Research Areas

Mental illnesses have a multifactorial etiology with a high heritability. Nowadays, it is general accepted that the individual risk for mental illness is composed of the interplay of genetic susceptibility and  environmental factors. Here, epigenetic mechanisms are believed to be the underlying mediators between genes and environment. Until now, the pathogenetic mechanisms of the psychiatric diseases such as depression, anxiety disorders as well as schizophrenia are unknown. Identification of the underlying molecular mechanisms is thus crucial for understanding of pathogenesis and for developing novel therapeutic targets for these diseases. Using a combined molecular biological, physiological and behavioural approach, we investigate the pathogenetic mechanisms of these diseases on molecular, cellular, network and behavior level in different animal models.

Selected Publications

Missler, M., Zhang, W., Rohlmann, A., Kattenstroth, G., Hammer, R., Gottmann, K. and Südhof, T. C. (2003). α-Neurexins are Required for Coupling Ca2+-Channels to Synaptic Vesicle Exocytosis. Nature, 424(6943):939-948

Zhang, W., A. Rohlmann, V. Sargsyan, G. Aramuni, R. Hammer, T. C. Südhof and M. Missler (2005). Extracellular domains of a-neurexin are important for regulating synaptic transmission by selectively affecting N- and P/Q-type Ca2+-channels. Journal of Neuroscience 25(17): 4330-4342

Varoqueaux, G. Aramuni, R. Rawson, R. Mohrmann, K. Gottmann, W. Zhang, TC. Südhof and N. Brose. (2006) Neuroligins control synaptic function and network activity but not synaptogenesis. Neuron 51, 741-754

Xue, A. Stradomska, H. Chen, N. Brose, W. Zhang, C. Rosenmund and K. Reim (2008). A complete genetic analysis of complexin function at central excitatory and inhibitory synapses. PNAS 105(22): 7875-7880

Poulopoulos, G. Aramuni, G. Meyer, T. Soykan, M.i Hoon, T. Papadopoulos, M. Zhang, I. Paarmann, C. Fuchs, K. Harvey, P. Jedlicka, S. W. Schwarzacher, H. Betz, R. J. Harvey, N. Brose, W Zhang* and F. Varoqueaux* (2009). Neuroligin 2 Drives the Assembly of Inhibitory Postsynapses Through Gephyrin and Collybistin. Neuron, 63, 628–642

Hu W., M. Zhang, B. Czéh, G. Flügge and W. Zhang (2010). Stress Impairs GABAergic Network Function in the Hippocampus by Activating Nongenomic Glucocorticoid Receptors and Affecting the Integrity of the Parvalbumin-Expressing Neuronal Network. Neuropsychopharmacology,35: 1693-1707

Teng Z, Zhang M, Zhao M, Zhang W (2013) Glucocorticoid exerts its non-genomic effect on IPSC by activation of a phospholipase C-dependent pathway in prefrontal cortex of rats. J Physiol (Lond) 591:3341–3353.

Agarwal A., M. Zhang, I. Trembak-Duff, T. Unterbarnscheidt, K. Radyushkin, P. Dibaj, D. Martins de Souza, S. Boretius, M. M. Brzozka, H. Steffens, S. Berning, Z. Teng, M. N. Gummert, M. Tantra, P. C. Guest, K. I. Willig, J. Frahm, S. W. Hell, S. Bahn, M. J. Rossner, K.-A. Nave, H. Ehrenreich, W. Zhang and M. H. Schwab (2014). Dysregulated Expression of Neuregulin-1 by Cortical Pyramidal Neurons Disrupts Synaptic Plasticity. Cell Reports; 8 (4), 1130–1145

Hemmer K., M. Zhang, T. van Wüllen, M. Sakalem, N. Tapia, A. Baumuratov, C. Kaltschmidt, B. Kaltschmidt, H. R. Schöler, W. Zhang and J. C. Schwamborn (2014) Induced Neural Stem Cells Achieve Long-Term Survival and Functional Integration in the Adult Mouse Brain. Stem Cell Reports. 3(3): 423–431

Academic CV

1980-1986 Study of Medicine, University of Bonn, Germany
1988 Thesis in Medicine, University of Bonn, Germany
1987 Post-graduate training in Neurology, University of Bern, Switzerland
1988-1993 Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Physiology, University of Bern, Switzerland
1992 Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Physiology, University of Oxford, UK
1994-1996 Postdoctoral research associate, The Nobel Institute for Neurophysiology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
1997-2008 Group leader & Professor, Dept of Neuro- and Sensory Physiology, University of Göttingen
Since 2008 Professor of Molecular Psychiatry, University of Münster, Germany