Dr. Sika Zheng
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences
School of Medicine

Office : (951) 827-7670
e-mail : sika.zheng@ucr.edu
Our lab studies the activity, mechanism, function and dysfunction of gene regulation at the RNA level, coding and noncoding, in our most complex organ--brain.

Neuron is arguably one of the most morphologically complicated cell types in our body. In addition, we (and many other mammals) are estimated to have as many as thousand different subtypes of neurons, whereas C. elegans, equipped with a similar number of genes, has only a total of 302 neurons. The complexity and diversity of our neurons is the result of millions of years of evolution that have given cells the ability to diverge at the molecular level. Our lab is most interested in emerging regulatory mechanisms that produce cell-type specific gene expression, and their actions underlying neuronal differentiation and maturation. We are currently working on alternative pre-mRNA splicing , nonsense-mediated mRNA decay and long non-coding RNA. We are also investigating how their mis-regulation underlies various neurodevelopmental disorders.

Our lab takes a multi-disciplinary approach spanning neurobiology, genetics, genomics, cell biology, RNA molecular biology and computational biology. We utilize various cutting edge technologies including stem cells, high-throughput functional screening, next generation sequencing, informatics, CLIP and sophisticated microscopy.

More information on the Zheng lab


NIH Pathway to Independence Award, Sydney Finegold Award, Fine Science Tools Award for Excellence in Neuroscience Research, MBI Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Pre-doctoral Fellowship (American Heart Association), Distinguished Graduate Award, Procter & Gamble Fellowship, NOVO NORDISK Fellowship, "12.9" Fellowship.


Li Q, Zheng S, Han A, Lin C, Stoilov P, Fu XD, Black DL The splicing regulator PTBP2 controls a program of embryonic splicing required for neuronal maturation. eLife 2014 Jan 21; 3(0): e01201 (PMC3896118).

Zheng S, Black DL Alternative pre-mRNA splicing in neurons: growing up and extending its reach. Trends Genet 2013 Aug;29(8):442-8.

Zheng S, Damoiseaux R, Chen L, Black DL A broadly applicable high-throughput screening strategy identifies new regulators of Dlg4 (Psd-95) alternative splicing. Genome Research 2013 23(6): p. 998-1007.

Zheng S, Gray EE, Chawla G, Porse BT, O'Dell TJ, Black DL PSD-95 is post-transcriptionally repressed during early neural development by PTBP1 and PTBP2.Nat Neurosci 2012 Jan 15;15(3):381-8 (PMC3288398).

Tang ZZ, Sharma S, Zheng S, Chawla G, Nikolic J, Black DL Regulation of the mutually exclusive exons 8a and 8 in the CaV1.2 calcium channel transcript by polypyrimidine tract-binding protein. J Biol Chem 2011 Mar 25;286(12):10007-16.

Zheng S, Eacker SM, Hong SJ, Gronostajski RM, Dawson TM, Dawson VL NMDA-induced neuronal survival is mediated through nuclear factor I-A in mice. J Clin Invest 2010 Jul;120(7):2446-56.

Tang ZZ, Zheng S, Nikolic J, Black DL Developmental control of CaV1.2 L-type calcium channel splicing by Fox proteins. Mol Cell Biol 2009 Sep;29(17):4757-65.

Zheng S, Chen L A hierarchical Bayesian model for comparing transcriptomes at the individual transcript isoform level. Nucleic Acids Res 2009 Jun;37(10):e75.

Chen L, Zheng S Studying alternative splicing regulatory networks through partial correlation analysis. Genome Biol 2009;10(1):R3.

Chen L, Zheng S Identify alternative splicing events based on position-specific evolutionary conservation. PLoS One 2008 Jul 30;3(7):e2806.

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