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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, optogenetics, immunoengineering and molecular therapy research by combining biophysics, immunology, protein design, chemical biology, drug screening, bioinformatics and mouse genetics. We are particularly interested in understanding how ions are transported across cellular membrane, how ion channels and human (epi)genome in mammalian cells can be engineered to achieve tailored function, and how dysregulated ion homeostasis and DNA modifications lead to human disorders.

Research Areas

Structure-function relations of  calcium channels in health & disease

Chemical biology tools for remote control of cell signaling

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)

Signaling @ membrane contact sites

Nat Cell Biol 2015 (PMID: 26322679)

Nat Cell Biol 2015 (PMID: 26419802)

PNAS 2015 (PMID: 26644574)

Chem Sci 2017 (PMID: 28959426)



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 20178 (PMID: 29489336)

Angew Chem 2018 (PMID: 29569306)

Chem Sci 2018 (PMID: 30061986)

Epigenetics  & lncRNAs & Stem cell  (collaborations)
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)

Research sponsors

Cancer Preventions & Research Institute of Texas

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Robert A. Welch Foundation

National Institutes of Health

American Cancer Society

Texas A&M University