University of California, Riverside

School of Medicine

Faculty Biographies

Sika Zheng


Sika Zheng

University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA 92521

Tel: (951) 827-7670
Lab: (951) 827-4525
Office: 201 School of Medicine Research Building

Education and Training

  • B.S., Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 2001
  • Ph.D., Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, 2007
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neuroscience and Neurology, Johns Hopkins University, 2007
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UCLA, 2007-2014

Research Summary

Our lab studies the activity, mechanism, function and dysfunction of gene regulation at the RNA level, coding and noncoding, in our most complex organ--brain. Neuron is arguably one of the most morphologically complicated cell types in our body. The complexity and diversity of mammalian neurons is the result of millions of years of evolution that have given cells the ability to diverge at the molecular level. Our lab is most interested in emerging regulatory mechanisms that produce cell-type specific gene expression, and their actions underlying neuronal differentiation and maturation. We are currently working on alternative pre-mRNA splicing, nonsense-mediated mRNA decay and long non-coding RNA. We are also investigating how their mis-regulation underlies various neuropsychiatric and neurologic disorders.

Our lab takes a multi-disciplinary approach spanning neurobiology, genetics, genomics, cell biology, RNA molecular biology and computational biology. We utilize various cutting edge technologies including high-throughput functional screening, next generation sequencing, informatics, CLIP and sophisticated microscopy.

Dr. Zheng is a recipient of the 2015 CUBRI Award, the 2012 Sydney Finegold Award, and Regent’s faculty fellowship. His research program is funded via the NIH(K99/R00).

Selected Publications

  • Vuong CK, Black DL, Zheng S. “The neurogenetics of alternative splicing.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience (accepted)
  • Li Q, Zheng S, Han A, Lin C, Stoilov P, Fu XD, Black DL. "The splicing regulator PTBP2 controls a program of embryonic splicing required for neuronal maturation." eLife 2014 Jan 21; 3(0): e01201 (PMC3896118)
  • Zheng S, Black DL. “Alternative pre-mRNA splicing in neurons, growing up and extending its reach.” Trends in Genetics 2013; 29(8): 442-8.
  • Zheng S, Damoiseaux R, Chen L, Black DL. “A broadly applicable high-throughput screening strategy identifies new regulators of Dlg4 (Psd-95) alternative splicing.” Genome Research 2013; 23(6): 998-1007. (PMC3668367)
  • Zheng S, Gray EE, Chawla G, Porse BT, O’Dell TJ, Black DL. “PSD-95 is post-transcriptionally repressed during early neural development by PTBP1 and PTBP2.” Nature Neuroscience 2012; 15(3): 381-388. (PMC3288398)
  • Tang ZZ, Sharma S, Zheng S, Chawla G, Nikolic J, Black DL. “Regulation of the mutually exclusive exons 8a and 8 in the CaV1.2 calcium channel transcript by polypyrimidine tract-binding protein.” Journal of Biological Chemistry 2011; 286(12):10007-16. (PMC3060452).
  • Zheng S, Eacker SM, Hong SJ, Gronostajski RM, Dawson TM, Dawson VL. “NMDA-induced neuronal survival is mediated through nuclear factor I-A in mice.” Journal of Clinical Investigation 2010; 120(7):2446-56. (PMC2898580).
  • Tang ZZ, Zheng S, Nikolic J, Black DL. “Developmental control of CaV1.2 L-type calcium channel splicing by Fox proteins.” Molecular and Cellular Biology 2009; 29(17):4757-65. (PMC2725710).
  • Zheng S, Chen L. “A hierarchical Bayesian model for comparing transcriptomes at the individual transcript isoform level.” Nucleic Acids Research 2009; 37(10):e75 (PMC2691848).
  • Chen L, Zheng S. “Studying alternative splicing regulatory networks through partial correlation analysis.” Genome Biology 2009; 10(1): R3 (PMC2687791).
  • Chen L, Zheng S. “Identify alternative splicing events based on position-specific evolutionary conservation.” PLoS ONE 2008; 3(7): e2806 (PMC2467489).

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