Charles Zuker

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Charles S. Zuker
Born 1957
Citizenship USA
Nationality Chile
Fields Neuroscience
Institutions UC San Diego 1987–2009, Columbia University 2009–present
Alma mater MIT
Doctoral advisor Harvey Lodish

Charles S. Zuker is an American molecular geneticist and neurobiologist of Chilean descent. His lab, in collaboration with Nick Ryba at the NIH, have transformed our understanding of mammalian taste. Beginning in the late 1990’s Zuker and Ryba identified and characterized the cells mediating all five basic taste modalities: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. They then demonstrated that individual taste receptor cells are tuned to encode individual taste qualities, and are hardwired to trigger innate behaviors (like attraction to sweet and aversion to bitters). In a set of milestone studies exploring the central coding of taste, and combining molecular genetics, physiology, brain imaging, animal behavior, and optical control of neural circuits, Zuker and collaborators demonstrated that each taste is preferentially represented in its own cortical field in the brain, and that by manipulating the brain fields representing sweet and bitter taste they could directly control an animal’s internal representation, sensory perception, and behavioral actions.

Zuker is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a Senior Fellow at the Janelia Research Campus. Zuker is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. After more than 20 years at the University of California, San Diego, he began his appointment at Columbia University in 2009.

Prior to working on mammalian taste, his lab focused on signal transduction pathways in Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly), including vision, mechanotransduction and thermosensation.

Education and training[edit][edit]

Zuker attended the Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso in Chile, and obtained his Ph.D. from MIT with Harvey Lodish. He did his postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley with Gerald Rubin.

Further reading[edit]

Notable Papers[edit]

  • Peng, Y., Gillis-Smith, S., Jin, H., Tränkner, D., Ryba, N.J. and Zuker, C.S. Sweet and bitter taste in the brain of awake behaving animals. Nature 527, 512–515 (2015).
  • Barretto, R.P., Gillis-Smith, S., Chandrashekar, J., Yarmolinsky, D.A., Schnitzer, M.J., Ryba, N.J. and Zuker, C.S. The neural representation of taste quality at the periphery. Nature 517, 373–376 (2015).
  • Chen, X., Gabitto, M., Peng, Y., Ryba, N.J. and Zuker, C.S. A gustotopic map of taste qualities in the mammalian brain. Science 333, 1262–1266 (2011).
  • Chandrashekar, J., Kuhn, C., Oka, Y., Yarmolinsky, D.A., Hummler, E., Ryba, N.J. and Zuker, C.S. The cells and peripheral representation of sodium taste in mice. Nature 464, 297–301 (2010).
  • Huang, A.L., Chen, X., Hoon, M.A., Chandrashekar, J., Guo, W., Tränkner, D., Ryba, N.J. and Zuker C.S. The cells and logic for mammalian sour taste detection. Nature 442, 934–938 (2006).
  • Mueller, K.L., Hoon, M.A., Erlenbach, I., Chandrashekar, J., Zuker, C.S. and Ryba, N.J. The receptors and coding logic for bitter taste. Nature 434, 225–229 (2005).
  • Zhao, G.Q., Zhang, Y., Hoon, M.A., Chandrashekar, J., Erlenbach, I., Ryba, NJ. and Zuker, C.S. The receptors for mammalian sweet and umami taste. Cell 115, 255–266 (2003).
  • Nelson, G., Chandrashekar, J., Hoon, M.A., Feng, L., Zhao, G., Ryba, N.J. and Zuker, C.S. An amino-acid taste receptor. Nature 416, 199–202 (2002).
  • Nelson, G., Hoon, M.A., Chandrashekar, J., Zhang, Y., Ryba, N.J. and Zuker, C.S. Mammalian sweet taste receptors. Cell 106, 381–390 (2001).

External links[edit]