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Neuroscience Graduate Program at UCSF

Faculty -Jonah R. Chan, Ph.D.

Neuronal/Glial Interactions that Control Myelination

Research Description

Neurons and glia share a mutual dependence in establishing a functional relationship that is controlled by the integration of complex molecular signals and pathways. These reciprocal interactions control multiple cellular processes, including survival, proliferation, migration, cell-fate determination, and differentiation. The formation of myelin is an exquisite and dynamic example of cell-cell interaction that involves the myelin-forming cell and the neuron. The myelin sheath is responsible for the rapid propagation of the action potential, which is functionally essential for the long-distance communication in the nervous system. My research interests are to understand these fundamental glial/neuronal interactions and the molecular mechanisms that regulate myelination. More importantly, the implications of my research relate specifically to the identification of new target molecules and signaling pathways in the development of potential therapeutics for demyelinating diseases. Recent findings and technical advances with both PNS and CNS glia provide a rare opportunity to characterize these target molecules and signaling pathways.

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Current Projects

See Research Description

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Lab Members

Stephanie Redmond, BS
Graduate Student

Ainhoa Echeverria, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Angela T. Hahn, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Seonok Lee, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow/Specialist

Sonia Mayoral, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Feng Mei, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Yun-An A. Shen, MS
Specialist/Lab Manager

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Selected Publications

Mei, F., Wang, H., Liu, S., Niu, J., Wang, L., He, Y., Etxeberria, A., Chan, J. R., Xiao, L. Stage-specific Deletion of Olig2 Conveys Opposing Functions on Differentiation and Maturation of Oligodendrocytes. J Neurosci, 33:8454-62. 2013.

Lee, S., Chong, S. Y., Tuck, S. J., Corey, J. M., Chan, J. R. A Rapid and Reproducible Assay for Modeling Myelination by Oligodendrocytes using Engineered Nanofibers. Nature Protocols, 8:771-782, 2013.

Yu, Y., Chen, Y., Kim, B., Wang, H., Zhao, C., He, X., Liu, L., Liu, W., Wu, L. N., Mao, M., Chan, J. R., Wu, J. and Lu Q. R. Olig2 Targets Chromatin Remodelers to Enhancers to Initiate Oligodendrocyte Differentiation. Cell, 152:248-261, 2013.

Yamauchi, J., Miyamoto, Y., Torii, T., Takashima, S., Kondo, K., Kawahara, K., Nemoto, N., Chan, J. R., Tsujimoto, G., and Tanoue A. Phosphorylation of Cytohesin-1 by Fyn Regulates Initiation of Myelination and Myelin Membrane Extent during Development. Sci Signal, 5:ra69, 2012.

Lee, S. O., Leach, M., Redmond, S.A., Chong, S. Y. C., Mellon, S., Tuck, S. J., Feng, Z., Corey, J. M., and Chan, J. R. A Culture System to Study Oligodendrocyte Myelination Processes using Engineered Nanofibers. Nature Methods, 9:917-922, 2012.

Redmond, S. A. and Chan, J. R. Revitalizing Remyelination: The Answer is Circulating. Science, 336: 161-162, 2012.

Chong, S. Y., Rosenberg, S. S., Fancy, S. P., Zhao, C., Shen, Y. A., Hahn, A. T., McGee, A. W., Xu, X., Zheng, B., Zhang, L. I., Rowitch, D. H., Franklin, R. J., Lu, Q. R. and Chan, J. R. Neurite Outgrowth Inhibitor Nogo-A Establishes Spatial Segregation and Extent of Myelination during Development. PNAS, 109:1299-1304, 2012.

Tep, C., Kim, M. L., Opincariu, L. I., Limpert, A. S., Chan, J. R., Appel, B., Carter, B. D. and Yoon, S. O. Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Induces Polarized Signaling of Small GTPase (Rac1) Protein at the Onset of Schwann Cell Myelination through Partitioning-defective 3 (Par3) Protein. J Biol Chem, 287:1600-1608, 2012.

Fancy, S. P. J., Chan, J. R., Baranzini, S. E., Franklin, R. J. M., and Rowitch, D. H. Myelin Regeneration: A Recapitulation of Development? Ann Rev Neurosci 34:21-43, 2011.

Lewallen, K. A., Shen, Y. A., De La Torre, A. R., Ng, B. K., Meijer, D., and Chan, J. R. Assessing the Role of N-cadherin at the Schwann Cell-Axon Interface and in the Initiation of Myelination. J Neurosci, 31:3032-3043, 2011.

Kim, Y., Chen, J., Langen, R. and Chan, J. R. Monitoring Apoptosis and Neuronal Degeneration by Real-time Detection of Phosphatidylserine Externalization. Nature Protocols, 5:1396-1405, 2010.

Chong, S. Y. C. and Chan, J. R. Tapping into the Glial Reservoir: Cells Committed to Remain Uncommitted. J. Cell Biol., 188:305-312, 2010.

Kim, Y., Chen, J., Chan, J. R., and Langen, R. Engineering a Polarity Sensitive Biosensor for Time-Lapse Imaging of Apoptosis. Nature Methods, 7:63-73, 2010.

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Jonah R. Chan, Ph.D.



Office Phone


Lab Phone

415-502-7176, room 260

Office Address

UCSF MC 3206
675 Nelson Rising Lane, Room 214C
San Francisco, CA 94158

Other Websites

Neurology Website

UCSF Profile