Xin Zhang Lab

Location and Contact Information

701 W. 168th Street
Hammer Health Sciences Building, 2nd floor
New York, NY 10032
United States

Principal Investigator

The focus of our research is the mechanism of cell signaling during eye development. The eye is a prominent system to study signal transduction, not only because of its biomedical significance, but also because of the rich resource of experimental tools available in eye research. Previous studies have also identified multiple signaling pathways including FGF signaling in mediating cellular interactions in the eye. However, the specific signaling components of these pathways and their precise in vivo functions in the eye remain poorly understood. With the advent of genome wide analysis and the rapidly expanding collection of mouse models, it has now become increasingly important to determine the in vivo function of cell signaling by genetic approaches. We would therefore like to employ the formidable mouse genetic tools to ultimately determine the signaling pathways governing eye development.

Our studies encompass the lens, lacrimal gland and retina, three strikingly different tissues of the eye. We hope to use these models to find the commonalities of cell signaling that can explain the growth, differentiation and homeostasis of the ocular cells, making fundamental contributions to our understanding of the basic biology. There are millions of children in the world who are born with vision disorder, challenging clinicians to find new and better ways to treat these diseases. The medical advances need to be guided by the profound understanding how the human eyes are developed and what can go awry in pathological conditions. By focusing on the growth factor signaling, our studies may help us to understand how these congenital disorders are developed and to inspire future treatment for these diseases. The biological principle revealed in our study may also be broadly applicable to other organs and diseases where growth factor signaling is active.

Research Interests

  • Mechanism of FGF signaling in eye development
  • Molecular regulation of cell shape, adhesion and migration
  • Glial Development and Pathology