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Prof. Mingjie Zhang from University of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology delivered the BEI Shizhang Lecture

Author: Update time: 2018-12-03

On Nov 19th, 2018, Prof. Mingjie Zhang from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), invited by Prof. Pingsheng Liu, visited IBP and gave a BEI Shizhang Lecture entitled “Formation of Neuronal Synaptic Signaling Complex ---a new phase of research”.

Prof. Mingjie Zhang is a chair professor in the Division of Life Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), and also the director of the Centre of Systems Biology and Human Health, HKUST. He was elected as a member of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2011. Prof. Zhang’s group is primarily working on synaptic signal transduction complex organizations by various scaffold proteins (e.g. PDZ domain proteins), and the dynamics of various signaling complex assemblies, by investigating regulated protein-protein interactions in synapses.

Synapses are semi-membraneless, protein-dense, sub-micron chemical reaction compartments responsible for signal processing in each and every neuron. Proper formation and dynamic responses to stimulations of synapses, both during development and in adult, are fundamental to functions of mammalian brains. Prof. Zhang’s group has built a molecular platform for understanding how neuronal synapses are formed and dynamically regulated. They used a biochemical reconstitution approach showed both in solution and on supported membrane bilayers, multivalent interaction networks formed by major excitatory postsynaptic density (PSD) scaffold proteins led to formation of PSD-like assemblies via phase separation. The reconstituted PSD-like assemblies can cluster receptors, selectively concentrate enzymes, promote actin bundle formation, and expel inhibitory postsynaptic proteins. Additionally, the condensed phase PSD assemblies have features that are distinct from those in homogeneous solutions and fit for synaptic functions.

Prof. Mingjie Zhang gave the lecture as a lively scientific research story for the audience. The academic atmosphere of the report was strong, and participants showed great interests. After the lecture, Prof. Zhang and the audience shared their views on the issues of common interest.


 Prof. MingJie Zhang was giving the lecture 

Prof. Pingsheng Liu hosted the lecturer 

Prof. MingJie Zhang was giving the lecture 


The Audience


    Reported by Liu Pingsheng's group

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