Ph.D., The University of British Columbia, 2003
|My group studies the neural circuits underlying cognitive function and dysfunction as they relate to anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and autism. We use sophisticated technologies to manipulate specific neural circuits in the rodent brain to determine their role in behavior. We are interested in changes in synaptic strength that may underlie mental disorders.|
Understanding the link between neural circuits and behavior has been the focus of research in my lab. We are particularly interested in studying the synaptic and circuit mechanisms underlying reward processing, attention, and learning and memory; as well as synaptic and circuit dysfunctions responsible for maladaptive behaviors that are related to major mental disorders. We integrate in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, imaging, molecular, genetic, optogenetic, and chemogenetic techniques to probe and manipulate the function of specific neural circuits – with a focus on the fear and reward circuits – in the rodent brain, and to determine how these circuits participate in adaptive or maladaptive behavioral responses in various tasks.
Keywords: Synapse; physiology and plasticity; neural circuits; fear processing; reward processing; rodent behaviors related to mental disorders
Penzo, M.A., Robert, V., Tucciarone, J., De Bundel, D., Wang, M., Van Aelst, L., Darvas, M., Parada, L.F., Palmiter, R., He, M., Huang, Z.J., Li, B. 2015. The paraventricular thalamus controls a central amygdala fear circuit. Nature, Published online 19 January 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13978
Ahrens, S., Jaramillo, S., Yu, K., Ghosh, S., Lai, C., Huang, Z.J., Li, B. 2015.ErbB4 regulation of a thalamic reticular nucleus circuit for sensory selection. Nature Neuroscience 18:104-111.
Wang, M., Perova, Z., Arenkiel, B.R., Li, B. 2014. Synaptic modifications in the prefrontal cortex in susceptibility and resilience to stress. The Journal of Neuroscience 34:7485-7492.
Penzo, M.A., Robert, V., and Li, B. 2014. Fear conditioning potentiates synaptic transmission onto long-range projection neurons in the lateral subdivision of the central amygdala. The Journal of Neuroscience 34:2432–2437.
Li, H., Penzo, M.A., Taniguchi, H., Kopec, C.D., Huang, Z.J., and Li, B. 2013. Experience-dependent modification of a central amygdala fear circuit. Nature Neuroscience 16: 332–339.
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