The unique biology of the brain as the center of consciousness, from learning and memory to senses like sight, smell, and taste, is underpinned by unique chemistry that remains insufficiently understood. In particular, we are interested in understanding why the brain accumulates unexpected chemical elements at higher concentrations than any other organ or tissue, including redox-active metals like copper and iron, where at the same time these elements are misregulated in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and autism. Using CRISPR, optogenetics, high-resolution mass spec imaging, and behavioral assays, we are developing and studying new zebrafish and mouse models to explore the roles of transition metals in neural signaling and neurodegeneration.


Chang, C. J. "Bioinorganic Life and Neural Activity: Toward a Chemistry of Consciousness?", Acc. Chem. Res. 2017, 50, 535-538. [html] [pdf]

Cotruvo, Jr., J. A.; Aron, A. T.; Ramos-Torres, K. M.; Chang, C. J. "Synthetic fluorescent probes for studying copper in biological systems", Chem. Soc. Rev. 2015, 44, 4400-4414. [pdf]

Que, E. L.; Domaille, D. W.; Chang, C. J. "Metals in Neurobiology: Probing Their Chemistry and Biology with Molecular Imaging", Chem. Rev. 2008, 108, 1517-1549. [pdf]


Dodani, S. C.; Firl, A.; Chan, J.; Nam, C. I.; Aron, A. T.; Onak, C. S.; Ramos-Torres, K. M.; Paek, J.; Webster, C. W.; Feller, M. B.; Chang, C. J. "Copper is an endogenous modulator of neural circuit spontaneous activity", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2014, 111, 16280-16285. [html] [pdf]

Dodani, S. C.; Domaille, D. W.; Nam, C. I.; Miller, E. W.; Finney, L. A.; Vogt, S.; Chang, C. J. "Calcium-dependent copper redistributions in neuronal cells revealed by a fluorescent copper sensor and X-ray fluorescence microscopy", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2011, 108, 5980-5985. [pdf] [html]


Updated 2 Jun 2017