Bing Zhang
Associate Professor of Biology

Phone: (405)325-7450 Fax: (405)325-6202


Bing ZhangCurrent Research Interests and Subject Areas Available for Graduate Research

A unique feature of the brain is the vast number of connections (called synapses) formed between neurons. Synapses are relay stations enabling neurons to communicate with each other.  Hence, synapses are important for all functions of the nervous system, including learning, memory and cognition.

The primary interest of my laboratory is to study synapse structure and function in health and disease (such as Alzheimer’s and ALS).  We use the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) as an experimental animal, since it has been serving as an excellent model genetic organism for studies of the nervous system in more complex animals and humans. The general strategy that we employ is to derive the in vivo role of a gene based on phenotypic analysis of mutant flies.  Besides molecular genetics, we also use cell biology, electrophysiology and biochemistry to examine the function of the gene product and its signaling pathways.

While graduate students and postdoctoral associates conduct most of the research, my laboratory welcomes highly motivated undergraduate students.


Ph.D.,Cornell University, Ithaca. NY

B.A.., Northwestern University of Agriculture, Shannxi, China

2010 Irene Rothbaum Award for Outstanding Assistant Professor in Arts and Sciences


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Selected publications:

  • P. A. Vanlandingham, T.R. Fore, L. R. Chastain, S. M. Royer, H. Bao, N. E. Reist, and B. Zhang (2013). Epsin 1 promotes synaptic growth by enhancing BMP signal levels in motoneuron nuclei. PLoS One 8(6): e65997. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065997

  • B. Kottler, H. Bao, O. Zalucki, W. Imlach, M. Troup, B. van Alphen, A. Paulk, B. Zhang and B. van Swinderen (2013). A sleep/wake circuit controls isoflurane sensitivity in Drosophila. Current Biology 23:594-598.

  • E. L. Kumimoto, T. R. Fore, and B. Zhang (2013). Transcriptome profiling following neuronal and glial expression of ALS-linked SOD1 in Drosophila. G3: Genes Genomes and Genetics. 3: 695-708.

  • R. Islam, E.L. Kumimoto, H. Bao and B. Zhang (2012). ALS-linked SOD1 in glial cells enhances -N-Methylamino L-Alanine (BMAA)-induced toxicity in Drosophila [v1; ref status: indexed,] F1000Research 1:47 (doi: 10.3410/f1000research.1-47.v1)

  • Y-J Kim, H. Bao, L. Bonanno, B. Zhang and M. Serpe (2012). Drosophila Neto is essential for clustering glutamate receptors at the neuromuscular junction. Genes and Development, 26: 974-987. [Featured on the cover]

  • K. Koles, J. Nunnari, C. Korkut, R. Barria, C. Brewer, Yihang Li, J. Leszyk, B. Zhang and V. Budnik (2012). Mechanism of evenness interrupted (Evi)-exosome release at synaptic boutons. J. Biol. Chem 287:16820-34.

  • J. M. Tauber, P. A. Vanlandingham, and B. Zhang (2011). Elevated levels of the vesicular monoamine transporter and a novel repetitive behavior in the Drosophila model of fragile X syndrome. PLoS One, 6(11): e27100. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027100

  • E. F. Ozdowski, S. Gayle, H. Bao, B. Zhang, N. T. Sherwood (2011). Loss of p21- activated kinase3 (pak3) suppresses defects in synapse structure and function caused byspastin mutationsGenetics, 189: 123-35.

  • T. R. Fore, A. A. Ojwang, M. L. Warner, X.Y. Peng, C. A. Springer, R. A. Bohm, W. P. Welch, L. K. Goodnight, H. Bao, and B. Zhang (2011). Mapping and application of enhancer-trap flippase expression in larval and adult Drosophila CNS. J Vis Exp. 52

  • R.A. Bohm, W.P. Welch, L.K. Goodnight, L.W. Cox, L.G. Henry, T.C. Gunter, H. Bao, and B. Zhang (2010). A genetic mosaic approach for neural circuit mapping in Drosophila. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 107:16378-16383. [Featured on the cover]

  • B. Zhang, M.R. Freeman, and S. Waddell (2010). Drosophila Neurobiology: A Laboratory Manual. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. eds.

  • H. Bao, N. Reist, and B. Zhang (2008). The Drosophila Epsin 1 Is Required for Ubiquitin-dependent Synaptic Growth and Function, But Not for Synaptic Vesicle Recycling. Traffic 9: 2190-2205

  • M. R. Watson, R. D. Lagow, K. Xu, B. Zhang, and N. M. Bonini (2008). A Drosophila model for SOD-linked amyotrophic lateral sclerosis reveals motor neuron damage by SOD1. JBC. 283: 24972-81.  [Selected as a Paper of the Week and featured on the cover]] 

  • A. Chai, J. Withers, Y. H. Koh, K. Parry, H. Bao, B. Zhang, V. Budnik, G. Pennetta (2008). hVAPB, the causative gene of a heterogeneous group of motor neuron diseases in humans, is functionally interchangeable with its Drosophila homologue DVAP-33A at the Neuromuscular Junction. Human Molecular Genetics 17: 266-80

  • R. D. Lagow, H. Bao, E. N. Cohen, R. W. Daniels, W. H. Williams, G. T. Macleod, R. B. Sutton, and B. Zhang (2007). Modification of a hydrophobic layer by a point mutation in syntaxin 1A regulates the rate of synaptic vesicle fusion. PLoS Biol, 5(4): e72. DOI:10.1371. page 0800-0817.  

  • H. Bao, M. Berlanga, M. S. Xue, S. Hapip, R. W. Daniels, J. M. Mendenhall, A. Alcantara, and B. Zhang (2007). The atypical cadherin /receptor Flamingo regulates synaptogenesis and helps prevent axonal and synaptic degeneration in Drosophila. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, 34: 662-678. [Featured on the cover].  

  • V. G. Martinez, C. S. Javadi, E. Ngo, L. Ngo, R.D. Lagow, and B. Zhang (2007). Age-related changes in climbing behavior and neural circuit physiology in DrosophilaDev. Neurobiol. 67: 778-791.

  • G. Marqués and B. Zhang (2006). Retrograde signaling that regulates synaptic development and function at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction.  In: The Fly Neuromuscular Junction: Structure and Function.  Second edition. Edited by Vivian Budnik and Catalina Ruiz-Canada. Academic Press. Invited book chapter.  Pp. 268-285. 

  • H. Bao, R. W. Daniels, G. T. Macleod, M. P. Charlton, H. L. Atwood, and B. Zhang (2005). AP180 maintains the distribution of synaptic and vesicle proteins in the nerve terminal and indirectly regulates the efficacy of Ca2+-triggered exocytosis.  Journal Neurophysiology, 94, 1888-1903
  • N. T. Sherwood, Q. Sun, M. Xue, B. Zhang, and K. Zinn (2004).  Drosophila Spastin regulates synaptic microtubule networks and is required for normal motor function.  PLoS Biol. 2:2094-2111.

  • G. Marqués, T. E. Haerry, M. L. Crotty, M. Xue, B. Zhang and M. B. O’Connor (2003). Retrograde Gbb signaling through the BMP type II receptor Wishful Thinking regulates systemic FMRFa expression in Drosophila. Development 130: 5457-5470.

  • G. Marques, H. Bao, T. Haerry, P. Duchek, M. J. Shimell, B. Zhang, and M. B. O’Connor (2002).  The Drosophila BMP type II receptor wishful thinking regulates neuromuscular synapse morphology and function.  Neuron 33: 529-543.

  • X. Chen, B. Zhang, J. A. Fischer (2002). A specific protein substrate for a deubiquitinating enzyme: liquid facets is the substrate of Fat facets.  Genes and Development 16: 289-294.

  • A. Zelhof, H. Bao, R. W. Hardy, A. Razzaq, B. Zhang, and C. Q. Doe (2001). Drosophila Amphiphysin is implicated in protein localization and membrane morphogenesis but not in endocytosis of synaptic vesicles.  Development 128: 5005-5015.

  • Y. Mao, J. Chen, J. A. Maynard, B. Zhang, and F. A. Quiocho (2001).  A novel all helix fold of the AP180 amino-terminal domain for phosphoinositide binding and clathrin assembly in synaptic vesicle endocytosis. Cell 104: 433-440.




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