Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center


Zhang, Ye, Ph.D.


Astrocyte development and the roles of astrocytes in diseases


  • Assistant Professor
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center
  • Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior


Astrocytes constitute at least a third of all cells in human brains. Long thought to be passive support cells, astrocytes are recently found to be critical for the development and function of the central nervous system. Accumulating evidence show that astrocytes are involved in almost every type of neurological and psychiatric disorder.

The cellular and molecular mechanisms that control astrocyte development as well as dysfunction of astrocytes in neurological and psychiatric disorders remains poorly understood.

We combine cell culture and mouse genetic approaches to study the following questions:

  • What signals regulate astrocyte maturation?
  • How is astrocyte differentiation regulated?
  • Can we improve treatment of glioblastoma by studying astrocyte development?
  • Are astrocytes involved in intellectual disability and autism?


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