- Adult neurogenesis function and regulation
Adult neurogenesis occurs in a unique microenvironment (niche) and recapitulates the complete neural developmental process in a mature central nervous system. Our primary research interests are: 1) To identify the circuit mechanisms that regulate neural circuit organization and function at distinct stages of adult neurogenesis, including activation and fate choice of quiescent neural stem cells, survival of proliferating neural progenitors, and synaptic integration of newborn neurons; 2) To understand how circuit-level information-processing properties are remodeled by the integration of new neurons into existing circuits and how dysregulation of this process may contribute to various neurological and mental disorders. Our long-range goals are to translate general principles governing neural network function into directions relevant for understanding neuropsychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia and autism, and neuronal replacement therapy for brain injuries, such as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. We are addressing these questions using a combination of innovative and multifaceted approaches, including in vivo multi-channel recording, patch-clamp electrophysiology, calcium imaging, optogenetics and chemogenetics, clonal analysis for lineage tracing/fate mapping of adult neural stem/progenitor cells, high-resolution confocal microscopy, and sophisticated mouse genetic models.