Primary Appointment Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Education Ph.D. Physiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.S. Biophysics, Beijing University, China
Areas of Interest Neurotechnology, optical neural modulation, optogenetics, neural prosthetics, neural network dynamics, brain rhythms, neurological and psychiatric diseases, cognition.
Research Areas Brain disorders represent the biggest unmet medical need, with many disorders being untreatable, and most treatments presenting serious side effects. Accordingly, we are discovering design principles for novel neuromodulation therapies. We invent and apply a variety of genetic, molecular, pharmacological, optical, and electrical tools to correct neural circuits that go awry within the brain. As an example, we have pioneered several technologies for silencing specific cells in the brain using pulses of light. We have also recently participated the first pre-clinical testing of a novel neurotechnology, optical neural modulation. Using these novel neurotechnologies and classical ones such as deep brain stimulation (DBS), we modulate the function of neural circuits to establish causal links between neural dynamics and behavioral phenomena (e.g., movement, attention, memory, and decision making). One of our current interests is the investigation of how neural synchrony arises within and across brain regions, and how synchronous activity contributes to normal cognition and pathology.