The Ziff Laboratory

        Ed Ziff received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Columbia University and his PhD in Biochemistry on tRNA structure from Princeton. He did postdoctoral research with Fred Sanger at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge UK, and moved to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories in London as a staff scientist. He was an Assistant and Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at Rockefeller University and then assumed his current position of Professor of Biochemistry and Neural Science at New York University School of Medicine. While at NYU, he was also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and visiting Professor at the College de France (Paris). 

        The Ziff laboratory is making important contributions to our current understanding of AMPA receptor trafficking. Ziff and his colleagues demonstrated that RNA editing controls GluA2 subunit assembly into mature AMPA receptors that are trafficked to synapse (2003). They also discovered a scaffold protein that anchors AMPA receptors at synapses (1998), and a mechanism that releases AMPA receptors from the synapse (1998,2002,2003). More recently, the lab has analyzed mechanisms of synapse plasticity in the nucleus accumbens that underlie behavior formation, induced by a natural reward, sucrose. It has also studied regulatory functions of Alzheimer’s disease-related protease, gamma-secretase, at synapses. 

        Ed Ziff’s early work includes the development of methods for sequencing DNA in Sanger’s Lab (1973 and for characterizing mRNA transcription in mammalian cells, including the identification of the first promoter for RNA Polymerase II (1978), Ziff’s laboratory was the first to show that extra-cellular factors including growth factors, neurortrophins and neurotransmitters activate gene transcription (1984,1985,1986). Through the use of a nuclear run-on transcription assay Ziff demonstrated that growth factors trigger profound changes in c-fos transcription within minutes of binding to their cell surface receptors. the implication of this discovery is that signals are sent within seconds from the cell surface to the nucleus to activate transcription. Subsequent work by Ziff revealed that once activated Fos functions as a transcription factor that regulates the cell’s response to extra-cellular factors (1988) and controls neuron function (1990). These seminal findings were crucial for uncovering the mechanisms by which extra-cellular stimuli send signals within cells to regulate gene transcription. In addition, Ziff’s work established the field of activity-dependent gene transcription that has engaged literally hundreds of neuroscience research laboratories. This field of study has revealed how sensor experience triggers changes in gene transcription to control synapse development and cognitive function. 


Edward Ziff
    Professor of Biochemistry and Neural Science     

Contact Info: 
    Office Phone: 212-263-5774
    Lab Phone: 212-263-5939
    Email: mailto:David.Tukey@nyumc.orgshapeimage_3_link_0