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Feng-Quan Zhou, Ph.D.

Feng-Quan Zhou, Ph.D.

Headshot of Feng-Quan Zhou
  • Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Research Interests

Epigenetic regulation of neurodevelopment and regeneration; Neural injury and regeneration in the CNS; Spinal Cord Injury and regeneration; Glaucoma and optic nerve regeneration; Peripheral nerve regeneration; Axon guidance; Growth cone cytoskeleton; Live cell imaging and 3D wholemount tissue imaging; Multiomic sequencing (e.g. single cell RNA-/ATAC-seq); GSK3 signaling; Sensory neurons. more


Dr. Fengquan Zhou is a professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He specializes in neurodevelopment and related disorders, spinal cord injury, optic nerve regeneration (glaucoma), neuronal aging and related neurodegenerative diseases. 

Dr. Zhou’s current research focuses on understanding how neurons generate their complex morpholgies and form proper circuitries during development, and how neurons regenerate to restore connections after brain or spinal cord injuries. Advanced experimental approaches are used in the lab, such as multiomic sequencing and bioinformatics, high resolution 3D imaging, CRISPR/Cas9-dCas9 based genetic manipulations, and various animal models of neurodevelopment and regeneration.

He received his undergraduate degree in biochemistry and molecular biology in 1992 from Nanjing University in China, where he also completed an M.S. in the same discipline in 1995. He then completed a Ph.D. in anatomy and cell biology at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2001. After the conclusion of a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2005.

Dr. Zhou’s research has been supported by grants from NIH and many private foundations, such as The Whitehall Foundation, The March of Dimes Birth Defect Foundation, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the Mental Health Research Association, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, and the BrightFocus Foundation. During 2013-2019, Dr. Zhou has served as the Associate Editor of the Journal of Neuroscience. more


  • Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Professor of Neuroscience

Departments / Divisions



  • B.S.; Nanjing University (China) (1992)
  • Ph.D.; State University of New York (Buffalo) (New York) (2001)

Additional Training

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 2005, Postdoctoral Fellow, Neuroscience

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Currently, the Zhou lab is working on 3 major research projects. 

  1. Reprogramming CNS neurons for axon regeneration. The major goal is to study if manipulation of various cell reprogramming factors is able to induce long-distance optic nerve regeneration back into the brain and recover visual function.
  2. Targeting aging genes and pathways to regulate axon regeneration. The study will investigate the roles and molecular mechanisms by which aging-related genes and pathways regulate axon regeneration in the CNS.
  3. Remodeling of chromatin and transcriptomic landscape to enhance axon regeneration. The goal is to reveal the chromatin and transcriptomic landscape of retinal ganglion cells favorable for axon regeneration, and identify key modulators underlying such chromatin state.

Selected Publications

Saijilafu, Hur EM, Liu CM, Jiao ZX, Xu WL, and Zhou FQ*. “PI3K-GSK3 pathway regulates mammalian axon regeneration by induction of Smad1.” Nature Communications. 2013 Oct; 4:2690. doi:10.1038/ncomms3690

Liu CM, Wang RY, Saijilafu, Jiao ZX, Zhang BY, and Zhou FQ*. “MicroRNA-138 and SIRT1 form a mutual negative feedback loop to regulate mammalian axon regeneration.” Genes & Development. 2013 June; 27(13):1473-83. doi: 10.1101/gad.209619.112

Hur EM and Zhou FQ*. “GSK3 signaling in neural development.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 2010 Aug; 11(8):539-51

Wang XW, Li Q, Liu CM, Hall PA, Jiang JJ, Katchis CD, Kang S, Dong BC, Li S, and Zhou FQ*. “Lin28 signaling supports mammalian PNS and CNS axon regeneration.” Cell Reports. 2018; 24(10):2540-2552

Ma JJ, Ju X, Xu RJ, Wang WH, Luo ZP, Liu CM, Yang L, Li B, Chen JQ, Meng B, Yang HL, Zhou FQ*, and Saijilafu*. “Telomerase reverse transcriptase and P53 regulate mammalian PNS and CNS axon regeneration downstream of c-Myc.” Journal of Neuroscience, 2019; 39 (46): 9107-9118

Contact for Research Inquiries

Zhou Lab at Johns Hopkins
The John G. Rangos Building, Room 291
855 North Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205 map
Phone: 443-287-5649

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Department of Neuroscience

Activities & Honors


  • Research Grant Award, The Graig H. Neilsen Foundation, 2011 - 2013
  • New Investigator Research Award, Alzheimer's Association, 2010 - 2012
  • Young Investigator Award, NARSAD - The Mental Health Research Association, 2008 - 2010
  • Research Grant Award, Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, 2007 - 2008
  • Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award, March of Dimes Birth Defect Foundation, 2007 - 2009
  • Research Grant Award, Whitehall Foundation, 2006 - 2009
  • Senior Research Grant Award, The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, 2013 - 2016
  • Catalyst Award, Johns Hopkins University, 2015 - 2016
  • Research Award for Glaucoma, The BrightFocus Foundation, 2017 - 2019

Professional Activities

  • Associate Editor, Journal of Neuroscience, 2013 - 2019

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

A Clearer Path to Axon Regeneration for Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries | Orthopaedic Surgery (November 2017)

Axon Regeneration to Restore Function After Injury Orthopaedic Surgery (Winter 2020)

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