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.

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse Research Activities and Funding
    Warm sensitive neurons that control body temperature
    NIH/NINDS R01NS094781Apr 1, 2016 - Mar 31, 2021
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Neural Dynamics Underlying Feeding
    NIH/NIDDK R01DK106399Sep 20, 2015 - Jun 30, 2020
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Sequencing Neural Circuits Controlling Thermoregulation
    NIH/NIDDK DP2DK109533Sep 15, 2015 - Jun 30, 2020
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Mechanisms of Leptin Resistance
    NIH/NIDDK R00DK083531Sep 1, 2012 - Jul 31, 2015
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Mechanisms of Leptin Resistance
    NIH/NIDDK K99DK083531Apr 5, 2009 - Mar 31, 2012
    Role: Principal Investigator

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