Our research focuses on how neural signals are conveyed from one neuron to another through synapses, a specialized structure between a pair of neurons. Our research group takes a multidisciplinary approach combining electrophysiology, UV-light uncaging of caged compounds and two-photon imaging techniques, to address some fundamental questions of synaptic transmission and how it shapes neural signal encoding and decoding.
One of his current projects takes advantage of a unique synapse between hair cells and auditory nerve fibers in bullfrog amphibian papilla. By making direct patch-clamp recording on both sides of the synapse in vitro, he was able to stimulate the synapse in the same way as it receives from sound stimulation in vivo. His latest results suggest that hair cells release synaptic vesicles in a cooperated manner, which helps the synapse achieve enough of temporal precision for sound localization.
Through collaboration with Dr. Heather Richardson in Psychology, he is expanding to a new research territory in the prefrontal cortex. In this project, he is taking advantage of a clinically relevant and innovative rat model for “Binge” Alcohol Drinking during adolescence, and studying morphological and functional alterations of synapses in the prefrontal cortex following binge drinking. This line of research will advance our understanding of the brain function deficits among binge drinking teenagers and provide directions for therapeutic interventions.
- BS Beijing Normal University, 1998
- PhD Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2004
- Postdoctoral Training: Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, 2004 – 2009
- Research Assistant Professor, Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, 2009 - 2011