People

Brad Zuchero  ||  Assistant Professor

Dr. J. Bradley Zuchero is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine. Brad has a longstanding interest in how cells in the brain interact to build a functional nervous system, regulate its function in adults, and how these interactions are perturbed in disease.

Brad grew up in the woods of Pennsylvania, becoming interested in science at a young age with the encouragement of his teacher parents. He majored in biology at Vassar College, where he first fell in love with research. Brad did his Ph.D. work with Dr. Dyche Mullins at UCSF, discovering and characterizing a novel protein that builds actin filaments in cells. In his postdoctoral work with Dr. Ben Barres at Stanford, he brought his expertise in cell biology to the study of how oligodendrocytes form myelin, with the goal of understanding why myelination commonly fails in diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS).

While working with Dr. Barres, Brad discovered that formation of myelin in the central nervous system occurs by a surprising and seemingly paradoxical mechanism: the actin cytoskeleton that is required for most cells to change shape and move is taken apart at the start of myelination. Understanding this mechanism, and testing whether it is perturbed in diseases affecting myelination is now a major research goal of his lab. Brad hopes that work in his lab will contribute to cures for MS and other diseases of the nervous system.

Brad has received awards for his work including a Career Transition Award from the National MS Society, a Life Sciences Research Foundation postdoctoral fellowship, the Discovery Science Award and Pioneer Award from the Myelin Repair Foundation, a Research Award from the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, and a predoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association.

Some of his best ideas have come while cycling, running, or hiking around Northern California.