Current Role at Stanford

Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery

Academic Appointments

Honors & Awards

  • Career Transition Award, National Multiple Sclerosis Society (2014-2019)
  • Discovery Research Award, Myelin Repair Foundation (2014)
  • Pioneer Award, Myelin Repair Foundation (2012)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Life Sciences Research Foundation (2011-2014)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Multiple Sclerosis Society (2011)
  • Robert Day Allen Fellowship, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole (2009)

2017-18 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • DeActs: genetically encoded tools for perturbing the actin cytoskeleton in single cells NATURE METHODS Harterink, M., da Silva, M. E., Will, L., Turan, J., Ibrahim, A., Lang, A. E., van Battum, E. Y., Pasterkamp, R. J., Kapitein, L. C., Kudryashov, D., Barres, B. A., Hoogenraad, C. C., Zuchero, J. B. 2017; 14 (5): 479-?


    The actin cytoskeleton is essential for many fundamental biological processes, but tools for directly manipulating actin dynamics are limited to cell-permeable drugs that preclude single-cell perturbations. Here we describe DeActs, genetically encoded actin-modifying polypeptides, which effectively induce actin disassembly in eukaryotic cells. We demonstrate that DeActs are universal tools for studying the actin cytoskeleton in single cells in culture, tissues, and multicellular organisms including various neurodevelopmental model systems.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/NMETH.4257

    View details for Web of Science ID 000400253800011

    View details for PubMedID 28394337

  • Glia in mammalian development and disease. Development Zuchero, J. B., Barres, B. A. 2015; 142 (22): 3805-3809

    View details for DOI 10.1242/dev.129304

    View details for PubMedID 26577203

  • CNS Myelin Wrapping Is Driven by Actin Disassembly DEVELOPMENTAL CELL Zuchero, J. B., Fu, M., Sloan, S. A., Ibrahim, A., Olson, A., Zaremba, A., Dugas, J. C., Wienbar, S., Caprariello, A. V., Kantor, C., Leonoudakus, D., Lariosa-Willingham, K., Kronenberg, G., Gertz, K., Soderling, S. H., Miller, R. H., Barres, B. A. 2015; 34 (2): 152-167


    Myelin is essential in vertebrates for the rapid propagation of action potentials, but the molecular mechanisms driving its formation remain largely unknown. Here we show that the initial stage of process extension and axon ensheathment by oligodendrocytes requires dynamic actin filament assembly by the Arp2/3 complex. Unexpectedly, subsequent myelin wrapping coincides with the upregulation of actin disassembly proteins and rapid disassembly of the oligodendrocyte actin cytoskeleton and does not require Arp2/3. Inducing loss of actin filaments drives oligodendrocyte membrane spreading and myelin wrapping in vivo, and the actin disassembly factor gelsolin is required for normal wrapping. We show that myelin basic protein, a protein essential for CNS myelin wrapping whose role has been unclear, is required for actin disassembly, and its loss phenocopies loss of actin disassembly proteins. Together, these findings provide insight into the molecular mechanism of myelin wrapping and identify it as an actin-independent form of mammalian cell motility.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.devcel.2015.06.011

    View details for Web of Science ID 000358599400007

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4519368

  • Type IV collagen is an activating ligand for the adhesion G protein-coupled receptor GPR126. Science signaling Paavola, K. J., Sidik, H., Zuchero, J. B., Eckart, M., Talbot, W. S. 2014; 7 (338): ra76-?


    GPR126 is an orphan heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-binding protein (G protein)-coupled receptor (GPCR) that is essential for the development of diverse organs. We found that type IV collagen, a major constituent of the basement membrane, binds to Gpr126 and activates its signaling function. Type IV collagen stimulated the production of cyclic adenosine monophosphate in rodent Schwann cells, which require Gpr126 activity to differentiate, and in human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells expressing exogenous Gpr126. Type IV collagen specifically bound to the extracellular amino-terminal region of Gpr126 containing the CUB (complement, Uegf, Bmp1) and pentraxin domains. Gpr126 derivatives lacking the entire amino-terminal region were constitutively active, suggesting that this region inhibits signaling and that ligand binding relieves this inhibition to stimulate receptor activity. A new zebrafish mutation that truncates Gpr126 after the CUB and pentraxin domains disrupted development of peripheral nerves and the inner ear. Thus, our findings identify type IV collagen as an activating ligand for GPR126, define its mechanism of activation, and highlight a previously unrecognized signaling function of type IV collagen in basement membranes.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/scisignal.2005347

    View details for PubMedID 25118328

  • Neuronal activity promotes oligodendrogenesis and adaptive myelination in the mammalian brain. Science Gibson, E. M., Purger, D., Mount, C. W., Goldstein, A. K., Lin, G. L., Wood, L. S., Inema, I., Miller, S. E., Bieri, G., Zuchero, J. B., Barres, B. A., Woo, P. J., Vogel, H., Monje, M. 2014; 344 (6183): 1252304-?


    Myelination of the central nervous system requires the generation of functionally mature oligodendrocytes from oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs). Electrically active neurons may influence OPC function and selectively instruct myelination of an active neural circuit. In this work, we use optogenetic stimulation of the premotor cortex in awake, behaving mice to demonstrate that neuronal activity elicits a mitogenic response of neural progenitor cells and OPCs, promotes oligodendrogenesis, and increases myelination within the deep layers of the premotor cortex and subcortical white matter. We further show that this neuronal activity-regulated oligodendrogenesis and myelination is associated with improved motor function of the corresponding limb. Oligodendrogenesis and myelination appear necessary for the observed functional improvement, as epigenetic blockade of oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelin changes prevents the activity-regulated behavioral improvement.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1252304

    View details for PubMedID 24727982

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4096908

  • Purification and culture of dorsal root ganglion neurons. Cold Spring Harbor protocols Zuchero, J. B. 2014; 2014 (8): pdb top073965-?


    Dorsal root ganglion neurons (DRGs) are sensory neurons that reside in ganglions on the dorsal root of the spinal cord. Here we introduce a method for the acute, prospective purification and culture of DRGs from rodents in a serum-free, defined medium, in the absence of glial cells. This immunopanning-based method facilitates the study of DRG biology and function.

    View details for DOI 10.1101/pdb.top073965

    View details for PubMedID 25086024

  • Purification of dorsal root ganglion neurons from rat by immunopanning. Cold Spring Harbor protocols Zuchero, J. B. 2014; 2014 (8): pdb prot074948-?


    Dorsal root ganglion neurons (DRGs) are sensory neurons that facilitate somatosensation and have been used to study neurite outgrowth, regeneration, and degeneration and PNS and CNS myelination. Studies of DRGs have relied on cell isolation strategies that generally involve extended culture in the presence of antimitotic agents or other cytotoxic treatments that target dividing cells. The surviving cells typically are dependent on serum for growth. Other methods, involving purification of DRGs based on their large size, produce low yield. In contrast, the immunopanning-based method described here for prospective isolation of DRGs from rodents allows for rapid purification in the absence of antimitotic agents and serum. These DRG cultures take place in a defined medium. They are free of Schwann cells and other glia and thus can be used to study the role of glia in the biology of DRG neurons.

    View details for DOI 10.1101/pdb.prot074948

    View details for PubMedID 25086011

  • Intrinsic and extrinsic control of oligodendrocyte development. Current opinion in neurobiology Zuchero, J. B., Barres, B. A. 2013; 23 (6): 914-920


    Oligodendrocytes (OLs) are the myelinating glia of the central nervous system. Myelin is essential for the rapid propagation of action potentials as well as for metabolic support of axons, and its loss in demyelinating diseases like multiple sclerosis has profound pathological consequences. The many steps in the development of OLs - from the specification of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) during embryonic development to their differentiation into OLs that myelinate axons - are under tight regulation. Here we discuss recent advances in understanding how these steps of OL development are controlled intrinsically by transcription factors and chromatin remodeling and extrinsically by signaling molecules and neuronal activity. We also discuss how knowledge of these pathways is now allowing us to take steps toward generating patient-specific OPCs for disease modeling and myelin repair.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.conb.2013.06.005

    View details for PubMedID 23831087

  • Generation of oligodendroglial cells by direct lineage conversion. Nature biotechnology Yang, N., Zuchero, J. B., Ahlenius, H., Marro, S., Ng, Y. H., Vierbuchen, T., Hawkins, J. S., Geissler, R., Barres, B. A., Wernig, M. 2013; 31 (5): 434-439


    Transplantation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) is a promising potential therapeutic strategy for diseases affecting myelin. However, the derivation of engraftable OPCs from human pluripotent stem cells has proven difficult and primary OPCs are not readily available. Here we report the generation of induced OPCs (iOPCs) by direct lineage conversion. Forced expression of the three transcription factors Sox10, Olig2 and Zfp536 was sufficient to reprogram mouse and rat fibroblasts into iOPCs with morphologies and gene expression signatures resembling primary OPCs. More importantly, iOPCs gave rise to mature oligodendrocytes that could ensheath multiple host axons when co-cultured with primary dorsal root ganglion cells and formed myelin after transplantation into shiverer mice. We propose direct lineage reprogramming as a viable alternative approach for the generation of OPCs for use in disease modeling and regenerative medicine.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nbt.2564

    View details for PubMedID 23584610

  • Between the sheets: a molecular sieve makes myelin membranes. Developmental cell Zuchero, J. B., Barres, B. A. 2011; 21 (3): 385-386


    Myelin is a lipid-rich, spiraled membrane structure that allows for rapid propagation of action potentials through axons. In this issue, Aggarwal et al. (2011) present evidence that myelin basic protein, essential for myelination by oligodendrocytes, regulates the biosynthesis of myelin membranes by restricting diffusion of membrane-bound proteins into compact myelin.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.devcel.2011.08.023

    View details for PubMedID 21920305