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, van den Pol AN, Rapid binge-like eating and body weight gain driven by zona incerta GABA neuron activation., Science, 2017 PubMed
Han W, Tellez LA, Rangel MJ Jr, Motta SC, Zhang X, Perez IO, Canteras NS, Shammah-Lagnado SJ, van den Pol AN, de Araujo IE., Integrated Control of Predatory Hunting by the Central Nucleus of the Amygdala., Cell, 2017 PubMed
Blanco-Centurion C, Liu M, Konadhode RP, Zhang X, Pelluru D, van den Pol AN, Shiromani PJ, 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, 2016 PubMed
Zhang X, van den Pol AN, Hypothalamic arcuate nucleus tyrosine hydroxylase neurons play orexigenic role in energy homeostasis., Nat Neurosci, 2016 PubMed
Tellez LA, Han W, Zhang X, Ferreira TL, Perez IO, Shammah-Lagnado SJ, van den Pol AN, de Araujo IE., Separate circuitries encode the hedonic and nutritional values of sugar., Nat Neurosci, 2016 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., Striatal Dopamine Links Gastrointestinal Rerouting to Altered Sweet Appetite., Cell Metab, 2016 PubMed
Zhang X, van den Pol AN, 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, 2015 PubMed
Zhang X, van den Pol AN, Direct inhibition of arcuate proopiomelanocortin neurons: a potential mechanism for the orexigenic actions of dynorphin., J Physiol, 2013 PubMed
Yao Y, Fu LY, Zhang X, van den Pol AN., Vasopressin and oxytocin excite MCH neurons, but not other lateral hypothalamic GABA neurons., Am J Physiol Requl Integr Comp Physiol, 2012 PubMed
Zhang X, van den Pol AN, Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) inhibits melanin-concentrating hormone neurons: implications for TRH-mediated anorexic and arousal actions., J Neurosci, 2012 PubMed
Zhang XB, Spergel DJ, Kisspeptin inhibits high-voltage activated Ca2+ channels in GnRH neurons via multiple Ca2+ influx and release pathways., Neuroendocrinology, 2012 PubMed
Jiang P, Kong Y, Zhang XB, Wang W, Liu CF, Xu TL., Glycine receptor in rat hippocampal and spinal cord neurons as a molecular target for rapid actions of 17-beta-estradiol., Mol Pain, 2009 PubMed
Zhang XB1, Jiang P, Gong N, Hu XL, Fei D, Xiong ZQ, Xu L, Xu TL., A-type GABA receptor as a central target of TRPM8 agonist menthol., PLoS One, 2008 PubMed
Yang CX, Zhang XB, Gong N, Wang MY, Xu TL., Differential effects of thiopental and pentobarbital on spinal GABA(A) receptors., Neurochem Res, 2008 PubMed
Zhang XB1, Sun GC, Liu LY, Yu F, Xu TL., Alpha2 subunit specificity of cyclothiazide inhibition on glycine receptors., Mol Pharmacol, 2008 PubMed
Gong N, Zhang M, Zhang XB, Chen L, Sun GC, Xu TL., The aspirin metabolite salicylate enhances neuronal excitation in rat hippocampal CA1 area through reducing GABAergic inhibition., Neuropharmacology, 2008 PubMed
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