Dr. Chun-Li Zhang received his Ph.D. in Genetics and Development from UT Southwestern Medical Center, where he worked on transcriptional control of muscle development and heart disease. Upon graduation in 2003, he conducted postdoctoral research as a HHMI Fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation in Dr. Ronald Evans’ laboratory at the Salk Institute, California. In collaboration with Dr. Fred Gage at the Salk, Dr. Zhang worked on adult neural stem cells and neurogenesis. He joined the faculty as Assistant Professor in 2008 and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2014 and Professor in 2018.
The major focus of his laboratory is on molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling adult neural stem cells, neurogenesis, regeneration of the nervous system, and cellular reprogramming for disease modeling and drug identification. Their discoveries were extensively reported by the news media, such as reprogramming in the adult brain (The Scientist Magazine, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, etc.), reprogramming in the adult spinal cord (The Scientist Magazine, Neurology Today, Medical Daily, Breibart News Network, The Daily Texan, etc.), modeling human amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with adult-converted spinal motor neurons (MDLinx, Alzforum, The ALS Forum, Science Mission, ALS News Today, etc.), new findings on traumatic brain injury (Science Daily, News Medical, MD Magazine, etc.), and in vivo reprogramming of mature neurons (Discover Magazine, Science Magazine, Fierce Biotech, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Science Daily, EurekAlert, etc.). Their work on reprogramming in vivo was recognized as one of 2014's Big Advances in Science by The Scientist Magazine.
- Graduate School
- Wuhan University , Molecular & Cell Biology
- Graduate School
- UT Southwestern Medical Center (2002), Genetics
- Genetic and epigenetic regulation of neural stem cells and neurogenesis
- Human neurodegenerative diseases
- Neural regeneration and reprogramming
- Traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury
- SOX4-mediated repression of specific tRNAs inhibits proliferation of human glioblastoma cells.
- Yang J, Smith DK, Ni H, Wu K, Huang D, Pan S, Sathe AA, Tang Y, Liu ML, Xing C, Zhang CL, Zhuge Q, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2020 Mar 117 11 5782-5790
- Phenotypic Reprogramming of Striatal Neurons into Dopaminergic Neuron-like Cells in the Adult Mouse Brain.
- Niu W, Zang T, Wang LL, Zou Y, Zhang CL Stem Cell Reports 2018 Sep
- Astrocyte-specific deletion of SOX2 promotes functional recovery after traumatic brain injury
- Chen C, Zhong X, Smith DK, Tai W, Yang J, Zou Y, Wang LL, Sun J, Qin S, and Zhang CL Cerebral Cortex 2017
- The p53 Pathway Controls SOX2-Mediated Reprogramming in the Adult Mouse Spinal Cord.
- Wang LL, Su Z, Tai W, Zou Y, Xu XM, Zhang CL Cell Rep 2016 Oct 17 3 891-903
- Small Molecules Modulate Chromatin Accessibility to Promote NEUROG2-Mediated Fibroblast-to-Neuron Reprogramming
- Smith DK, Yang J, Liu ML, Zhang CL. Stem Cell Reports 2016
- Direct Lineage Reprogramming Reveals Disease-Specific Phenotypes of Motor Neurons from Human ALS Patients.
- Liu ML, Zang T, Zhang CL Cell Rep 2015 Dec
- SOX2 Reprograms Resident Astrocytes into Neural Progenitors in the Adult Brain.
- Niu W, Zang T, Smith DK, Vue TY, Zou Y, Bachoo R, Johnson JE, Zhang CL Stem Cell Reports 2015 Apr
- In vivo conversion of astrocytes to neurons in the injured adult spinal cord.
- Su Z, Niu W, Liu ML, Zou Y, Zhang CL Nat Commun 2014 5 3338
- In vivo reprogramming of astrocytes to neuroblasts in the adult brain.
- Niu W, Zang T, Zou Y, Fang S, Smith DK, Bachoo R, Zhang CL Nat. Cell Biol. 2013 Sep
- Small molecules enable neurogenin 2 to efficiently convert human fibroblasts into cholinergic neurons.
- Liu ML, Zang T, Zou Y, Chang JC, Gibson JR, Huber KM, Zhang CL Nat Commun 2013 Jul 4 2183
Induced Neurogenesis as a Mechanism for Adult Central Nervous System Regeneration. In Neural Stem Cells in Health and Disease
Smith DK, Niu W, Zhang CL (2015). Hackensack, NJ, World Scientific
Honors & Awards
- The Judith & Jean Pape Adams Charitable Foundation
- The Decherd Foundation Award
- 2014's Big Advances in Science by The Scientist Magazine
- The Ellison Medical Foundation: New Scholar in Aging
- The Whitehall Foundation: Research Award
- Winner of NuGEN Innovation Grant Challenge
- NIH: Director's New Innovator Award
- Scientist Development Award-American Heart Association
- W.W.Caruth, Jr. Scholar in Biomedical Research-UT Southwestern
- HHMI Fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation
- Deans Discretionary Award, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
- Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine (2014)
- International Society for Stem Cell Research (2008)
- Society for Neuroscience