Luo, Minmin

PI, IDG/McGovern Institute, Tsinghua University
Professor, School of Life Science, Tsinghua University
PI, National Institute of Biological Sciences

[Research Focus]

Reward and punishment motivate animal behaviors, produce the feelings of pleasure and disappointment, and guide learning and memory formation. They are a matter of life and death for an individual as well as the species, and affect mood and emotion in our daily life. Mice share with humanskey features of reward- and punishment-related behaviors and theunderlying neural pathways. Using genetically modified mice as the model system, my laboratory studies how neural circuits organize behavioral responses to reward and punishment. At present we focus on the dorsal raphe nucleus and the medial habenula, as well as their interconnected brain areas. Using electrophysiological and optical approaches, we record the activity patterns of genetically identified neuron types from behaving mice. We also combine optogenetics and chemogenetics to examine how stimulation, inhibition, or lesion of specific neurons affects animal behaviors. Finally, we carry out whole-cell patch recordings from brain slices to study the effects of drugs and cellular signal transduction pathways. The dysfunctions of reward and punishment processing are associated with several devastating psychiatric disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia, and drug addiction. Thus, our study not only help understand the neurobiological basis of some fundamental animal behaviors but also may facilitate clinical efforts toward the cure of mental diseases.

[Education & Experience]

2012-Present     PI, IDG/McGovern Institute, Tsinghua University
2009-Present     Professor, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University
2005-Present     Assistant Investigator and Laboratory Head, National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing, China
2004-2005         Investigator and Laboratory Head, Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China
1999-2004         Postdoctoral Research Associate, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University
2000                  Ph.D. in Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania
1997                  M.S. in Computer Science, University of Pennsylvania
1995                  B.S. in Psychology, Peking University

[Selected Publications]

  • Lin R, Feng Q, Li P, Zhou P, Wang R, Liu Z, Wang Z, Qi Z, Tang N, Shao F, Luo M* (2018) A hybridizationchain-reaction-based method for amplifying immunosignals. Nature Methods doi:10.1038/nmeth.4611.
  • Li Y, Zeng J, Zhang J, Yue C, Zhong W, Liu Z, Feng Q, Luo M* (2018) Hypothalamic Circuits for Predation and Evasion Neuron 97, 911–924, doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2018.01.005.
  • Zhong W, Li Y, Feng Q, Luo M* (2017) Learning and Stress Shape the Reward Response Patterns of Serotonin Neurons. J Neurosci 37, 8863-8875.
  • Wang D, Li Y, Feng Q, Guo Q, Zhou J, Luo M* (2017) Learning shapes the aversion and reward responses of lateral habenula neurons. eLife 6:e23045.
  • Luo J., Feng Q, Wei LCA, Luo M* (2017) Optogenetic activation of dorsal raphe neurons rescues the autistic-like social deficits in Shank3 knockout mice. Cell Res DOI: 10.1038/cr.2017.52.
  • Zhang J, Tan L, Ren Y, Liang J, Lin R, Feng Q, Zhou J, Hu F, Ren J, Wei C, Yu T, Zhuang Y, Bettler B, Wang F, Luo M* (2016) Presynaptic excitation via GABAB receptors in habenula cholinergic neurons regulates fear memory expression. Cell 166:716–728. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.06.026.
  • Li Y, Zhong W, Wang D, Feng Q, Liu Z, Zhou J, Jia C, Hu F, Zeng J, Guo Q, Fu L, Luo M*(2016) Serotonin neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus encode reward signals. Nature Comms 7:10503 doi: 10.1038/ncomms10503.
  • Guo Q, Zhou J, Feng Q, Lin R, Gong H, Luo Q, Zeng S, Luo M*, Fu L* (2015) Multi-channel fiber photometry for population neuronal activity recording. Biomedical Optics Express 6:3919-3931. doi: 10.1364/BOE.6.003919.
  • Wang D, He X, Zhao Z, Feng Q, Lin R, Sun Y, Ding T, Xu FCA, Luo M*, Zhan C* (2015) Whole-brain mapping of the direct inputs and axonal projections of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) and agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons. Front. Neuroanat. DOI 10.3389/fnana.2015.00040.
  • Liu Z, Zhou J, Li Y, Hu F, Wang D, Lu Y, Ma M, Feng Q, Zhang J, Zeng J, Bao, Kim J, Chen Z, Mestikawy SE, Luo M* (2014) Dorsal raphe neurons signal reward through 5-HT and glutamate. Neuron 81:1360–1374.
  • Zhan CCA, Zhou J, Feng Q, Zhang J, Lin S, Bao J, Wu P, Luo M*(2013) Acute and long-term suppression of feeding behavior by POMC neurons in the brainstem and hypothalamus, respectively. J Neurosci 33:3624–3632.
  • Qin C, Luo M* (2009) Neurochemical Phenotypes of the Afferent and Efferent Projections of the Mouse Medial Habenula. Neuroscience, doi/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.03.085
  • Fan S, Luo M* (2009) The Organization of Feedback Projections in a Pathway Important for Processing Pheromonal Signals Neuroscience, doi/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.03.065
  • Sun L, Wan H, Hu J, Han J, Matsunami H, Luo M* (2009) Guanylyl Cyclase-D in the Olfactory CO2 Neurons is Activated by Bicarbonate. PNAS, 106:2041-2046.
  • Yan Z, Tan J, Qin C, Lu Y, Ding C, Luo M* (2008) Precise Circuitry Links Bilaterally Symmetric Olfactory Maps. Neuron 58:613–624. (Featured in a preview by Takeshi Imai and Hitoshi Sakano within the same issue of Neuron 58:456-467).
  • Bian X, Yanagawa Y, Chen WR, Luo M* (2008) Cortical-like Functional Organization of the Pheromone-processing Circuits in the Medial Amygdala. J Neurophysiol, 99:77-86.
  • Luo M* (2008) The Necklace Olfactory System in Mammals. J Neurogenetics, 22:229-238.
  • Hu J, Zhong C, Ding C, Chi Q, Walz A, Mombaerts P, Matsunami H, Luo M* (2007) Detection of near-atmospheric concentrations of CO2 by an olfactory subsystem. Science, 317:953-957.
  • Luo, M* and Katz LC (2004) Encoding Pheromones by the Mammalian Vomeronasal System. Curr Opinion Neurobiol 14:428-34.
  • Luo, M*. (2004) Got milk A pheromonal message for newborn rabbits. Bioessays 26:6-9.
  • Luo, M*, Fee, MS, and Katz, LC (2003) Encoding pheromonal signals in the accessory olfactory bulb of behaving mice. Science 299:1196-1201.
  • Luo, M* and Katz, LC (2001) Response correlation maps of neurons in the mammalian olfactory bulb. Neuron 32:1165-1179.
  • Luo, M*, Ding, L, and Perkel, DJ (2001) An avian basal ganglia pathway essential forvocal learning nucleus in the zebra finch song system forms closed topographic loops. J Neurosci 21:6836-45.
  • Luo, M*, and Perkel, DJ (1999) A GABAergic, strongly inhibitory projection to a thalamic nucleus in the zebra finch song system. J Neurosci. 19(15):6700-11.
  • Luo, M*, and Perkel, DJ (1999) Long-range GABAergic projection in a circuit essential for vocal learning. J Comp Neurol 403: 68-84.