Chengji Zhou Photo

Chengji Zhou

2425 Stockton Blvd, Room 602B, Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 453-2268
cjzhou (at)

  • PhD, Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Postdoc, University of California at San Francisco

Research Interests

Molecular mechanism of pattern formation during embryonic neural development and pattern maintenance for postembryonic neural stem cell renewal and tissue regeneration

Zhou LabTissue/organ morphogenesis is regulated by several inductive factors such as Wnts. Incorrect activity and timing of Wnt signaling during development frequently result in embryonic death or severe birth defects including neural tube defects (NTD), brain developmental disorders, and craniofacial abnormalities—they are all common birth defects in humans. We are investigating molecular and cellular mechanisms of these developmental disorders and prevention strategies using Wnt signaling mutants as the research model. We are also investigating the role of Wnt signaling in neural stem cell renewal and regeneration processes to enhance their therapeutic potential for patients with injured nerve tissues.

For more information please visit the Zhou lab homepage at: Zhou Lab Homepage.


Wang, YZ., Fan, H., Ji, Y. et al. Olig2 regulates terminal differentiation and maturation of peripheral olfactory sensory neuronsCell. Mol. Life Sci. 77, 3597–3609 (2020). Download PDF

Ji Y, Hao H, Reynolds K, McMahon M, Zhou CJ. Wnt Signaling in Neural Crest Ontogenesis and OncogenesisCells. 2019; 8(10):1173. Download PDF

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. Download PDF

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. Download PDF


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. Download PDF

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. Download PDF


Huang C., Chen Y., Liu H., Yang J., Song X., Zhao J., He N., Zhou C. J., 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; 8: 115254-115269. Download PDF


Dong, Z., Huang, M., Liu, Z. et al. Focused screening of mitochondrial metabolism reveals a crucial role for a tumor suppressor Hbp1 in ovarian reserveCell Death Differ 23, 1602–1614 (2016). Download PDF


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. Download PDF


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. Download PDF

Gan, Q., Lee, A., Suzuki, R., Yamagami, T., Stokes, A., Nguyen, B.C., Pleasure, D., Wang, J., Chen, H.‐W. and Zhou, C.J. (2014), Pax6 Mediates ß‐Catenin Signaling for Self‐Renewal and Neurogenesis by Neocortical Radial Glial Stem Cells. Stem Cells, 32: 45-58. Download PDF

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. Download PDF


Guo F, Maeda Y, Ma J, Delgado M, Sohn J, Miers L, Ko EM, Bannerman P, Xu J, Wang Y, Zhou C, Takebayashi H, Pleasure D. Macroglial plasticity and the origins of reactive astroglia in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. J Neurosci. 2011 Aug 17;31(33):11914-28. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1759-11.2011. PMID: 21849552; PMCID: PMC3167226. Download PDF

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):907-12. doi: 10.1002/stem.644. PMID: 21557389; PMCID: PMC3306660. Download PDF

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. Download PDF

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. Download PDF

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. Download PDF


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. Dev Dyn. 2010 Jan;239(1):318-26. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22054. PMID: 19653321. Download PDF

Song L, Li Y, Wang K, Zhou CJ. Cardiac neural crest and outflow tract defects in Lrp6 mutant mice. Dev Dyn. 2010 Jan;239(1):200-10. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22079. PMID: 19705442. Download PDF


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 Sep;136(18):3161-71. doi: 10.1242/dev.037440. PMID: 19700620. Download PDF

Yamagami, T., Molotkov, A. & Zhou, C.J. Canonical Wnt signaling activity during synovial joint developmentJ Mol Hist 40, 311 (2009). Download PDF


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. Dev Dyn. 2008 Nov;237(11):3157-68. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.21712. PMID: 18816448; PMCID: PMC2895989. Download PDF

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. Dev Dyn. 2008 Dec;237(12):3681-9. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.21770. PMID: 18985738; PMCID: PMC2727282. Download PDF