Zhang, Jin
Illuminating the Biochemical Activity Architecture of the Cell

Contact Information
Professor, Pharmacology

Office: Israni Biomed Res Facility1120
Phone: 858-246-0602
Email: jzhang32@ucsd.edu
Web: jinzhanglab.ucsd.edu
2000 PhD, Chemistry, University of Chicago
2015 - Professor, UC San Diego
2012 - 2015 Professor, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medine
2009 - 2012 Associate Professor, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medine
2003 - 2009 Assistant Professor, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medine
Awards and Academic Honors
National Institute of Cancer Outstanding Investigator Award
Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry, American Chemical Society
John J. Abel Award in Pharmacology, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET)
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Pioneer Award
Biophysical Society Margaret Oakley Dayhoff Award
American Heart Association National Scientist Development Award
Research Interests
Our ultimate goal is to understand how cells, the basic units of life, sense changing environments and orchestrate specific responses to carry out life processes. Recent years have seen tremendous progress in identifying the molecular components that constitute the structural, biochemical and mechanical networks that control various life processes. Less well developed is our understanding of how these components are precisely regulated to achieve functional specificity within a living cell, which may be simultaneously reacting to multiple inputs from the changing environment. We believe the key lies in the spatiotemporal information encoded in a particular cellular context.

We are investigating the molecular mechanisms and functional roles of such spatiotemporal regulation by taking a “native biochemistry” approach. This allows us to unravel the chemical mechanisms of life processes in the framework of cellular time and space, where molecular changes can be directly linked to functional effects. Work in the Zhang laboratory combines genetically encoded fluorescent biosensors, superresolution imaging, targeted biochemical perturbations and mathematic modeling to investigate the spatiotemporal regulation of the cAMP/PKA, Ca2+/calcineurin, PI3K/Akt/mTOR, MAPK and AMPK pathways in the context of energy metabolism, axon polarization and genesis, insulin secretion by β cells, as well as tumorigenesis.
Interdisciplinary interests
Cellular Biochemistry
Macromolecular Structure

Image Gallery

Fluorescent biosensors used in quantitative imaging and high-throughput compound screen

Selected Publications