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It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.“                                                                  

                      — Charles Darwin


The Zhou Lab at Texas A&M is exploring the fascinating frontiers of calcium signaling, optogenetic engineering, epigenetics and molecular therapy research by combining chemical biology, immunology, protein design, drug screening, bioinformatics and mouse genetics. We are particularly interested in understanding how ions are transported across cellular membrane, how the mammalian epigenetic landscape is sculptured, how ion channels and human epigenome can be engineered to achieve tailored function, and how dysregulated ion homeostasis and epigenetic modifications cause human disorders.

Research Areas

Structure-function relations of  calcium channels in health & disease

Chemical biology tools for remote control of cell physiology

Novel therapeutics targeting ion channels & epigenome

Optogenetics & immunoengineering


CRAC channel (ORAI-STIM signaling)

NSMB 2010 (PMID: 20037597)

PNAS 2010 (PMID: 20194792)

NSMB 2013 (PMID: 23851458)

Nat Commun 2015 (PMID: 26184105)

Nat Commun 2018 (PMID: 30382093)

Cell Chem Biol 2018 (PMID)

PLOS Biol 2018 (PMID: 30444880)

Signaling @ membrane contact sites (MCS)

Nat Cell Biol 2015 (PMID: 26322679)

Nat Cell Biol 2015 (PMID: 26419802)

PNAS 2015 (PMID: 26644574)

Chem Sci 2017 (PMID: 28959426)

Cell Calcium 2018 (PMID: 30199756)



Optogenetics & Bioengineering

eLife 2015 (PMID: 26646180)

ACS Nano 2016 (PMID: 27077481)

Trends in Biotech 2017 (PMID: 27692897)

Cell Calcium 2017 (PMID: 28104276)

ACS Synth Biol 2018 (PMID: 29489336)

Angew Chem 2018 (PMID: 29569306)

Chem Sci 2018 (PMID: 30061986)

Epigenetics  & lncRNAs & Stem cell & Cancer  
Nat Cell Biol 2016 (PMID: 26751287)
Nat Cell Biol 2017 (PMID: 28218907 )
JACS 2017 (PMID: 28294608)
JCI 2017 (PMID: 28691982)
Nat Commun 2017 (PMID: 28695892)
Nucleic Acids Res 2018 (PMID: 29394393)
Mol Cell 2018 (PMID: 30220516)
Oncogene 2018 (PMID: 30390073)
PLOS Biol 2018 (PMID: 30408026)

Research sponsors

Cancer Preventions & Research Institute of Texas

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

National Institutes of Health

Robert A. Welch Foundation

John S. Dunn Foundation

American Cancer Society

Texas A&M University