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Department of Dermatology

Department of Dermatology

Dr. Zhao Research Lab

Min Zhao, M.D., Ph.D.


Dr Zhao

Dermatology & Ophthalmology Research
Institute for Regenerative Cures
School of Medicine, UC Davis
2921 Stockton Blvd, Suite 1600
Sacramento, CA 95817
Tel: 916-703-9381 
Fax: 916-703-9384 




Dr. Min Zhao is a professor of dermatology at the UC Davis School of Medicine. He is also an honorary professor at the University of Aberdeen, Cardiff University and a guest professor at the 3rd Military Medical University, China.

Wonderful as are the laws and phenomena of electricity when made evident to us in inorganic or dead matter, their interest can bear scarcely any comparison with that which attaches to the same force when connected with the nervous system and with life.

                 Michael Faraday 1839

Dr. Zhao graduated from the 3rd Military Medical University in Chongqing, China. After completion of Ph.D. training under the supervision of Professor Zhengguo Wang, he joined Professor Geoff Burnstock at University College, London. He then moved to the University of Aberdeen as a research fellow to work with Professors Colin McCaig and John Forrester. At Aberdeen he won a Wellcome Trust University Award Lectureship, in 2004 he was promoted to Professor/Personal Chair in Biomedical Science and Regenerative Medicine. His group discovered that PI3 kinase/Pten molecules are key elements in the electric signaling (Nature 2006; 442, 457-460). In 2007, he moved to UC Davis and is currently a Professor of Dermatology and Ophthalmology.


Lab Members

Dr Zhao Research Lab Team 


Dr Zhao 

Min Zhao, M.D., Ph.D. 
Research interests: Control of directed cell motility and directed cell division, the role played by small physiological electrical fields in wound healing, the development and regeneration of many tissues.

Address: 2921 Stockton Blvd, Suite 1600
Sacramento, CA 95817
Phone: 916-703-9381

Yaho-Hui Sun 

Yao-Hui Sun, Ph.D. 
Dr. Sun is interested in the molecular mechanisms of electric field (EF) effects on cell polarization, cell migration and tissue regeneration. He uses combined genetic, bio-physical and bio-chemical approaches, and RNAi technology. He is currently using high throughput screening methods, developed in the lab, to understand how cells sense applied EFs. He is also working on the role of PI3K and PTEN signaling in cell migration in a 3D culture model.

Tel: 916-703-9383

Brian Reid 

Brian Reid, Ph.D.
Brian Reid graduated from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland with a BSc in Microbiology. He then went on complete a PhD studying electrotaxis of zoosporic fungi. Following his PhD, he worked on vesicle recycling in retinal bipolar cells at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England and later worked on the specificity of nerve-muscle interaction with Dr. Guy Bewick. He joined the laboratory of Min Zhao in 2001. Brian’s projects include:

  1. Electric fields and wound healing in human and rat cornea.
  2. Role of electric fields and ion flux in Xenopus frog tadpole tail regeneration.
  3. Wound healing in primate airway epithelium.
  4. Electrical activity in brain after traumatic injury.
  5. Feather bud development.

Tel: 916-703-9382


Zhiqiang Zhao, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Project Scientist


Taeck Joong Jeong, Ph.D.
Visiting Professor, Chosun University


Francis Lin, Ph.D.
Visiting Professor, University of Manitoba


Kenichi Nakajima, Ph.D.


Trisha Pfluger
Graduate Student Researcher

Address: Tupper Hall, Room 1228, Davis, CA
Phone: 530-752-4327


Fernando da Silva Ferreira
Junior Specialist


Kan Zhu
Junior Specialist


Yunyun Shen
Junior Specialist


Yan Zhang
Visiting Graduate Student




Zhao Lab - Electric fields, regeneration and wound healing 

Our research is aimed toward improving wound healing and regeneration of damaged or diseased tissues.

Our current work focuses on:

  1. The role naturally occurring electric fields or electric currents in wound healing and tissue regeneration.
  2. Development of therapies to electrically stimulate and direct wound healing and tissue regeneration.
  3. Targeting stem cell migration.



  1. Gao R, Zhao S, Jiang X, Sun S, Zhao S, Gao J, Borleis J, Willard S, Tang M, Cai H, Kamimura Y, Huang Y, Jiang Y, Huang Z, Mogilner A, Pan T, Devreotes PN, Zhao M. A large scale screen reveals genes that mediate electrotaxis in Dictyostelium discoideum. Science Signaling. 2015. epub: May 26, 2015.    

  2.  Gao J, Raghunathan VK, Reid B, Wei D, Diaz RC, Russell P, Murphy CJ, Zhao M. Biomimetic stochastic topography and electric fields synergistically enhance directional migration of corneal epithelial cells in a MMP-3-dependent manner. Acta Biomater. 2015 Jan;12:102-12.

  3. Luxardi G, Reid B, Maillard P, Zhao M. Single cell wound generates electric current circuit and cell membrane potential variations that requires calcium influx. Integr Biol (Camb). 2014 Jul 24;6(7):662-72. doi: 10.1039/c4ib00041b. Epub 2014 May 7. PMID: 24801267

  4. Cao L, McCaig CD, Scott RH, Zhao S, Milne G, Clevers H, Zhao M, Pu J. Polarizing intestinal epithelial cells electrically through Ror2. J Cell Sci. 2014 Aug 1;127(Pt 15):3233-9. doi: 10.1242/jcs.146357. Epub 2014 Jun 13. PMID: 24928904

  5. Fujita M, Zhu K, Fujita CK, Zhao M, Lam KS, Kurth MJ, Takada YK, Takada Y. Pro-inflammatory sPLA-IIA induces integrin activation through direct binding to a newly identified binding-site (site 2) in integrins αvβ3, α4β1, and α5β1. J Biol Chem. 2014 Nov 14. pii: jbc.M114.579946. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25398877

  6. Zhao S, Zhu K, Zhang Y, Zhu Z, Xu Z, Zhao M, Pan T. ElectroTaxis-on-a-Chip (ETC): an integrated quantitative high-throughput screening platform for electrical field-directed cell migration. Lab Chip. 2014 Oct 14;14(22):4398-405. doi: 10.1039/c4lc00745j.

  7. Reid B, Zhao M. The Electrical Response to Injury: Molecular Mechanisms and Wound Healing. Advances in Wound Care. February 2014, 3(2): 184-201. PMID: 24761358

  8. Zhao S, Gao R, Devreotes PN, Mogilner A, Zhao M. 3D arrays for high throughput assay of cell migration and electrotaxis. Cell Biol Int. 2013 Sep;37(9):995-1002. doi: 10.1002/cbin.10116. Epub 2013 May 7.

  9. Rudell JC, Gao J, Sun Y, Sun Y, Chodosh J, Schwab I, Zhao M. Acanthamoeba migration in an electric field. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Jun 21;54(6):4225-33. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-11968. PMID: 23716626

  10. Tran V, Zhang X, Cao L, Li H, Lee B, So M, Sun Y, Chen W, Zhao M. Synchronization Modulation Increases Transepithelial Potentials in MDCK Monolayers through Na/K Pumps. PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e61509. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061509. PMCID: PMC3621860

  11. Sun Y, Do H, Gao J, Zhao R, Zhao M, Mogilner A. Keratocyte Fragments and Cells Utilize Competing Pathways to Move in Opposite Directions in an Electric Field. Current Biology 2013; 8;23:569-74. PMCID: PMC3732310

  12. Mori S, Tran V, Nishikawa K, Kaneda T, Hamada Y, Kawaguchi N, Fujita M, Takada YK, Matsuura N, Zhao M, Takada Y. A Dominant-Negative FGF1 Mutant (the R50E Mutant) Suppresses Tumorigenesis and Angiogenesis. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e57927. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057927. Epub 2013 Feb 28. PMCID: PMC3585250

  13. Cao L, Wei D, Reid R, Zhao S, Pu J, Pan T, Yamoah EN, Zhao M. Endogenous Electric Currents May Guide Rostral Migration of Neuroblasts. EMBO Reports. 2013;14(2):184-90. PMCID: PMC3596136

  14. Li L, Hartley R, Reiss B, Sun Y, Pu J, Wu D, Lin F, Hoang T, Yamada S, Jiang J, Zhao M. E-cadherin plays an essential role in collective directional migration of large epithelial sheets. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2012 Aug;69(16):2779-89. PMCID: PMC3459324

  15. Li L, Gu W, Du J, Reid B, Deng X, Liu Z, Zong Z, Wang H, Yao B, Yang C, Yan J, Zeng L, Chalmers L, Zhao M, Jiang J. Electric fields guide migration of epidermal stem cells and promote skin wound healing. Wound Repair Regen. 2012 Nov-Dec;20(6):840-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-475X.2012.00829.x. Epub 2012 Oct 19. PMID: 23082865

  16. Gow BJ, Cheng JL, Baikie ID, Martinsen OG, Zhao M, Smith S, Ahn AC.  Electrical Potential of Acupuncture Points: Use of a Non-Contact Scanning Kelvin Probe. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 632838. PMCID: PMC3541002

  17. Ahn AC, Gow BJ, Martinsen OG, Zhao M, Grodzinsky AJ, Baikie ID. Applying the Kelvin probe to biological tissues: Theoretical and computational analyses. Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2012 Jun;85(6-1):061901. PMID: 23005121

  18. Jiang J, Li L, Gu W, Deng X, Du J, Liu Z, Zong Z, Wang H, Yao B, Yang C, Yan J, Zeng L, Wang Z, Zhao M. Electrical Fields Initiate Epidermal Stem Cell Migration and Enhance Wound Healing in Regenerative Medicine in China, S. Sanders Ed. (Science/AAAS, Washington, DC, 2012), pp. 54-55.

  19. Sun X, Chalmers L, Fu X, Zhao M. A Molecular Link Between Interleukin 22 and Intestinal Mucosal Wound Healing. Advances in Wound Care. 2012. 1(6): 231-237.

  20. Zhao M, Chalmers L, Cao L, Vieira AC, Mannis M, Reid B. Electrical signaling in control of ocular cell behaviors. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2012; 31(1):65-88. PMCID: PMC3242826

  21. Feng JF, Liu J, Zhang XZ, Zhang L, Jiang JY, Nolta J, Zhao M. Guided Migration of Neural Stem Cells Derived from Human Embryonic Stem Cells by an Electric Field. Stem Cells. 2012; 30(2):349-55. PMID: 22076946

  22. Kucerova R, Dorà N, Mort RL, Wallace K, Leiper LJ, Lowes C, Neves C, Walczysko P, Bruce F, Fowler PA, Rajnicek AM, McCaig CD, Zhao M, West JD, Collinson JM. Interaction between hedgehog signalling and PAX6 dosage mediates maintenance and regeneration of the corneal epithelium. Mol Vis. 2012;18:139-50. PMCID: PMC3265179

  23. Zhao Z, Qin L, Reid B, Pu J, Hara T, Zhao M. Directing migration of endothelial progenitor cells with applied DC electric fields. Stem Cell Res. 2012;8(1):38-48. Epub 2011 Aug 16. PMCID: PMC3238468

  24. Reid B, Zhao M. Ion-selective self-referencing probes for measuring specific ion flux. Commun Integr Biol. 2011; 4(5):524-7. PMCID: PMC3204119

  25. Meng X, Li W, Young F, Gao R, Chalmers L, Zhao M, Song B. Electric field-controlled directed migration of neural progenitor cells in 2D and 3D environments. J Vis Exp. 2012 Feb 16;(60). doi:pii: 3453. 10.3791/3453. PMID: 22370927

  26. Reid B, Vieira AC, Cao L, Mannis MJ, Schwab IR, Zhao M. Specific ion fluxes generate cornea wound electric currents. Commun Integr Biol. 2011 Jul;4(4):462-5. PMCID: PMC3181522

  27. Sun YH, Reid B, Fontaine JH, Miller LA, Hyde DM, Mogilner A, Zhao M. Airway Epithelial Wounds in Rhesus Monkey Generate Ionic Currents That Guide Cell Migration to Promote Healing. J Appl Physiol. 2011. 2011 Oct;111(4):1031-41 PMCID: PMC3774198

  28. Zhang J, Calafiore M, Zeng Q, Zhang X, Huang Y, Li RA, Deng W, Zhao M. Electrically guiding migration of human induced pluripotent stem cells. Stem Cell Rev. 2011;7(4):987-96. PMCID: PMC3226697

  29. Vieira AC, Reid B, Cao L, Mannis MJ, Schwab IR, Zhao M. Ionic components of electric current at rat corneal wounds. PLoS One. 2011 Feb 25;6(2):e17411. PMID: 21364900

  30. Reid B, Zhao M. Measurement of bioelectric current with a vibrating probe. J Vis Exp. 2011;(47). pii: 2358. doi: 10.3791/2358. PMCID: PMC3182634

  31. Cao L, Graue-Hernandez EO, Tran V, Reid B, Pu J, Mannis MJ, Zhao M. Downregulation of PTEN at corneal wound sites accelerates wound healing through increased cell migration. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011;52(5):2272-8. PMCID: PMC3080732

  32. Gao RC, Zhang XD, Sun YH, Kamimura Y, Mogilner A, Devreotes PN, Zhao M. Different Roles of Membrane Potentials in Electrotaxis and Chemotaxis of Dictyostelium Cells. Eukaryot Cell. 2011; 10: 1251–1256. PMCID: PMC3187056

  33. Bai H, Forrester JV, Zhao M. DC electric stimulation upregulates angiogenic factors in endothelial cells through activation of VEGF receptors. Cytokine. 2011;55(1):110-5. Epub 2011 Apr 27. PMID: 21524919, NIHMSID 688832.

  34. Cao L, Pu J, Zhao M. GSK-3β is essential for physiological electric field-directed Golgi polarization and optimal electrotaxis. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2011;68(18):3081-93. PMCID: PMC3136619

  35. Meng X, Arocena M, Penninger J, Gage FH, Zhao M, Song B. PI3K mediated electrotaxis of embryonic and adult neural progenitor cells in the presence of growth factors. Exp Neurol. 2011;227(1):210-7. PMID: 21092738

  36. Reid B, Graue-Hernandez EO, Mannis MJ, Zhao M. Modulating Endogenous Electric Currents in Human Corneal Wounds-A Novel Approach of Bioelectric Stimulation Without Electrodes. Cornea. 2011;30(3):338-43. PMCID: PMC3061552

  37. Arocena M, Zhao M, Collinson JM, Song B. A time-lapse and quantitative modelling analysis of neural stem cell motion in the absence of directional cues and in electric fields. J Neurosci Res. 2010 Nov 15;88(15):3267-74. PMID: 20890991

  38. Kucerova R, Walczysko P, Reid B, Ou J, Leiper LJ, Rajnicek AM, McCaig CD, Zhao M, Collinson JM. The role of electrical signals in murine corneal wound re-epithelialisations. J Cell Physiol. 2010 Oct 13. PMCID: PMC3060306

  39. Gamboa OL, Pu J, Townend J, Forrester JV, Zhao M, McCaig C, Lois N.Electrical estimulation of retinal pigment epithelial cells. Exp Eye Res. 2010 Aug;91(2):195-204. PMID: 20457155

  40. Wang ET, Zhao M. Regulation of tissue repair and regeneration by electric fields. Chin J Traumatol. 2010 Feb;13(1):55-61. PMID: 20109370

  41. Zhao M, Isseroff RR, Penninger J. Chapter 93. Electrical activation of wound healing pathways. Wound Healing Society Yearbook Section 11: Devices (Section Editors: Paul Liu and Lisa Gould). 2010; 1: 567-573..

  42. Cao L, Zhang XD, Liu X, Chen TY, Zhao M. Chloride channels and transporters in human corneal epithelium. Exp Eye Res. 2010; 90(6):771-9. Epub 2010 Mar 24. PMCID: PMC2873124

  43. Lois N, Reid B, Song B, Zhao M, Forrester J, McCaig C.Electric currents and lens regeneration in the rat. Exp Eye Res. 2010;90(2):316-23. PMID: 19931246

  44. Guo A, Song B, Reid B, Gu Y, Forrester JV, Jahoda CA, Zhao M. Effects of Physiological Electric Fields on Migration of Human Dermal Fibroblasts. J Invest Dermatol. 2010. 2010 Sep;130(9):2320-7.  PMID: 20410911, PMCID: PMC2952177

  45. Reid B, Song B, Zhao M. Electric currents in Xenopus tadpole tail regeneration. Dev Biol. 2009;335(1):198-207. PMID: 19733557


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