Chengwen Zhou, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Faculty Appointments
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Ph.D., VISION SCIENCE, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AlabamaM.S., Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, ChinaB.S., Southwest China Normal University, Chongqing, China
Office Address
465 21st Ave South
Nashville, TN 37232-2551
Research Description
My interests in basic neuroscience and translational medicine focus upon how neuronal activity within the whole brain circuits (both cortical and subcortical circuits on microscopic, mesoscopic and macroscopic levels) interacts to generate collective/emerging brain functions such as memory consolidation and brain disorders such as seizures and cognitive co-morbidity deficits. Particularly I am working on how brain sleep-states intermingle with seizure onset. Using electrophysiological recordings, optogenetic methods and transgenic mice with GABAergic receptor mutations, I study intrinsic neuron activity properties, activity-dependent synaptic plasticity in cortical neurons from mouse models for pathogenesis of idiopathic generalized epilepsy(IGE) and explore how epilepsy disorders and memory deficits are generated/evolved. This will lead to developing novel medicines for treating seizures and other cognitive co-morbidities. Recently our research extends to sleep-related activity's roles in pathophysiology and pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Diseases, using a homeostatic synaptic plasticity mechanism.

I am actively recruiting post-docs and PhD candidates for projects. If you are interested, please contact me.
Research Keywords
seizures, epileptic network, homeostatic synaptic plasticity, neuron intrinsic excitability, in vivo optogenetic manipulation, translational neuroscience
Catron Mackenzie A., Howe Rachel K., Besing Gai-Linn K., St. John Emily K., Potesta Cobie Victoria, Gallagher Martin J., Macdonald Robert L. Macdonald, Zhou Chengwen. Sleep slow-wave oscillations trigger seizures in a genetic epilepsy model of Dravet syndrome. Brain Communications. 2022 Nov; in press.

Besing GK, St John EK, Potesta CV, Gallagher MJ, Zhou C. Artificial sleep-like up/down-states induce synaptic plasticity in cortical neurons from mouse brain slices. Front Cell Neurosci. 2022; 16: 948327. PMID: 36313618, PMCID: PMC9615418, DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2022.948327, ISSN: 1662-5102.

Lyman KA, Han Y, Zhou C, Renteria I, Besing GL, Kurz JE, Chetkovich DM. Hippocampal cAMP regulates HCN channel function on two time scales with differential effects on animal behavior. Sci Transl Med [print-electronic]. 2021 Nov 11/24/2021; 13(621): eabl4580. PMID: 34818058, PMCID: PMC9196047, DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abl4580, ISSN: 1946-6242.

Song YJ, Xing B, Barbour AJ, Zhou C, Jensen FE. Dysregulation of GABAA Receptor-Mediated Neurotransmission during the Auditory Cortex Critical Period in the Fragile X Syndrome Mouse Model. Cereb Cortex. 2021 Nov 11/23/2021; 32(1): 197-215. PMID: 34223875, PMCID: PMC8634585, PII: 6314720, DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhab203, ISSN: 1460-2199.

Bauer JP, Rader SL, Joffe ME, Kwon W, Quay J, Seanez L, Zhou C, Conn PJ, Lewis AS. Modeling intrahippocampal effects of anterior hippocampal hyperactivity relevant to schizophrenia using chemogenetic excitation of long axis-projecting mossy cells in the mouse dentate gyrus. Biol Psychiatry Glob Open Sci [print-electronic]. 2021 Aug; 1(2): 101-11. PMID: 34414387, PMCID: PMC8372626, DOI: 10.1016/j.bpsgos.2021.04.005, ISSN: 2667-1743.

Qu S, Zhou C, Howe R, Shen W, Huang X, Catron M, Hu N, Macdonald RL. The K328M substitution in the human GABAA receptor gamma2 subunit causes GEFS+ and premature sudden death in knock-in mice. Neurobiol Dis [print-electronic]. 2021 May; 152: 105296. PMID: 33582225, PII: S0969-9961(21)00045-0, DOI: 10.1016/j.nbd.2021.105296, ISSN: 1095-953X.

Zhang CQ, Catron MA, Ding L, Hanna CM, Gallagher MJ, Macdonald RL, Zhou C. Impaired State-Dependent Potentiation of GABAergic Synaptic Currents Triggers Seizures in a Genetic Generalized Epilepsy Model. Cereb Cortex. 2021 Jan 1/5/2021; 31(2): 768-84. PMID: 32930324, PMCID: PMC7906787, PII: 5905744, DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhaa256, ISSN: 1460-2199.

Klofas LK, Short BP, Zhou C, Carson RP. Prevention of premature death and seizures in a Depdc5 mouse epilepsy model through inhibition of mTORC1. Hum Mol Genet. 2020 May 5/28/2020; 29(8): 1365-77. PMID: 32280987, PMCID: PMC7254848, PII: 5819308, DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddaa068, ISSN: 1460-2083.

Qu S, Catron M, Zhou C, Janve V, Shen W, Howe RK, Macdonald RL. GABAA receptor ß3 subunit mutation D120N causes Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in knock-in mice. Brain Commun [print-electronic]. 2020; 2(1): fcaa028. PMID: 32467926, PMCID: PMC7238755, PII: fcaa028, DOI: 10.1093/braincomms/fcaa028, ISSN: 2632-1297.

Arain F, Zhou C, Ding L, Zaidi S, Gallagher MJ. The developmental evolution of the seizure phenotype and cortical inhibition in mouse models of juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. Neurobiol. Dis [print-electronic]. 2015 Oct; 82: 164-75. PMID: 26054439, PMCID: PMC4641014, PII: S0969-9961(15)00190-4, DOI: 10.1016/j.nbd.2015.05.016, ISSN: 1095-953X.

Kang JQ, Shen W, Zhou C, Xu D, Macdonald RL. The human epilepsy mutation GABRG2(Q390X) causes chronic subunit accumulation and neurodegeneration. Nat. Neurosci [print-electronic]. 2015 Jul; 18(7): 988-96. PMID: 26005849, PMCID: PMC4482801, PII: nn.4024, DOI: 10.1038/nn.4024, ISSN: 1546-1726.

Zhou C, Ding L, Deel ME, Ferrick EA, Emeson RB, Gallagher MJ. Altered intrathalamic GABAA neurotransmission in a mouse model of a human genetic absence epilepsy syndrome. Neurobiol. Dis [print-electronic]. 2015 Jan; 73: 407-17. PMID: 25447232, PMCID: PMC4418938, PII: S0969-9961(14)00334-9, DOI: 10.1016/j.nbd.2014.10.021, ISSN: 1095-953X.

Zhou C, Huang Z, Ding L, Deel ME, Arain FM, Murray CR, Patel RS, Flanagan CD, Gallagher MJ. Altered cortical GABAA receptor composition, physiology, and endocytosis in a mouse model of a human genetic absence epilepsy syndrome. J. Biol. Chem [print-electronic]. 2013 Jul 7/19/2013; 288(29): 21458-72. PMID: 23744069, PMCID: PMC3774412, PII: M112.444372, DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M112.444372, ISSN: 1083-351X.

Rakhade SN, Fitzgerald EF, Klein PM, Zhou C, Sun H, Huganir RL, Jensen FE. Glutamate receptor 1 phosphorylation at serine 831 and 845 modulates seizure susceptibility and hippocampal hyperexcitability after early life seizures. J. Neurosci. 2012 Dec 12/5/2012; 32(49): 17800-12. PMID: 23223299, PMCID: PMC3574823, PII: 32/49/17800, DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6121-11.2012, ISSN: 1529-2401.

Zhou C, Lippman JJ, Sun H, Jensen FE. Hypoxia-induced neonatal seizures diminish silent synapses and long-term potentiation in hippocampal CA1 neurons. J. Neurosci. 2011 Dec 12/14/2011; 31(50): 18211-22. PMID: 22171027, PMCID: PMC3282023, PII: 31/50/18211, DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4838-11.2011, ISSN: 1529-2401.

Zhou C, Jensen FE, Sucher NJ. Altered development of glutamatergic synapses in layer V pyramidal neurons in NR3A knockout mice. Mol. Cell. Neurosci [print-electronic]. 2009 Dec; 42(4): 419-26. PMID: 19782137, PMCID: PMC2818217, PII: S1044-7431(09)00209-7, DOI: 10.1016/j.mcn.2009.09.004, ISSN: 1095-9327.

Rakhade SN, Zhou C, Aujla PK, Fishman R, Sucher NJ, Jensen FE. Early alterations of AMPA receptors mediate synaptic potentiation induced by neonatal seizures. J. Neurosci. 2008 Aug 8/6/2008; 28(32): 7979-90. PMID: 18685023, PMCID: PMC2679369, PII: 28/32/7979, DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1734-08.2008, ISSN: 1529-2401.

Manning SM, Talos DM, Zhou C, Selip DB, Park HK, Park CJ, Volpe JJ, Jensen FE. NMDA receptor blockade with memantine attenuates white matter injury in a rat model of periventricular leukomalacia. J. Neurosci. 2008 Jun 6/25/2008; 28(26): 6670-8. PMID: 18579741, PMCID: PMC2800040, PII: 28/26/6670, DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1702-08.2008, ISSN: 1529-2401.

Zhou C, Dacheux RF. Glycine- and GABA-activated inhibitory currents on axon terminals of rabbit cone bipolar cells. Vis. Neurosci. 2005 Nov; 22(6): 759-67. PMID: 16469186, PII: S095252380522607X, DOI: 10.1017/S095252380522607X, ISSN: 0952-5238.

Zhou C, Dacheux RF. All amacrine cells in the rabbit retina possess AMPA-, NMDA-, GABA-, and glycine-activated currents. Vis. Neurosci. 2004 Mar; 21(2): 181-8. PMID: 15259569, PII: S0952523804042099, ISSN: 0952-5238.

Available Postdoctoral Position Details
Posted: 8/21/2018

Postdoctoral Fellow Opportunity (neuroscience) in homeostatic synaptic plasticity and epilepsy at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center

We are seeking a post-doctoral researcher to work in the epilepsy brain disorder laboratory at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee to begin on Sep 1, 2019. Dr. Chengwen Zhou is a neuroscientist and the principal investigator using transgenic animals with GABA receptor subunit mutations and expressing ChR2/NpHR, in vitro brain slice recording, in vivo intracranial EEG, and optogenetic techniques to explore how brain network triggers seizure activity by sleep/emotion-related homeostatic plasticity mechanism. Brain networks involved in normal cognitive processes will also be examined. This postdoc position will be focused on recording brain activity in small animals before and after surgery and in vivo optogenetic manipulation of brain activity. A major goal of the lab is to understand how brain epileptic network/circuits in IGE model lead to seizure onset and co-morbidities such as cognition dysfunction/other diseases. This position requires a Ph.D. in neuroscience, neurophysiology, or a related field. Prior experience in EEG recordings, proficiency in MATLAB, and small animal surgery is preferred but not required. Both pending Ph.D. graduates and individuals who have completed previous post-doc training will be considered. An excellent academic record is critical, including publications, national meeting presentations, and experience in grant application. Applicants must be reliable, honest, hard-working, independent, and possess excellent communication skills. A minimum time commitment of one year is expected, with the potential opportunity for renewal. Salary will be commensurate with University guidelines, and benefits will be provided.

To apply, please email Dr. Chengwen Zhou with a cover letter detailing your interest in this position (including your past relevant research, work experiences and career goals), your current curriculum vitae, and contact information for 3 references.

Principal Investigator:

Chengwen Zhou, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Neurology

MRB III, Suite 6128

Vanderbilt University Medical Center Dept Neurology

465 21st Ave. South

Nashville, TN 37240-7915