Mark Zoran

Dean of College of Arts and Sciences

Fax: 979-845-2891

3258 TAMU
Biological Sciences Building West
Room 231A

Biological Sciences Building West
Room 231

Joined the Department in 1991

  • B.A., 1979, Augustana College, Biology.
  • M.S., 1981, Illinois State University, Biological Sciences.
  • Ph.D., 1987, Iowa State University, Zoology, Neurobiology.
  • Postdoctoral research: Iowa State University.

Cellular and Developmental Neurobiology

Research Summary My laboratory studies cellular mechanisms governing the formation of specific synaptic connections between neurons and their targets. These mechanisms include cell-cell recognition and target-dependent induction of the presynaptic secretion machinery. Some of our studies investigate synapse formation of identified motoneurons of the American pond snail, Helisoma trivolvis , following nerve injury in vivo and in cell culture. Since the synapse is the site of most interneuronal communication within the nervous system, an understanding of the development, regeneration and plasticity of these connections is crucial to an ultimate appreciation of neural integration and brain function.

Neural Morphallaxis

We also study a rare form of regeneration called neural morphallaxis in the annelid worm, Lumbriculus variegatus. This organism is ideal for examining behavioral, physiological, cellular and molecular mechanisms of development, regeneration and systems-level plasticity. We have defined the neural correlates of escape reflexes, which are reconfigured during morphallaxis. Recently we have begun investigations of synaptic molecules up-regulated specifically during morphallaxis. This model system is emerging as a valuable educational tool in the science classroom.

  1. Lybrand, ZR, Martinez-Acosta, VG, Zoran, MJ. Coupled sensory interneurons mediate escape neural circuit processing in an aquatic annelid worm, Lumbriculus variegatus. J Comp Neurol. 2020;528 (3):468-480. doi: 10.1002/cne.24769. PubMed PMID:31502251 .
  2. Agrawal, P, Houl, JH, Gunawardhana, KL, Liu, T, Zhou, J, Zoran, MJ et al.. Drosophila CRY Entrains Clocks in Body Tissues to Light and Maintains Passive Membrane Properties in a Non-clock Body Tissue Independent of Light. Curr Biol. 2017;27 (16):2431-2441.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.06.064. PubMed PMID:28781048 .
  3. Islam, R, Nakamura, M, Scott, H, Repnikova, E, Carnahan, M, Pandey, D et al.. The role of Drosophila cytidine monophosphate-sialic acid synthetase in the nervous system. J Neurosci. 2013;33 (30):12306-15. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5220-12.2013. PubMed PMID:23884937 PubMed Central PMC3721841.
  4. Zoran, MJ, Biljana, SS, Ivana, MP. Relocation of ventricular catheter trough ventriculostomy due to congenital unilateral hydrocephalus: Nine year follow-up. Surg Neurol Int. 2011;2 :141. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.85982. PubMed PMID:22059136 PubMed Central PMC3205507.
  5. Lybrand, ZR, Zoran, MJ. Rapid neural circuit switching mediated by synaptic plasticity during neural morphallactic regeneration. Dev Neurobiol. 2012;72 (9):1256-66. doi: 10.1002/dneu.20993. PubMed PMID:22021133 .
  6. Turner, MB, Szabo-Maas, TM, Poyer, JC, Zoran, MJ. Regulation and restoration of motoneuronal synaptic transmission during neuromuscular regeneration in the pulmonate snail Helisoma trivolvis. Biol Bull. 2011;221 (1):110-25. doi: 10.1086/BBLv221n1p110. PubMed PMID:21876114 PubMed Central PMC4459755.
  7. Burkeen, JF, Womac, AD, Earnest, DJ, Zoran, MJ. Mitochondrial calcium signaling mediates rhythmic extracellular ATP accumulation in suprachiasmatic nucleus astrocytes. J Neurosci. 2011;31 (23):8432-40. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6576-10.2011. PubMed PMID:21653847 PubMed Central PMC3125703.
  8. Szabo, TM, Caplan, JS, Zoran, MJ. Serotonin regulates electrical coupling via modulation of extrajunctional conductance: H-current. Brain Res. 2010;1349 :21-31. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2010.06.025. PubMed PMID:20599836 PubMed Central PMC2914817.
  9. Repnikova, E, Koles, K, Nakamura, M, Pitts, J, Li, H, Ambavane, A et al.. Sialyltransferase regulates nervous system function in Drosophila. J Neurosci. 2010;30 (18):6466-76. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5253-09.2010. PubMed PMID:20445073 PubMed Central PMC3354699.
  10. Womac, AD, Burkeen, JF, Neuendorff, N, Earnest, DJ, Zoran, MJ. Circadian rhythms of extracellular ATP accumulation in suprachiasmatic nucleus cells and cultured astrocytes. Eur J Neurosci. 2009;30 (5):869-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06874.x. PubMed PMID:19712092 PubMed Central PMC2757148.
Search PubMed