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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 and comparison with that which attaches to the same force when connected with the nervous system and with life.

                 Michael Faraday 1839

Dr. Zhao was born in the Yunnan Province of China. He graduated from the 3rd Military Medical University in Chongqing in 1985. After completion of Ph.D. training under the supervision of Professor Zhengguo Wang in 1991, he worked on trauma research at the Research Institute of Surgery. In 1994 he joined Dr Geff Burnstock in 1994 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 1999 and was promoted to a Wellcome Trust University Award Senior Lectureship in 2002. Then 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 he also holds a joint appointment in 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


Bin Zhang, Ph.D.
Research Associate


Yan Li, Ph.D.


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


Xupin Jiang
Junior Specialist


Yunyun Shen
Junior Specialist




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. Tai G, Reid B, Cao L, Zhao M. Electrotaxis and Wound Healing: Experimental Methods to Study Electric Fields as a Directional Signal for Cell Migration. Methods Mol Biol. 2009, 571:77-97.
  2. Zhao M. Electrical fields in wound healing – an overriding signal that directs cell migration. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2009;20(6):674-82.
  3. Reid B, Song B, Zhao M. Electric currents in Xenopus tadpole tail regeneration. Dev Biol. 2009 335(1):198-207.
  4. Kloth L, Zhao M. Endogenous and Exogenous Electrical Fields for Wound Healing. In Wound Healing: Evidence-Based Management. Ed.J McCulloch and L Kloth. 4th Edition. F.A. Davis. Brick, NJ. 2009.
  5. Yao L, McCaig C, Zhao M. Electrical signals polarize neuronal organelles, direct neuron migration and orient cell division. Hippocampus. 2009, 19(9):855-68.
  6. Li Y, Shanley L, McCaig CD, Zhao M. Electric field directed neuronal migration. J Cell Physiol. 2008; 216:527-35.
  7. Zhao Z, Walczysko P, Zhao M. Intracellular calcium store is essential for injury induced calcium signaling and re-endothelialization. J Cell Physiol. 2008; 214:595-603.
  8. Zhao M. PTEN: a promising pharmacological target to enhance epithelial wound healing. Br J Pharmacol. 2007;152:1141-4.
  9. Song B, Gu Y, Pu J, Reid B, Zhao Z, Zhao M. Application of direct current electric fields to cells and tissues in vitro and modulation of wound electric field in vivo. Nat Protoc. 2007;2:1479-89.
  10. Reid B, Nuccitelli R, Zhao M. Non-invasive measurement of bioelectric currents with a vibrating probe. Nat Protoc. 2007;2 (3):661-9.
  11. Pu J, McCaig CD, Cao L, Zhao Z, Segall JE, Zhao M. EGF receptor signalling is essential for electric-field-directed migration of breast cancer cells. J Cell Sci. 2007;120:3395-403.
  12. Zhao M, Song B, Pu J, Wada T, Reid B, Tai G, Wang F, Guo A, Walczysko P, Gu Y, Sasaki T, Suzuki A, Forrester JV, Bourne HR, Devreotes PN, McCaig CD, Penninger JM. Electrical signals control wound healing via PI3Kg and PTEN signalling. Nature, 2006. 442, 457-460.
  13. Shanley L, Walczysko P, Bain M, McEvan D, Zhao M. Influx of extracellular Ca2+ is necessary for electrotaxis in Dictyostelium. J Cell Sci. 2006, 119(Pt 22):4741-8.
  14. McCaig CD, Rajnicek AM, Song B, Zhao, M. Controlling cell behavior electrically: current views and future potential for an old concept. Physiol Review 2005; 85: 943-78.
  15. Pu J, Zhao M. Golgi polarization in a strong electric field. J Cell Sci. 2005; 118:1117-1128.
  16. Wang E, Reid B, Lois N, Forrester JV, McCaig C, Zhao M. Electrical inhibition of lens epithelial cell proliferation – An additional factor in secondary cataract? FASEB J. 2005; 19: 842-4.
  17. Reid B, Song B, McCaig CD, Zhao M. Wound healing in rat cornea: the role of electric currents. FASEB J. 2005; 19: 379-386.


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