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Chi Zhang Allen Institute Headshot

Chi Zhang

Scientist II


Chi Zhang joined the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2022 as a scientist in the Neural Coding group. Her main role is to utilize engineered viral tools for large-scale reconstruction of brain connectome using electron microscopy (EM). Chi earned her Ph.D. degree at the University of Louisville, where she performed anatomical and functional studies on retinal ganglion cells, using viral tracing and electrophysiological techniques. She then developed an interest in the assembly of neural circuits responsible for specific retinal functions and joined Dr. Rachel Wong’s lab at the University of Washington for postdoctoral training. There she studied the mechanisms underlying the wiring of retinal circuits during normal development as well as their reassembly after disruption in disease, using immunohistochemistry and EM 3D reconstruction of neural circuits.

Great strides have been made to discover remarkable diversity in the morphological, functional, and molecular properties of cells in the central nervous system. However, it remains largely unknown how are these cells wired to execute specific functions. EM reconstruction is a great approach to understanding the ‘principles’ of neural wiring. Collaborating with the Molecular Genetics group at the Allen Institute, Chi focuses on applying cell-type- and cell-compartment-specific viral tools to perform multiplexed labeling in brains, which facilitates cell-type identification in large-scale EM reconstruction. Continuing her interest in the visual system, Chi also works on mapping synaptic networks of neurons in the visual cortex, which will provide insights into cortical visual signal processing.