Yubin Zhou

Yubin Zhou

Assistant Professor

Center for Translational Cancer Research
2121 W. Holcombe Blvd.
Houston, TX   77030

Phone: 713-677-7483
Fax: 713-677-7779

Education and Training


Bachelor of Medicine (M.D. Equivalent), Zhejiang University School of Medicine, 2003

M.S. Chemistry, Georgia State University, 2007

Ph.D. Biochemistry, Georgia State University, 2008

Postdoctoral Training

Research Fellow, Immune Disease Institute, Harvard Medical School 2008-2010

Instructor, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, 2010-2012

Research Interests

The Zhou Lab is exploring the frontiers of calcium signaling, optogenteics, immunoengieerning and molecular therapy research by combining biophysics, immunology, protein design, chemical biology, drug screening, computational biology and mouse genetics. We are focused on elucidating the role of calcium channels and DNA modifications in health and diseases and designing better treatment and prevention strategies for cardiovascular disorders, autoimmune diseases and cancer. Ongoing research activities include: i) discovering novel ion channels that govern intracellular calcium homeostasis and T cell activities; ii) devising innovative optical actuators for remote control of cell signaling, (epi)genome editing and optogeneteic engineering; and iii) designing better treatment and prevention strategies for autoimmune diseases and tumors. 

Recent Publications

Recent Publications (Selected from a total of 50+ research papers):

Tan P, He L, Han G, and Zhou Y. Optogenetic immunomodulation: shedding light on the immune system. Trends in Biotechnology. 2017,35(3):215-26 (PMID: 27692897)  

Ma G, Wen S, Huang Y, Wang Y and Zhou Y. Optogenetic toolkit for precise control of calcium signaling. Cell Calcium. 2017 (PMID: 28104276).

Lin A, Hu Q, Li C, Xing Z, Ma G, Wang C, Li J, Yao J, Ke L, Wang S, Park P, Marks J, Zhou Y, Zhou J, Heung MC, Liang H, Hu Z, Shen H, Hawke DH, Han L, Zhou Y, Lin C, and Yang L. The LINK-A lncRNA interacts with PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 to hyperactivate AKT and confer resistance to AKT inhibitors. Nature Cell Biology. 2017 (PMID: 28218907)

Chen M, Meng Q, Qin Y, Liang P, Tan P, He L, Zhou Y, Chen Y, Huang J Wang RF and Cui J. TRIM14 inhibits cGAS degradation mediated by selective autophagy receptor p62 to promote innate immune response. Molecular Cell. 2016,64:1-15. (PMID: 27666593)

Lin A, Li C, Xing Z, Hu Q, Liang K, Han L, Wang C, Hawke DH, Wang S, Zhang Y, Wei Y, Ma G, Par PK, Zhou J, Zhou Y, Hu Z, Zhou Y, Mark JR, Liang H, Hung MC, Lin C, Yang L. The LINK-A lncRNA activates normoixc HIF1α signaling in triple-negative breast cancer. Nature Cell Biology. 2016,18(2):213-24. (PMID: 26751287);  *ScienceDaily News:“Study reveals potential therapy targets for triple-negative breast cancer”.

Ma Z, Lin Y, Cheng Y, Wu W, Cai R, Chen S, Shi B, Han B, Shi X, Zhou Y, Du L and Li M. Discovery of the first environment-sensitive near-infrared (NIR) fluorogenic ligand for 1-adrenergic receptors imaging in vivo. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 2016,(59)5:2151-62 (PMID: 26821136)

Jing J, He L, Sun A, Quintana A, Ding Y, Ma G, Tan P, Liang X, Zheng X, Chen L, Zhang SL, Shi X, Zhong L, Huang Y, Dong MQ, Walker CL, Hogan PG, Wang Y, and Zhou Y#. Proteomic mapping of ER-PM junctions identifies STIMATE as a novel regulator of Ca2+ influx. Nature Cell Biology. 2015,17(10):1339-47. (PMID: 26322679). *Featured in NCB “News and Views”: “STIMATE reveals a STIM1 transitional state”.

Ma G, Wei M, He L, Liu C, Wu B, Zhang SL, Jing J, Liang X, Senes A, Tan P, Li S, Sun A, Bi Y, Zhong L, Si H, Shen Y, Lee MS, Zhou W, Wang J, Wang Y, and Zhou Y. Inside-out Ca2+ signaling prompted by STIM1 conformational switch. Nature Communications. 2015,6:7826. (PMID: 26184105); *Featured in eBioTrade as Highlighted News.

He L, Zhang Y, Ma G, Tan P, Li Z, Zang S, Wu X, Jing J, Fang S, Zhou L, Wang Y, Huang Y, Han G, and Zhou Y. Near Infrared photoactivatable control of Ca2+ signaling and optogenetic immunomodulation. eLife. 2015,pii:e10024. (PMID: 26646180). *Optics & Photonics News: “Light-activated immune response”; Featured in Australia Network News: “Using light to fight cancer”; ALN Magazine: “New Technique involving light fights cancer in mice”; Featured story in The Battalion: “Researchers develop new cancer treatment”; News-Medical: “Researcher explore ways to to use light to combat cancer”; “New optogenetic technology could turn on immune cells to attack melanoma tumors”; Labroots Trending: “Activating dendritic cells with optogenetic immunomoudlaiton technology”; Featured in Texas A&M Today and Vital Records: “Harnessing the power of light to fight cancer”; Immuno-Oncology News: “Researcher using new technology to activate immune response in cancer treatment”; Biophotonics Magazine: “Optogenetic immunomodulation reduces cancer tumor size, metastasis in animal model”; Additional media coverage by ScienceDaily, EurekaAlert@AAAS, Novus Light Tech; Innovation Toronto.

Quintana A, Rajanikanth V, Farber-Katz S, Gudlur A, Zhang C, Jing J, Zhou Y, Rao A & Hogan PG. TMEM110 regulates the maintenance and remodeling of mammalian ER-Plasma membrane junctions competent for STIM-ORAI signaling. PNAS. 2015, 112(51):E7083-92. (PMID: 26644574).*Featured in Science Daily News: “Matchmaker lets calcium flow”.

Zhang Y, Huang L, Li Z, Ma G, Zhou Y and Han G. Illuminating cell signaling with near-infrared light-responsive nanomaterials. ACS Nano. 2016,10(4):3881-5 (PMID: 27077481) 

Zhou Y. Meet Our Associate Editor. Current Molecular Medicine. 2016,16(7):605.

Jing Z, Sui X, Yao J, Xie J, Jiang L, Zhou Y, Pan H and Han W. SKF-96365 activates cytoprotective autophagy to delay apoptosis in colorectal cancer cells through inhibition of the calcium/CaMKIIy/AKT-mediated pathway. Cancer Letters. 2016 (PMID: 26803657)

Tian C, Du L, Zhou Y# and Li M#. Store-operated CRAC channel inhibitors: opportunities and challenges. Future Medicinal Chemistry. 2016,8(7):817-32 (PMID: 27149324)

Xie J, Pan H, Yao J, Zhou Y#, and Han W#. SOCE and cancer: recent progress and new perspectives. International Journal of Cancer. 2016,138(9):2067-77. (PMID: 26355642)

Liu Z, Wang B, Ma Z, Zhou Y, Du L and Li M. Fluorogenic probe for the human Ether-a-Go-Go-related gene potassium channel imaging. Analytical Chemistry. 2015,87(5):2550-4. (PMID: 25665091).

Gudlur A*, Quintana A*, Zhou Y, Hirve N, Mahapatra S, Hogan PG. STIM1 triggers a gating rearrangement at the extracellular mouth of the ORAI1 channel. Nature Communications. 2014,5:5164 (PMID: 25296861).

Zhou Y, Srinivasan P, Razavi S, Seymour S, Meraner P, Stathopulos PB, Ikura M, Rao A, Hogan PG. Initial activation of STIM1, the regulator of store-operated calcium entry.  Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. 2013,20(8):973-81. (PMID: 23851458). *Featured in NSMB “News and Views”: “Conformational dynamics of STIM1 activation”.

Zhou Y, Ramachandran S, Oh-hora M, Rao A and Hogan PG. Pore architecture of the ORAI1 store-operated calcium channel. PNAS. 2010,107(11):4896-901. (PMID: 20194792)

Zhou Y, Meraner P, Kwon, HT, Machnes D, Oh-hora Masatsugu, Zimmer Jochen, Huang Y, Stura A, Rao A and Hogan PG. STIM1 gates the store-operated calcium channel ORAI1 in vitro. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. 2010,17(1):112-116. (PMID: 20037597). *Highlighted on the cover of NSMB: “CRACing Ca2+ entry”; *Highlighted as “Featured Article” on Nature Signaling Gateway; Rated as “Must Read [F1000 article factor: 8]” on Faculty 1000 BIOLOGY; Reported as “Featured News” on Immune Disease Institute, HMS

Zhou Y, Yang W, Lurtz M, Chen Y, Jiang J, Huang Y, Louis CF, and Yang JJ. Calmodulin mediates the Ca2+-dependent regulation of Cx44 gap junctions. Biophysical Journal. 2009, 96(7):2832-48. (PMID:19348766)

Zhou Y, Tzeng WP, Ye Y, Huang Y, Chen Y, Frey TK, Yang JJ. A cysteine-rich metal binding domain from rubella virus nonstructural protein is essential for viral protease activity and virus replication. Biochemical Journal. 2009, 417(2):477-83. (PMID: 18795894)

Zhou Y, Frey TK, Yang JJ. Viral calciomics: interplays between Ca2+ and virus. Cell Calcium. 2009,46(1):1-17. (PMID: 19535138)

Yang JJ, Yang J, Wei L, Zurkiya O, Yang W, Li S, Zou J, Zhou Y et al. Rational Design of Protein-Based MRI Contrast Agents. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2008, 130(29):9260-7. (PMID: 18576649)

Zhou Y, Tzeng WP, Yang W, Zhou Y, Ye Y, Lee HW, Frey TK, Yang J. Identification of a Ca2+-binding domain in the rubella virus nonstructural protease. Journal of Virology. 2007, 81(14):7517-28. (PMID: 17475644)

Zhou Y, Yang W, Lurtz MM, Ye Y, Huang Y, Lee HW, Chen Y, Louis CF, Yang JJ. Identification of the calmodulin binding domain of connexin43. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2007,282(48):35005-17. (PMID: 17901047)

Zhou Y, Yang W, Kirberger M, Lee HW, Ayalasomayajula G, Yang JJ. Prediction of EF-hand calcium-binding proteins and analysis of bacterial EF-hand proteins. Proteins: Structure, Function and Bioinformatics. 2006;65(3):643-55. (PMID: 16981205)