Chaolin Zhang

Chaolin Zhang


Assistant Professor, Department of Systems Biology


Department of Systems Biology
Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics


(212) 305-9354

Chaolin Zhang uses a combination of computational and experimental methods to infer RNA regulatory networks in the nervous system. In particular, he is interested in characterizing the regulatory networks that specify neuronal cell types, and how how these networks can be compromised in certain pathologic contexts, such as brain tumors and neurodegenerative diseases.

After completing his PhD training at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Stony Brook University, he was a member of Robert Darnell’s laboratory at the Rockefeller University, initially as a postdoctoral associate and later as a research assistant professor. While there, he studied neuron-specific RNA regulatory networks by developing an integrative modeling approach that combines multiple types of high-throughput data, including transcriptome profiles and protein-RNA interaction maps. He joined the Columbia Initiative in Systems Biology in 2012.

More News


Postdoc Suying Bao Named Precision Medicine Fellow
Congratulations to Suying Bao, postdoctoral research scientist in the Chaolin Zhang lab, for recently being named an inaugural Precision Medicine Research fellow by Columbia’s Irving Institute of Clinical and Translational Research. The two-year fellowship aims to train postdocs to use genomics and complex clinical data to improve personalized and tailored clinical care and clinical outcomes.
New Insights on How the Reprogramming Factor LIN28 Regulates its Targets
A new study, led by Systems Biology Assistant Professor Chaolin Zhang, sheds light on a critical RNA-binding protein that is widely researched for its role in stem cell biology and its ties to cancer progression in multiple tissues. Published as the cover story in the journal, Molecular Cell, the study reveals how the LIN28 protein suppresses a specific family of microRNAs, called Let-7, which are selectively lost in cancer.
PhD Graduate Sebastien Weyn Wins Coan Prize for Exceptional Research
Sebastien Weyn, a graduating PhD student in the Zhang lab, has been awarded the Titus M. Coan Prize for Excellence in Research. Weyn will be honored during the May 13 Hooding Ceremony at the College of Physicians and Surgeons for his outstanding work in basic cell and molecular research.
Research Unveils a Developmental Splicing Program Controlling Neuronal Maturation and Excitability
In a new study, Professors Chaolin Zhang and Hynek Wichterle determined that loss of Rbfox genes results in an “embryonic like” splicing program. They observed a significant disruption of the assembly of the axon initial segment, which is key for clustering of ion channels, and thus, for neurons to fire action potentials.
DAMAGES: A Method for Predicting Rare Disease Risk Genes
Looking for distinctive gene expression patterns in different brain cell types offers a more efficient way to search for genetic alterations implicated in autism and reveals a molecular signature of the disorder.