Haining Zhong, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Vollum Institute
  • Scientist, Vollum Institute
  • Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine


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 2010, he was appointed as an assistant scientist at the Vollum Institute and was promoted to scientist in 2015.

We study how the brain is regulated and changed to allow the animal to adapt to and excel in the ever-changing world. Our focus is on two types of regulations — neuromodulation and experience-dependent plasticity — using rodents as the experimental model. We harness the advantages of both in vitro and in vivo experiments depending on the specific question using a variety of approaches, including advanced microscopy, electrophysiology, optogenetics, mouse genetics, CRISPR-based gene editing, and computation. Because novel technology enables us to ask long standing questions in new ways, we also actively adapt and develop the relevant technologies, such as endogenous protein labeling, biosensors for subcellular signaling pathways and microscopy. Learn more about Dr. Zhong’s research at the Vollum Institute.

Education and training

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

Areas of interest

  • photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM)
  • two-photon fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (2PFLIM)
  • fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) microscopy
  • CRISPR/Cas9-based gene editing
  • in vivo imaging of neuromodulation and subcellular signaling in awake animals
  • protein and signaling dynamics during plasticity, cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA) signaling, labeling of endogenous proteins
  • dopamine, striatum, mouse locomotion

Honors and awards

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



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