Neuroscience CommunityBACK

Yuan, Kexin
Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine

Tel: +86-10-62783759

Fax: +86-10-62773380


Office: B218, Medicial Sciences Building

[Research Focus] For human being, audition plays crucial roles in language communication, learning, appreciation of music and social life. For rodents (both rats and mice), audition is important for their survival in natural environment and social interaction. Impaired auditory processing is tightly correlated with some well-known neurodevelopmental disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism. However, compared to other sensory systems, our understanding of auditory system is still very limited at molecular, synaptic, cellular, circuit and behavioral levels. In my laboratory, we are particularly interested in cortical and subcortical mechanisms underlying the processing of sounds and neural circuits underlying cognitive functions related to auditory behavior. Understanding these processes will help us understand the neural basis of audition and cognition, and may also help us develop treatments for cognitive disorders.
Current research directions:
1. The representation of sounds in auditory cortex and the modulation of these representations by cognitive functions, such as emotion, attention and motivation.
2. The role of inhibitory circuits in the maturation of auditory cortical functions.
3. Use modern tracing techniques to dissect the cell-type specific ascending and descending auditory pathways.
4. Neural circuits and cortical mechanisms underlying auditory task-switching flexibility.

3. Neural circuit mechanisms underlying animal social behavior

[Me & Science] More than ten years ago, my Ph.D. study about auditory cortex triggered my curiosity in neural circuits. With the belief that one will find the root of neural physiological properties and behavior in anatomical connections, my research has been focusing on cortical inhibitory circuits, which is implicated in various brain disorders including schizophrenia, autism and epilepsy. So far, I have looked at inhibitory circuits, particularly in the auditory cortex, from the perspectives of synaptic integration, anatomy and development. Lately, we are expanding our focus from cortical inhibitory circuits to those subcortical ones. We are asking how those inhibitory circuits participate in animal’s cognitive behavior.
[Education & Experience]

2012-present Tenure-track Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine, Tsinghua University
2009-2012     Postdoctoral Fellow, Coleman Memorial Laboratory, University of California, San Francisco
2006-2008     Postdoctoral Fellow, Coleman Memorial Laboratory, University of California, San Francisco
                      Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Molecular and Cell BiologyUniversity of California, Berkeley

2001-2006     Ph.D. in Neuroscience, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
1997-2001     B.S.  in Biochemistry, Yantai University, Yantai, China

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