New faculty spotlight: Yang Zhou

"The Neuro is an amazing place because it’s a very good mixture of basic neuroscience research and clinical neuroscience."

Yang Zhou is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University and a principal investigator at The Neuro.

He joined us in 2019 after completed his post-doctoral training and scientist position at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT. At The Neuro, Zhou is leading a research group intending to reveal the neurobiological mechanisms underlie developmental brain disorders and search for therapeutic clues with interdisciplinary approaches.

 

What made you decide to come to The Neuro?

I heard many good things about The Neuro for many years. When I was in school we learned about the neurosurgery that was pioneered by Dr. Penfield. I think it was in the 1930s right after he founded the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital.

We learned about how a decade afterwards he and his colleagues developed the Montreal Procedure, an effective method to treat epilepsy patients.

 

What will be your research focus?

I am most interested in early developmental disorders caused by gene mutations. Specifically, I'm interested in genes that are related to the development of synapse connectivity and circuit information in the brain. We want to understand how this genetic mutation causes abnormal synaptic connectivity, abnormal circuit function and how this genetic mutation causes behavioral neuro-circuitry change that are relevant to autism, schizophrenia and other disorders.

 

How will coming to The Neuro aid your work?

The Neuro is an amazing place because it’s a very good mixture of basic neuroscience research and clinical neuroscience. This is probably the most research intensive neurological hospital in the world in my opinion. Here we can gather clinical information about neurological disease in patients and examine related biology and pathology in models to learn more about the diseases and possible therapies.

 

How do you feel about moving to Montreal?

Montreal this is very different than any city other I lived in, like Shanghai and Boston. It's fascinating because there are many multicultural features to the city. So far we are really enjoying living here. The most amazing thing is seeing my son start to learn French. He's really liking the bilingual language daycare he is attending. We have only been here for four months but so far he’s really enjoying it.

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The Neuro is a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering the highest quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.