Can (Martin) Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School; Associate Investigator, Neurology, Mass General Research Institute


Dr. Can (Martin) Zhang is an Associate Professor of Neurology and a faculty member of the McCance Center for Brain Health at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Harvard Medical School (HMS). Dr. Zhang received his M.D. and master’s degree at the Weifang Medical College, China and then his Ph.D. at the Drexel University, US, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in Dr. Rudy Tanzi’s laboratory, before he became a faculty at MGH and HMS. Dr. Zhang has been leading a translational neuroscience program engaging in multiple projects committed to not only discovering the molecular etiology of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), but also developing potential therapeutics for AD intervention. With colleagues, Dr. Zhang has investigated molecules including the γ-secretase modulators (GSMs), curcumin analogs, epigenetic and neuroinflammatory regulators, as well as FDA-approved drugs (e.g. cromolyn) that are potentially usable as AD drugs. Additionally, Dr. Zhang has unraveled new AD biomarkers using an array of state-of-the-art technologies, including multiplex biochemical assays, molecular positron emission tomography imaging (which led to the discovery of a new GSM-based probe enabling the visualization of γ-secretase in the brain of live animals and potentially humans) and machine learning-integrated Raman spectrometry screening, among others. Funded through research grants from the NIH, ADDF, and Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, Dr. Zhang is working with a highly collaborative and supportive research team, and is mentoring his trainees through these research projects.

Mass General Research Institute

Funded Research

These projects were made possible from Cure Alzheimer's Fund support.

Selected Publications

These published papers resulted from Cure Alzheimer’s Fund support.

Mondal, P., Bai, P., Gomm, A., Bakiasi, G., Lin, C. J., Wang, Y., Choi, S. H., Tanzi, R. E., Wang, C., & Zhang, C. Structure-Based Discovery of A Small Molecule Inhibitor of Histone Deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) that Significantly Reduces Alzheimer’s Disease Neuropathology, Advanced Science, November 21, 2023, Read More

Liu, G., Mondal, P., Sang, N., Li, Z., Ding, W., Yang, L., Liu, Y., Birar, V. C., Gomm, A., Tanzi, R. E., Zhang, C., Shen, S., Wang, C., Lu, X., & Bai, P. Design, synthesis, and anti-inflammatory activity characterization of novel brain-permeable HDAC6 inhibitors, European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, March 31, 2023, Read More

Bai, P., Liu, Y., Yang, L., Ding, W., Mondal, P., Sang, N., Liu, G., Lu, X., Ho, T. T., Zhou, Y., Wu, R., Birar, V. C., Wilks, M. Q., Tanzi, R. E., Lin, H., Zhang, C., Li, W., Shen, S., & Wang, C. Development and Pharmacochemical Characterization Discover a Novel Brain-Permeable HDAC11-Selective Inhibitor with Therapeutic Potential by Regulating Neuroinflammation in Mice, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, November 16, 2023, Read More

Minter, M. R., Zhang, C., Leone, V., Ringus, D. L., Zhang, X., Oyler-Castrillo, P., Musch, M. W., Liao, F., Ward, J. F., Holtzman, D. M., Chang, E. B., Tanzi, R. E., & Sisodia, S. S. Antibiotic-induced perturbation in gut microbial diversity influences neuro-inflammation and amylodiosis in a murine model of Alzheimer’s disease, Scientific Reports, July 16, 2016, Read More

Zhang, C., Browne, A., Kim, D. Y., & Tanzi, R. E. Familial Alzhiemer’s Disease mutations in presenilin 1 do not alter levels of the secreted amyloid-protein precursor generated by beta-secretase cleavage, Current Alzheimer Research, February 1, 2010, Read More