Prof. Mingjie Zhang obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Fudan University, Shanghai in 1988, and his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry in the University of Calgary, Canada in 1994. After a brief postdoctoral training in the Ontario Cancer Institute, Toronto, Canada, he established his own laboratory as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in 1995. Prof Zhang is currently a Kerry Holdings Professor of Science, Senior Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study, and Chair Professor in the Division of Life Science, HKUST. He also directs the Center of Systems Biology and Human Health at HKUST. Prof. Zhang’s laboratory has been focusing on structural and biochemical basis of neuronal development and synaptic signaling. In recognition of his research achievements, Prof. Zhang has been recognized by numerous awards including the most prestigious “The State Natural Science Award of China” in 2006. Prof. Zhang was elected to be a member of the Chinese Academy of Science in 2011. He is also a Founding Member of the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong.
Research in Prof. Zhang’s laboratory has been focusing on three areas. The first area concerns the structural and biochemical basis of synaptic signaling complex organization by scaffold proteins. The second area is how neurons develop polarity during their development and maintain the polarity in their adulthood. The third area is how membraneless structures like postsynaptic density (PSD) and presynaptic active zones in neurons form and function. Zhang’s lab has been approaching these two fundamental questions in neuroscience by a combination of structural biology, biochemistry, and cell biology approaches.
- Zeng, M., Chen, X., Guan, D., Xu, J., Wu, H., Tong, P., and Zhang, M. (2018) “Reconstituted postsynaptic density as a molecular platform for understanding synapse formation and plasticity” Cell 174, 1172-1187.
- Ye, F., Kang, E., Yu, C., Qian, X., Jacob, F., Yu, C., Mao, M., Poon, R.Y.C., Kim, J., Song H., Min, G.-L., and Zhang, M. (2017) “DISC1 regulates neurogenesis via modulating kinetochore attachment of Ndel1/Nde1 during mitosis” Neuron 96, 1041-1054.
- Zeng, M. Shang, Y., Araki, Y., Guo, T., Huganir, R. L., and Zhang, M. (2016) “Phase transition in postsynaptic densities underlies formation of synaptic complexes and synaptic plasticity” Cell 166, 1163-1175.
- Liu, W., Wen, W., Wei, Z., Yu, J., Ye, F., Liu, C-H., Hardie, R. C., and Zhang, M. (2011) “The INAD scaffold is a dynamic, redox-regulated modulator of signalling in the Drosophila eye” Cell 145, 1088-1101.
- Wu, L., Pan, L., Wei, Z., and Zhang, M. (2011) “Structure of MyTH4-FERM Domains in Myosin VIIa Tail Bound to Cargo” Science 331, 757-760.