Department of Molecular Biochemistry
Yale University, Postdoc Fellow, Biophysics , USA
My ultimate career goal is to become an independent investigator in molecular neuroscience. I will oversee research that focuses on the neural circuit and brain networking of pain and mental diseases. I hope to make significant contributions to the field of molecular neuroscience in order to help those who suffer mental disorders. By improving our understanding of how connections in the brain develop, stabilize, and degenerate, I hope to discover new interventions to prevent synapse loss and degeneration through improved drug efficacy or new diagnostic tests to identify those at risk for developing brain illness. After obtaining my biology degree from Xi?an Jiaotong University in September 2007, I joined the laboratory of Dr. Yu-Qiu Zhang at Fudan University as a recommended student (Top 5%). I obtained my Ph.D. in 2012 and received the Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) Tomorrow?s Star Award for my accomplishments as a Ph.D. student. My thesis work focused on the circuitry and molecular mechanisms that mediate aversive behavior to pain, which was supported by the Excellent Doctor Project Foundation of the Ministry of Education in China. My two major first-author publications resulting from this work were published in Cerebral Cortex and Pain. During this period I mastered whole cell patch recording, cell culture, immunohisto/cytochemistry, living cell/confocal imaging, behavioral test and surgery techniques. I came to Yale in October 2012 to join the laboratory of Dr. Anthony Koleske, a leader in the field of cytoskeletal signaling who has expertise in diverse cellular and molecular biology techniques from protein expression and purification to high-end microscopy and conditional knockout mouse production. As a new direction for the lab, I designed and successfully implemented a patch-clamp electrophysiology system, and used acute hippocampal brain slices to characterize the changes in glutamatergic signaling that mediate dendritic spine stabilization and synaptic plasticity. My expertise in electrophysiology combined with the extensive training in molecular assays and genetic engineering I have received in the Koleske lab will make me singularly placed to reach a deeper understanding of the molecular pathology of synapse destabilization. Since my second year in Yale postdoctoral training, I have also been co-mentored by Dr. Michael Higley, who is a renowned expert in applying state-of-the-art optical techniques to probe the effects of neuromodulators on neuronal circuits and synaptic physiology. Dr. Higley has guided me in learning innovative optogenetic and two-photon microscopy techniques in order to extend my research specialties to the intra-dendritic spine and synapse areas. I complement my existing electrophysiology knowledge with two-photon calcium imaging and glutamate uncaging learned from Dr. Higley to address how excitation and neuromodulatory signaling pathways interact to shape synaptic communication between neurons in microcircuits. Furthermore, I have continue my training in MATLAB and Python programming to strengthen my ability in rigorous data analysis. In the year of 2016, I published a first author paper on the coordination of pre- and postsynaptic maturation in the Journal of Neuroscience and received a postdoc fellowship from American Heart Association.
Molecular biochemistry, Biophysics