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    Zachary Knight, PhD

    TitleAssistant Professor
    SchoolUCSF School of Medicine
    Address1550 4th Street, Bldg 19B
    San Francisco CA 94158
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      Collapse Biography 
      Collapse Awards and Honors
      2016Helmholtz Young Investigator in Diabetes Award
      2016Pathway Award - American Diabetes Association
      2015NIH New Innovator Award
      2015Rita Allen Scholar Award
      2014Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship in Neuroscience
      2013Klingenstein Fellowship in Neurosciences
      2013NYSCF-Roberston Investigator Award
      2013McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award
      2013NARSAD Young Investigator Award
      2009NIH Pathway to Independence Award
      2007Life Sciences Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
      2006UCSF Krevans Distinguished Dissertation Award
      2002Grand Prize Winner, National Collegiate Inventors Competition
      2001Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship
      2000ARCS Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship

      Collapse Overview 
      Collapse Overview
      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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