Peng Zhang, Ph.D.

Research Associate, University of British Columbia

SFARI Bridge to Independence Awardee

During his doctoral training, Peng Zhang gained expertise in glycobiology and developmental neurobiology, demonstrating an important role for glycans in brain development. Zhang went on to join the laboratory of Ann-Marie Craig at the University of British Columbia as a postdoctoral fellow, where he worked on understanding the importance of synaptic cell adhesion molecules in regulating synapse development in cell and mouse model systems.

Recently, Zhang and colleagues found that attachment of a glycan heparan sulfate (HS) and further 3-O-sulfation of the HS moiety regulate synaptic structure and function by altering neurexin-ligand binding affinities. Zhang now plans to assess how enhancements to and blockade of HS 3-O-sulfation alter neurexin-ligand binding and what affect this has on synaptic function in autism mouse models.

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