Zachary Knight, PhD
|School||UCSF School of Medicine|
|Address||1550 4th Street, Bldg 19B|
San Francisco CA 94158
|2016||Helmholtz Young Investigator in Diabetes Award|
|2016||Pathway Award - American Diabetes Association|
|2015||NIH New Innovator Award|
|2015||Rita Allen Scholar Award|
|2014||Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship in Neuroscience|
|2013||Klingenstein Fellowship in Neurosciences|
|2013||NYSCF-Roberston Investigator Award|
|2013||McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award|
|2013||NARSAD Young Investigator Award|
|2009||NIH Pathway to Independence Award|
|2007||Life Sciences Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship|
|2006||UCSF Krevans Distinguished Dissertation Award|
|2002||Grand Prize Winner, National Collegiate Inventors Competition|
|2001||Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship|
|2000||ARCS Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship|
My laboratory studies the neurobiology of homeostasis in the mouse, including especially the mechanisms that control hunger, thirst, and body temperature. Our goal is to eludicate the structure and dynamics of the underlying neural circuits, so that we can begin to understand how these circuits give rise to motivated behaviors and further how they become dysregulated in conditions such as obesity. To address this challenge, we develop new technologies that enable the use of RNA sequencing to molecularly profile neurons that have specific activity patterns or connectivity. My lab has used these tools to discover new populations of neurons in the mouse brain that control feeding, drinking, and thermoregulation, and we are currently studying these cells and their associated circuits using a variety of modern approaches in neuroscience including mouse genetics, optogenetics, viral tracing, in vivo calcium imaging, and electrophysiology. Recently, my lab reported the discovery that AgRP and POMC neurons, two key cell types in the mouse brain that control hunger, are rapidly reset by sensory cues associated with food -- a finding that challenges longstanding assumptions about how the brain controls feeding. An ongoing interest of the lab is to understand how these and other homeostatic circuits integrate sensory information from the outside world with internal signals arising from the body in order to generate and shape goal-directed behaviors.
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