 Jan;239(1):318-26.

Song L, Li Y, Wang K, Zhou CJ. Cardiac neural crest and outflow tract defects in Lrp6 mutant mice. Developmental Dynamics. 2010 Jan;239(1):200-10.

Song L, Li Y, Wang K, Wang YZ, Molotkov A, Gao L, Zhao T, Yamagami T, Wang Y, Gan Q, Pleasure DE, Zhou CJ. Lrp6-mediated canonical Wnt signaling is required for lip formation and fusion. Development. 2009 136:3161-3171.

Yamagami T, Molotkov A, Zhou CJ. Canonical Wnt signaling activity during synovial joint development. Journal of Molecular Histology. 2009 40:311-316.

Zhou CJ, Molotkov A, Song L, Li Y, Pleasure DE, Pleasure SJ, Wang YZ. Ocular coloboma and dorsoventral neuroretinal patterning defects in Lrp6 mutant eyes. Developmental Dynamics. 2008 Dec;237:3681-3689.

Wang YZ, Molotkov A, Song L, Li Y, Pleasure DE, Zhou CJ. Activation of the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling reporter in developing mouse olfactory nerve layer marks a specialized subgroup of olfactory ensheathing cells. Developmental Dynamics. 2008 Nov;237:3157-3168.

  • 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