ZHANG Zhijun

ZHANG Zhijun

Ph.D, Professor, Principal investigator
The precise diagnosis and treatment for depressive disorder: screening and functional verification of biomarkers of multiple dimensions and multi-omics, central delivery and target intervention, and neuroregulation.
Office Phone: 
Lab Website: 


Professional Appointments:    

Dr. Zhijun Zhang, Her research has been mainly focusing on the study of pathogenesis and psychopharmacology of schizophrenia (SCH, particularly from 1995 to 2004). Her team has made substantial improvement in pathology, pharmacogenetics and neuroimaging for schizophrenia. In the past 17 years, her research filed has been expanding to the study of pathogenesis, prevention and treatment of major depression (MD) and amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI)/Alzheimer’s disease (AD) through clinical patients and animal model as well. Up to now, they have made contribution on the investigation of biomarkers for the prediction of early stage AD and prevention of MD and AD. Most recently, her team focuses on the MD study, especially on developing novel biomarkers and applying multidisciplinary approach to intervene the disease. As the principal investigator, she has been funded with 20 important research projects, published more than 400 peer-reviewed papers including 280 SCI articles. She has worked as a visiting scientist in Department of Biomedical Science, Neurocognition and Neuroimaging Research Center, University of Sheffield, U.K, and Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience Research Center, Belfast University, UK, from July 2000 to December 2006. She has worked in the Department of Biomedical Science, University of Sheffield, UK as a Post-doctoral Research Assistant from March 1999 to February 2000 so on. She has worked in the Department of Psychiatry of Nanjing Brain Hospital as a vice Professor, Professor from March 2000 to May 2004. She has worked in the Neurology Department of Affiliated ZhongDa Hospital of Southeast University as a resident clinical doctor and progressed to a senior resident doctor and then clinical lecturer and senior lecturer of neurology form July 1986 to November 1995.


Education / Board Examination:

1999/3-2000/3:University of Sheffield, UK , Post doctor

1997/7-2000/2:University of Sheffield, UK, Doctor

1996/6-1997/6:University of Sheffield, UK, Master

1981/9-1986/7:Southeast University, Bachelor


Main Research Project (PI):

2019   Science and Technology Program of Guangdong

2018   Key Program of the National Natural Science Foundation

2016   National key research and development project - major chronic noncommunicable disease prevention and control research 

2014   Key International Collaborate Program of National Nature Science Foundation

2012   National Science and Technology Major Projects for “Major New Drugs Innovation and Development”

2009   National Nature Science Foundation of China for the Excellent Young Scientist

2008   National Basic Research Program of China 863

2007   National Basic Research Program of China 973

2017,2015, 2014, 2011, 2010, 2008, 2006, 2004, 2002 General Project of National Natural Science Foundation


  • Huaxia Medical Science and Technology Award(second class) (2019)
  • The winner of China Ministry Education Natural Science Award (first class)(2016)
  • The winner of Natural Science and Technology Award from Jiangsu government (2014)
  • The winner of Shanghai Science and Technology Award (first class) (2012)
  • The winner of China Medical Science and Technology Award (first class) (2011)
  • The winner of China Ministry Education Natural Science Award (first class)(2009)
  • The winner of Natural Science and Technology Award from Jiangsu government (2007)
  • The winner of China Medical Science and Technology Award(2005)
  • The winner of Nature Science Awards from Nanjing local government(2005)
  • The winner of Nature Science Awards from Nanjing local government(2003)
  • The winner of Young Scientist Awards in 11th Biennial Winter Workshop on Schizophrenia in Davos, Switzerland (2002)
  • The winner of Young Scientist Awards in International Congress of Schizophrenia Research in Whistler, Canada(2001)
  • The winner of Young Scientist Awards in Tenth Biennial Winter Workshop on Schizophrenia in Davos, Switzerland(2000)
  • The winner of Young Scientist Awards in Ninth Biennial Winter Workshop on Schizophrenia in Davos, Switzerland(1998)



  • Special government allowance from the State Council(2018)
  • China Outstanding Neurology Physician Academic Achievement Award(2017)
  • Middle-aged and young experts with outstanding contributions to the 7th National Health and Family Planning(2015)
  • JiangsuProvince Outstand Scientist Honor (2013)
  • JiangsuProvince Excellent Scientist Back From Abroad Honor (2012)
  • Jiangsu Province Important Key leader for Science and Technology(2012)
  • JiangsuProvince Outstand Communist Party Member Honor (2011)
  • Jiangsu Province "333" project personnel(2011)
  • JiangsuProvince Excellent Medical Key Person (2011)
  • National Excellent Young Scientist Research Foundation(2008)

Associated Editor:
Neuroscience Bulletin (SCI)

Journal of Alzheimer's Disease(SCI)

Selected publications

Publications (First or corresponding authors):

Publications in the last five years (most recently)

  1. Shi YC#, Song RZ#, Wang Z#, Zhang HX, Zhu JL, Yuan YP, Zhao Y*, and Zhang ZJ*. Circular RNAs as Potential Blood Biomarkers for the Diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder and Prediction of Outcome of Antidepressive Therapy. 2021. Accepted.
  2. Qian FY, Guo YD, Zu J, Zhang JH, Zheng YM, Ali AI, Pan ZH, Xie CM*, Gao HC*,  Zhang ZJ*.A novel recessive mutation affecting DNAJB6a causes myofibrillar myopathy. Acta Neuropathologica Communicatio 2021, Feb 8,9(1):23.doi:10.1186/s40478-020-01046-w(online).
  3. Shi YC#, Wang Zan#, Cheng PD, Cheng PY, Zhao K, Zhang HX, Shu H, Gu LH, Wang Q, Zhang HS, Xie CM, Liu Y*, andZhang ZJ*. Episodic Memory-related Imaging Features as Valuable Biomarkers for the Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease: A Multicenter Study Based on Machine Learning. Biol Psychiatry (CNNI). 2020 Dec 29;52451-9022(20)30378-5.doi:10.1016/j.bpsc.2020.12.007.online aheas of print.
  4. Shu H, Gu L, Yang P, Lucas MV, Gao L, Zhang H, Zhang H, Xu Z, Wu W, Li L, Zhang ZJ*. Disturbed temporal dynamics of episodic retrieval activity with preserved spatial activity pattern in amnestic mild cognitive impairment: A simultaneous EEG-fMRI study. NeuroImage: Clinical.2021,30: 102572(online).
  5. He CC, Bai Y, Wang Z, Fan DD, Wang Q, Liu XY, Zhang HS, Zhang HX, Zhang ZJ*, Yao HH*, Xie CM*. Identification of MicroRNA-9 Linking the Effects of Childhood Maltreatment on Depression Using Amygdala Connectivity. NeuroImage. 2021; 224: 117428 (online)
  6. Zhang ZJ#*, Zhang HX#, Xie CM#, Zhang M#, Shi YH, Song RZ, Lu X, Zhang HS, Li K, Wang B, Yang YF, Li XR, Zhu JL, Zhao Y, Yuan TF and Northoff Georg*. Task-related functional magnetic resonance imaging-based neuronavigation for the treatment of depression by individualized repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation of visual cortex. Sci China Life Sci. 2021;64(1)96-106.
  7. Zhang Y#, Du LF#, Bai Y#, Han B#, He CC# , Gong L, Huang RR, Shen L, Chao J, Liu P, Zhang HX, Zhang HS, Gu L, Li JX, Hu G, Xie CM*, Zhang ZJ*, Yao HH*. CircDYM ameliorates depressive-like behavior by targeting miR-9 to regulate microglial activation via HSP90 ubiquitination. Mol Psychiatr. 2020; 25(6):1175–1190.
  8. Zuo L, Zhang L, Zu J, Wang Z, Han B, Chen BL, Cheng MJ, Ju MZ,  Li MY, Shu GF, Yuan MQ, Jiang W, Chen XF, Yan FL, Zhang ZJ*and Yao HH*. Circulating circular RNAs as biomarkers for the diagnosis and prediction of outcomes in acute ischemic stroke.  2020; 51(1):319–323
  9. Gao LJ, Gu LH, Shu H, Chen J, Zhu JL, Wang B, Shi YC, Song RZ, Li  K, Li XR, Zhang HS, Zhang HX, Zhang ZJ*.The reduced left hippocampal volume related to the delayed P300 latency in amnestic mild cognitive impairment.Psychological Medicine. 2020: 1-9
  10. Xu Z, Xie CM, Xia L, Yuan YG, Zhu H, Huang XF, Li CH, Tao Y, Qu XX, Zhang FY*, Zhang ZJ*.Targeted exome sequencing identifies five novel loci at genome-wide significance for modulating antidepressant response in patients with major depressive disorder. Transl Psychiat. 2020; 10(1):1–13
  11. Shi YC, Gu LH, Wang Q, Gao LJ, Zhu JL, Lv X, Zhou FF, Zhu D, Zhang HS, Xie CM, Zhang ZJ*.Platelet Amyloid-β Protein Precursor (AβPP) Ratio and Phosphorylated Tau as Promising Indicators for Early Alzheimer’s Disease. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2020; 75(4):664–670
  12. Zhu L, Wang Z, Du ZH, Qi XY, Hao Shu, Liu D, Su F, Ye Q, Liu XM, Zhou Z, Tang YQ, Song R, Wang XB, Lin L, Li SJ*, Han Ying*, Wang LP*, Zhang ZJ*. Impaired para-hippocampal gyrus-orbitofrontal cortex circuit related to visuospatial memory deficit as a potential biomarker and intervening approach for Alzheimer Disease. Neurosci Bull. 2020; 36:831–844 cover article
  13. Lu QB#, Sun JF#, Yang QY, Cai WW, Xia MQ, Wu FF, Gu N*, Zhang ZJ*. Brain magnetic stimulation using iron oxide nanoparticle-mediated selective treatment of the left prelimbic cortex as a novel strategy to rapidly improve depressive-like symptoms in mice. Zool Res. 2020; 41(4):381–394 cover article


Other publications

  1. Shu H#, Shi YM#, Chen G, Wang Z, Liu D, Yue CX, Ward D, Li W, Xu Z, Chen G, Guo Q, Xu J, Li SJ*, Zhang ZJ*.Opposite neural trajectories of apolipoprotein E I mu 4 and I mu 2 alleles with aging associated with different risks of Alzheimer's disease. Cereb Cortex2016,26:1421–1429.
  2. Bai F*, Shi YM, Yuan YG, Xie CM, Zhang ZJ*.Immunity factor contributes to altered brain functional networks in individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease: Neuroimaging-genetic evidence. Brain Behav Immun.2016;56:84-95.
  3. Xie C*, Bai F, Yuan BY, Yu H, Shi YM, Yuan YG, Wu D, Zhang ZS, Zhang ZJ*. Joint Effects of Gray Matter Atrophy and Altered Functional Connectivity on Cognitive Deficits in Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment Patients.Psychol Med 2015; 45(9):1799-1810.
  4. Bai F#, Shu N#, Yuan Y, Shi Y, Yu H, Wu D, He Y*, Zhang ZJ*.Topologically convergent and divergent connectivity patterns of white matter structural networks between remitted geriatric depression and mild cognitive impairment. J Neurosci. 2012;32(12):4307–4318.
  5. Xie CM, Bai F, Yu H, Shi YM, Yuan YG, Chen G, Li WJ, Chen GY, Zhang ZJ*, Li SJ*. Abnormal insula functional network is associated with episodic memory decline in amnestic mild cognitive impairment. NeuroImage. 2012; 63: 320-327.
  6. Zhuang LY, Kiu XY, Xu XH, Yue CX, Shu H, Bai F, Yu H, Shi YM, Zhang ZJ*. Association of the interleukin 1 beta gene and brain spontaneous activity in amnestic mild cognitive Impairment. J Neuroinflamm. 2012;9(1):263
  7. Bai F,Zhang ZJ*, David R. Watson, Hui Yu, Shi YM, Yuan YG, Zang YF, Zhu CZ, Qian Y. Abnormal functional connectivity of hippocampus during episodic memory retrieval processing network in amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Biol Psychiat.2009; 65(11): 951-958.
  8. Yuan YG, Zhu WL, Zhang ZJ*, Bai F, Yu H, Shi YM, Qian Y , Liu W, Jiang TZ, You JY, Liu ZN. Regional gray matter changes are associated with cognitive deficits in remitted geriatric depression: an optimized voxel-based morphometry study. Biol Psychiat. 2008; 64(6): 541-544.
  9. Zhang ZJ*,Hao GF, Shi JB, Mou XD, Yao ZJ, Chen N. Investigation of the neural substrates of voice familiarity in Chinese schizophrenic patients with auditory verbal hallucination:A event-related fMRI study.Acta Psychiat Scand. 2008;118(4): 272-280.
  10. Wang CJ, Zhang ZJ*, Sun J, Zhang XB, Mou XD, Zhang XR, Shang XF, Zhang TQ.  Serum free fatty acids and glucose metabolism, insulin resistance in schizophrenia with chronic antipsychotics. Biol Psychiat. 2006; 60(12): 1309-1313.
  11. Zhang ZJ, Yao ZJ, Liu W, Fang Q, Reynolds GP. Effects of antipsychotics on fat deposition and changes in leptin and insulin levels—Magnetic imaging study of previously untreated people with schizophrenia. Brit J Psychiat. 2004; 184: 58-62.
  12. Reynolds GP, Zhang ZJ, Zhang XB. Polymorphism of the promoter region of the serotonin 5-HT2C receptor gene and clozapine-induced weight gain.Am J Psychiat. 2003; 160(4): 677-679.
  13. Zhang ZJ,Yao ZJ, Zhang XB, Chen JF, Sun J, Yao H, Hou G, Zhang XB. No association of antipsychotic agent-induced weight gain with a DA receptor gene polymorphism and therapeutic response. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2003; 24(3): 235-240.
  14. Zhang ZJ, Zhang XB, Sha WW, Zhang XB, Reynolds GP. Association of a polymorphism in the promoter region of the serotonin 5-HT2C receptor gene with tardive dyskinesia in patients with schizophrenia. Mol Psychiatr.2002; 7(7): 670-671.
  15. Reynolds GP,Zhang ZJ, Zhang XB. Association of antipsychotic drug-induced weight gain with a 5-HT2C receptor gene polymorphism.  2002; 359(9323): 2086-2087
  16. Bearsly CL,Zhang ZJ, Patten I, Reynolds GP. Selective deficits in prefrontal cortical GABAergic neurons in schizophrenia defined by the presence of calcium-binding proteins. Biol Psychiat. 2002; 52(7): 708-715.
  17. Zhang ZJ, Reynolds GP, Ramchand CN, Peet M, Shah S. Relationship of symptomatology, gender, and antipsychotic drug treatment with plasma homovanillic acid in schizophrenia.Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2001; 22(1): 76-80.