Skip to main content

Research Description

Adult neurogenesis occurs in unique microenvironment (niche) and recapitulates the complete neural developmental process in a mature central nervous system, including proliferation and differentiation of neural progenitor/stem cells, neuronal development and synapse formation, maturation and maintenance. Our primary research interest is to identify the mechanisms that regulate neural circuit organization and function at distinct stages of adult neurogenesis, and to understand how circuit-level information-processing properties are remodeled by the integration of new neurons into existing circuits and how disregulation 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 neurological and psychiatric diseases. Therefore, research focuses in my laboratory are to investigate molecular and circuitry mechanisms underlying activity-dependent regulation of different phases of adult neurogenesis, from quiescent neural stem cells to developing newborn neurons, and to investigate how new neurons contribute to neural networks, both with respect to circuitry and behavior, in healthy and various disease states. We believe that the exquisite specificity of established optogenetic approaches will enable us to gain insight into the interplay between network activity and neuronal development and to understand the influence of genetic risk factors on circuit establishment and function. Ultimately, mimicking basic features crucial for normal circuit function and niche establishment may contribute to novel strategies directed toward understanding the deficits associated with neurological and mental disorders. We are addressing these questions using a combination of cutting-edge technologies and approaches, including optogenetics, high-resolution microscopy, in vitro and in vivoelectrophysiology, genetic lineage tracing and molecular biology.

The Song lab is currently recruiting motivated postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, research associates, and undergraduates.

Selected Publications

  1. Asrican B#, Wooten J#, Li Y, Quintanilla L, Zhang F, Bao H, Yeh CY, Wander C, Luo YJ, Olsen RHJ, Lim SA, Jin P, Song J* (2020). Neuropeptides modulate local astrocytes to regulate adult hippocampal neural stem cells. Neuron (in press)
  2. Li Y, Bao H, Luo Y, Yoan C, Sullivan HA, Quintanilla L, Wickersham IR, Lazarus M, Shin YY, Song J* (2020). Supramammillary nucleus synchronizes with dentate gyrus to regulate spatial memory retrieval through glutamate release. eLife doi: 10.7554/eLife.53129.
  3. Yeh CY#, Asrican B#, Moss J, Quintanilla L, He T, Mao X, Cassé F, Gebara E, Bao H, Lu W, Toni N, Song J* (2018). Mossy cells control adult neural stem cell quiescence and maintenance through a dynamic balance between direct and indirect pathways. Neuron 99(3):493-510 (Featured article, issue highlights)  
  4. Bao H#, Asrican B#, Li W#, Gu B, Wen ZX, Lim ZA, Haniff I, Ramakrishnan C, Deisseroth K, Philpot B, Song J* (2017). Long-range GABAergic inputs regulate neurl stem cell quiescence and control adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Cell Stem Cell 21(5):604-617 (Cover article, featured article, issue highlights, recommended by F1000, selected as Best Articles in 2017 in Cell Stem Cell) 
  5. Song J, Sun J, Moss J, Wen Z, Sun G, Hsu D, Zhong C, Davoudi H, Christian K, Toni N, Ming GL, Song H (2013). Parvalbumin interneurons mediate neuronal circuitry-neurogenesis coupling in the adult hippocampus. Nature Neuroscience 16(12):1728-30
  6. Song J, Zhong C, Bonaguidi MA, Sun G, Hsu D, Gu Y, Meletis K, Huang J, Ge S, Enikolopov G, Deisseroth K, Luscher B, Christian K, Ming GL, Song H (2012). Neuronal circuitry mechanism regulating adult quiescent neural stem-cell fate decision. Nature 489: 150-154 (Featured in Cell Stem Cell, Nat Rev Neurosci, BioEssays, F1000 must read) 
Juan Song