Dr Zhitao Hu

Senior Research Fellow

Queensland Brain Institute
+61 7 334 66395


I have a broad background in electrophysiology, molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, cell biology and cellular neurobiology. My research focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of synaptic transmission and the function of neural circuits. My lab is currently supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project grant, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project grant, NARSAD young investigator grant, and NIH R21 grant. The long-term goal of our research is to understand how synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity are regulated by the synaptic release machinery. In addition, we are interested how scaffolding proteins and cell adhesion molecules are involved in the modulation of synaptic function and neurological disorders, such as autism and epilepsy. We utilize behavioral, genetic, biochemical, imaging, and electrophysiological techniques to study signaling in the brain of the worm C. elegans. Our current research lines focus on: (1) balance of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitter release in the nervous system. (2) protein code for release kinetics of synaptic transmission; (3) molecular mechanism for synaptic release probability and short-term plasticity; (4) regulation of behavioral plasticity at molecular and circuit levels; (5) Functional analysis of autism candidate genes in regulating synaptic function.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Huazhong University of Science and Technology


View all Publications


Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Narayanappa, Murugesh, Liu, Haowen, Li, Lei, Michelassi, Francesco, Hu, Zhitao and Dittman, Jeremy (2020). The C2C-MCT Domain of Munc13 is Essential for Priming Synaptic Vesicles. 64th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical-Society, San Diego Ca, Feb 15-19, 2020. CAMBRIDGE: CELL PRESS.

  • Dittman, Jeremy, Michelassi, Francesco, Liu, Haowen and Hu, Zhitao (2017). A C1-C2 Module in MUNC13 Inhibits Calcium-Dependent Neurotransmitter Release. 58th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical-Society, San Francisco, CA, United States, Feb 15-19, 2014. St. Louis, MO, United States: Cell Press. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2016.11.2145

Grants (Administered at UQ)