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Title : Dr.
First Name : STEPHEN
Last Name : ZHANG
University/Institution : Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Email ID : xzhang16@bidmc.harvard.edu
City : Boston
Country : United States
State : Massachusetts
Zipcode : 02215
Department : Medicine
Company Name :
Area of Research
Area of Expertise
Neurobiology of motivation
Brief Description of Research Interest :

I study how the motivation to mate is represented in the brain and used to guide behaviors. Compared to other basic motivations such as hunger and thirst, our understanding of mating drive remains superficial even in the most advanced systems. A key insight comes from the observations that Parkinsonian patients who take the drug L-DOPAto boost dopamine production in the brain often develop hyper-sexuality side effects. Using modern neuroscientific tools such as optogenetics, fiber photometry, and two-photon microscopy, my research program aims to dissect out the dopaminergic network that represents mating drive, study how the motivation is dialed up and down, as well as understand how the dopamine signal is used to motivate mating behaviors in flies and mice. In addition to understanding mating drive, another goal of this research is to inspire novel, target-specific treatment for hypo-sexuality disorders that are caused by aging, medications, mental illness, and substance abuse.

Representative Publications :

Zhang, S.X., Rogulja, D.,Crickmore, M.A. (2019) Recurrent activity simultaneously sustains motivationand prepares for satiety, Current Biology, 29, 3216-3228.

Zhang, S.X., Miner, L.E., Boutros,C.L., Rogulja, D, Crickmore, M.A. (2018) Motivation, perception, and chanceconverge to make a binary decision, Neuron, 99, 376-388.

Zhang, S.X., Rogulja, D.,Crickmore, M.A. (2016) Dopaminergic circuitry underlying mating drive. Neuron,91, 168-181.

Zhang, S.X., Glantz, E.H., Rogulja,D., Crickmore, M.A. Hormonal control of motivational circuitry orchestrates thetransition to sexuality in Drosophila, preprint at bioRxiv.