Ying Zhang

Associate Professor

Y Zhang

Email: ying.zhang@dal.ca
Phone: 902-494-6908
Mailing Address: 
Department of Medical Neuroscience, 
Dalhousie University, Life Sciences Research Institute, 1348 Summer Street, 
Halifax, Nova Scotia
, Canada 
B3H 4R2


  • PhD (Cornell University)

Research interests

The fundamental goal of Dr. Zhang’s laboratory research is to understand the organization of neural circuits that control locomotion and identify mechanisms underlying locomotor behaviors.

Selected publications

  • Deska-Gauthier D, Borowska-Fielding J, Jones C, Zhang Y* (2019) The temporal neurogenesis patterning of spinal p3-V3 interneurons into divergent subpopulation assemblies. J Neurosci. 40(7): 1440-1452
  • Danner S, Zhang H, Shevtsova NA, Borowska J, Deska-Gauthier D, Rybak IA*, Zhang Y* (2019) Spinal V3 interneurons and left-right coordination in mammalian locomotion. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, https://doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2019.00516
  • Sharples SA, Burma NE, Borowska-Fielding J, Kwok CHT, Eaton SEA, Baker GB, Jean-Xavier C, Zhang Y, Trang T, Whelan PJ (2019) A dynamic role for dopamine receptors in the control of mammalian spinal networks. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/715326
  • Liu Y, Qi J, Chen X, Tang M, Chu C, Zhu W, Li H, Tian C, Yang G, Zhong C, Zhang Y, Ni G, He S, Chai R, Zhong G (2019). Critical role of spectrin in hearing development and deafness. Sci Adv. 17;5(4)
  • Deska-Gauthier D and Zhang Y (2019). The functional diversity of spinal interneurons and locomotor control. Currrent Opinion in Physiology, Volume 8: 99-108
  • Lin S, Li Y, Lucas-Osma, Hari K, Stephens MJ, Singla, R, CJH, Zhang Y, Fouad K, Fenrich KK, Bennett DG (2019) Locomotor-related V3 interneurons initiate and coordinate muscles spasms after spinal cord injury. J Neurophysiol 121(4): 1352-1367
  • Chopek JW, Nascimento F, Beato M, Brownstone RB*, and Zhang Y* (2018) Sub-populations of spinal V3 interneurons form focal modules of layered pre-motor microcircuits. Cell Rep 25(1): 146-156.e3. doi: 10.1016
  • Peng J, Ferent J, Li Q, Liu M, Da Silva, R, Zeilhofer H, Kania A, Zhang Y*, Charron F* (2018) Loss of Dcc in the spinal cord is sufficient to cause a deficit in lateralized motor control and the switch to a hopping gait. Developmental Dynamics 247(4):620-629
  • Gosgnach S*, Bikoff JB, Dougherty KJ, El Manira A, Lanuza GM, Zhang Y* (2017) Delineating the diversity of spinal interneurons in locomotor circuits. J Neurosci. 37(45):10835-10841
  • Magown P, Shettar B, Zhang Y*, Rafuse VF*. Direct optical activation of skeletal muscle fibers efficiently controls muscle contraction and atttenuates dnervation atrophy due to injury. Nature Communication 6:8506
  • Borowska J, Jones CT, Deska-Gauthier D, Zhang Y* (2015). V3 interneuron subpopulations in the mouse spinal cord undergo distinctive  postnatal maturation processes. Neuroscience 295:221-8
  • Blacklaws J, Deska-Gauthier D, Jones CT, Petracca YL, Liu M, Zhang H, Fawcett JP, Glover JC, Lanuza GM and Zhang Y* (2015). Sim1 is required for the migration and axonal projections of V3 interneurons in the developing mouse spinal cord. Dev Neurobiol 75(9):1003-17
  • Toma JS, Shettar BC, Chipman PH, Pinto DM, Borowska J, Ichida JK, Fawcett JP, Zhang Y, Eggan K, Rafuse VF (2015) Motoneurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells develop mature phenotypes typical of endogenous spinal motoneurons. J Neurosci 35(3):1291-306
  • Zhang J, Lanuza GM, Britz O, Wang Z, Siembab VC, Zhang Y, Velasquez T, Alvarez FJ, Frank E, Goulding M. (2014) V1 and v2b interneurons secure the alternating flexor-extensor motor activity mice require for limbed locomotion. Neuron. 2014 Apr 2;82(1):138-50
  • Chipman PH, Zhang Y, Rafuse VF (2014) A stem-cell based bioassay to critically assess the pathology of dysfunctional neuromuscular junctions..PLoS One. 2014 Mar 13;9(3):e91643
  • Borowska J, Jones CT, Zhang H, Blacklaws J, Goulding M, Zhang Y (2013).Functional subpopulations of V3 interneurons in the mature mouse spinal cord. J Neurosci. 2013 Nov 20;33(47):18553-65
  • Zhang, Y, Narayan, S, Geiman, E, Lanuza, GM, Velasquez,T, Shanks, B, Akay, T, Dyck, J, Gosnach, S, Fan, C-M,  Goulding, M (2008). V3 spinal neurons are necessary for generating a robust and balanced locomotor rhythm.  Neuron 60, 84 -97. (Reviewed and recommended by Neuron, Nature Reviews Neuroscience and Faculty of 1000)
  • Gosgnach, S, Lanuza, GM,  Saueressig, H, Butt, S, Zhang, Y, Velasquez, T, Callaway, E, Kiehn, O, and Goulding M, (2006). V1 neurons serve a critical and evolutionary conserved role in vertebrate locomotion. Nature 440, 215-219