Chengji Zhou

image of Chengji Zhou



Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine
Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Offices and Labs

2425 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95817, 602B Shriners Hospitals for Children

Profile Introduction

We mainly study birth defects, such as cleft lip/palate and neural tube defects


2001 PhD (Biophysics) Waseda University
1998 BS (Biology) Waseda University

Research Interests

Mechanism and prevention of birth defects related to defective tissue closure and patterning

Birth defects are physical abnormalities present at birth, affecting millions of newborns each year. They are the leading cause of death in the first year of life. Currently we are investigating the mechanism and prevention of several common birth defects related to defective tissue closure processes, such as neural tube closure defects and cleft lip and/or cleft palate, using Wnt signaling mutant mice as a model organism. We also study the role of Wnt signaling in tissue/organ-specific stem cells and related regeneration processes.


Japanese Government Monbusho Scholarship, 1999-2001
UC Davis Health System Research Award, 2008-2010

Department and Center Affiliations

Cancer Center
Center for Neuroscience


Society for Neuroscience
Society for Developmental Biology
American Society for Cell Biology

CBS Grad Group Affiliations

Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Integrated Genetics and Genomics

Specialties / Focus

Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Differentiation, Morphogenesis and Wound Healing
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Division and the Cytoskeleton
  • Neurobiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stem Cell Biology
Integrated Genetics and Genomics
  • Integrated Genetics and Genomics
  • Developmental Genetics
  • Model Organism Genetics

Graduate Groups not Housed in CBS

Comparative Pathology

Teaching Interests

Developmental Biology, Neuroanatomy


CHA 199 (undergraduate research/internship)
CHA 299 (graduate research/lab rotation)
CHA 403 Neuroanatomy (medical students)
MCB 215 Critical Reading (BMCDB graduate students) (2011 Spring)
MCB 220L seminar series (2010 Fall)


4/19/2011 9:38:01 AM
  • 2008. 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. Developmental Dynamics 237:3157-3168.
  • 2008. 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. Developmental Dynamics 237:3681-3689.
  • 2009. 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 136:3161-3171. (Featured Article)
  • 2009. Yamagami T, Molotkov A, Zhou CJ. Canonical Wnt signaling activity during synovial joint development. Journal of Molecular Histology 40:311-316.
  • 2010. Song L, Li Y, Wang K, Zhou CJ. Cardiac neural crest and outflow tract defects in Lrp6 mutant mice. Developmental Dynamics 239:200-210.
  • 2010. 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 diseases. Developmental Dynamics 239:318-326.
  • 2011. Wang Y, Song L, Zhou CJ. The canonical Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway regulates Fgf signaling for early facial development. Developmental Biology 349:250-260.
  • 2011. He F, Xiong W, Wang Y, Li L, Liu C, Yamagami T, Taketo MM, Zhou CJ, Chen Y. Epithelial Wnt/ß-catenin signaling regulates palatal shelf fusion through regulation of Tgfß3 expression. Developmental Biology 350:511-519.
  • 2011. Wang YZ, Yamagami T, Gan Q, Wang Y, Zhao T, Hamad S, Lott P, Schnittke N, Schwob JE, Zhou CJ. Canonical Wnt signaling promotes proliferation and neurogenesis of peripheral olfactory stem cells during postnatal development and adult regeneration. Journal of Cell Science 124:1553-1563 (Journal Cover).
  • 2011. 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 29:907-912.

  • 2014. Gan Q, Lee A, Suzuki R, Yamagami T, Stokes A, Nguyen B, Pleasure D, Wang J, Chen HW, Zhou CJ. Pax6 mediates ß-catenin signaling for self-renewal and neurogenesis by neocortical radial glial stem cells. Stem Cells 32:45-58.

  • 2014. Zhao T, Gan Q, Stokes A, Lassiter RN, Wang YP, Chan J, Han J, Pleasure DE, Epstein JA, Zhou CJ. Beta-catenin regulates Pax3 and Cdx2 for caudal neural tube closure and elongation. Development 141:148-157.