Photo of Haining Zhong, Ph.D.

Haining Zhong Ph.D.

Haining Zhong earned a B.A. in Biological Science and Biotechnology and B.Eng. in Electronics and Computer Science from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China in 1996. He received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2002. Zhong did postdoctoral training at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and then at the Janelia Farm Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 2009, he was appointed as an assistant scientist at the Vollum Institute and was promoted to scientist in 2015.

The brain is a complex network of billions of neurons which communicate with one another through trillions of very specialized connections called chemical synapses. These synapses and their experience-dependent plasticity are thought to be the fundamental mechanisms underlying an animal’s behavior, adaptation, learning, and memory. The Zhong lab is interested in the mechanisms by which the strength of a synapse is set and regulated at the cellular and molecular level. A current focus of the lab is to systematically characterize the abundance, stoichiometry, localization, and activity of critical synaptic proteins and how they are modulated by neuronal activity.

Areas of interest

  • photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM)
  • two-photon fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (2PFLIM)
  • fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) microscopy
  • protein dynamics
  • synaptic signaling


  • B.S., Tsinghua University, Beijing China 1996
  • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore Maryland 2002

Honors and awards

  • NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (2011-2016)
  • NARSAD Young Investigator Award, The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (2013-2015)


  • Zhong H. (2015) Applying superresolution localization-based microscopy to neurons. Synapse 69:283-294.

  • Hunnicutt BJ, Jongbloets BC, Birdsong WT, Gertz KJ, Zhong H, and Mao T. (2016) A comprehensive excitatory input map of the striatum reveals novel functional organization. Elife 5:e19103.

  • Shi W, Xianyu A, Han Z, Tang X, Li Z, Zhong H, Mao T, Huang K, and Shi SH. (2017) Ontogenetic establishment of order-specific nuclear organization in the mammalian thalamus. Nature Neurosci. 20:516-528.

  • Tillo SE, Xiong WH, Takahashi M, Miao S, Andrade AL, Fortin DA, Yang G, Qin M, Smoody BF, Stork PJS, and Zhong H. (2017) Liberated PKA catalytic subunits associate with the membrane via myristoylation to preferentially phosphorylate membrane substrates. Cell Reports 19:617-629.

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