Florida State University
Dr. Xiaobing Zhang is currently accepting new graduate students.

Dr. Xiaobing Zhang

Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

PDB B339


The research of our lab focuses on the neural circuits that controls eating behavior and body weight. We use a variety of techniques including optogenetics, electrophysiology, immunocytochemistry and virus-mediated circuit tracing to elucidate how neural circuits for feeding and reward in the mammalian brain are merged to regulate eating behavior. Our research goal is to understand the central mechanism of eating disorders and obesity.
Current Research
1) Hedonic eating and binge eating disorders: Although the central mechanism for binge eating disorder remains largely unknown, more and more studies suggest that brain reward system is involved in the development of binge eating disorder. Recently, we reported that activation of an inhibitory neural circuit from zona incerta to paraventricular thalamus rapidly evokes binge-like eating of palatable food. Based on this finding, we currently focus on zona incerta and paraventricular thalamus to further understand how these regions link to brain reward center for regulating hedonic eating. We also study the neural circuit dysfunction and synaptic modification in mice with eating disorders and obesity. 2) Hypothalamus and energy homeostasis: Hypothalamic neurons play a critical role in controlling energy homeostasis of our body. Using slice electrophysiology in combination with optogenetics, we study how neuropeptide modulates neurotransmission inside hypothalamus for the regulation of food intake. We are also interested in the functional circuit connection of hypothalamic neurons to other brain areas outside of hypothalamus such as brain reward and emotion centers.
Recent Publications
Zhang X, Song Y, Ding Y, Wang W, Liao L, Zhong J, Sun P, Lei F, Zhang Y, Xie W (2018). Effects of Mogrosides on High-Fat-Diet-Induced Obesity and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Mice. Molecules, E1894. PubMed
Zhang X, van den Pol AN (2017). Rapid binge-like eating and body weight gain driven by zona incerta GABA neuron activation. Science, 356(6340):853-859. PubMed
Blanco-Centurion C, Liu M, Konadhode RP, Zhang X, Pelluru D, van den Pol AN, Shiromani PJ (2016). Optogenetic activation of melanin-concentrating hormone neurons increases non-rapid eye movement and rapid eye movement sleep during the night in rats.. Eur J Neurosci, 44(10):2846-2857. PubMed
Han W, Tellez LA, Niu J, Medina S, Ferreira TL, Zhang X, Su J, Tong J, Schwartz GJ, van den Pol A, de Araujo IE (2016). Striatal Dopamine Links Gastrointestinal Rerouting to Altered Sweet Appetite. Cell Metab, 23(1):103-12. PubMed
Tellez LA, Han W, Zhang X, Ferreira TL, Perez IO, Shammah-Lagnado SJ, van den Pol AN, de Araujo IE. (2016). Separate circuitries encode the hedonic and nutritional values of sugar. Nat Neurosci, 19(3):465-70. PubMed
Zhang X, van den Pol AN (2016). Hypothalamic arcuate nucleus tyrosine hydroxylase neurons play orexigenic role in energy homeostasis. Nat Neurosci, 19(10):1341-7. PubMed
Zhang X, van den Pol AN (2015). Dopamine/Tyrosine Hydroxylase Neurons of the Hypothalamic Arcuate Nucleus Release GABA, Communicate with Dopaminergic and Other Arcuate Neurons, and Respond to Dynorphin, Met-Enkephalin, and Oxytocin. J Neurosci, 35(45):14966-82. PubMed

Neuro Grads and Postdocs

Qiying Ye, Graduate Student

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