Faculty Research Page

Yang Dan

Yang Dan

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor of Neurobiology

Env Full Directory Information

Research Interests

Our research aims to elucidate (1) what circuits in the mammalian brain control sleep, and (2) mechanisms by which the frontal cortex exerts top-down executive control. We use a variety of techniques, including optogenetics, electrophysiology, imaging, and virus-mediated circuit tracing.

Current Projects

Neural circuits controlling sleep. Using optogenetic manipulation, optrode recording, and cell-type-specific calcium imaging, we identify neuronal types that play critical roles in the generation of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. Local synaptic interactions between cell types are measured by recordings in brain slices, and long-range connections are mapped using a variety of viral tools.

Function of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Combining electrophysiological recording, calcium imaging, and optogenetic manipulation in mice performing PFC-dependent tasks, we aim to understand how the PFC generate task-related activity, and how the activity regulates the downstream targets for optimal behavioral control.

Selected Publications

Froemke, R.C. and Dan, Y. (2002). Spike timing-dependent synaptic modification induced by natural  spike trains. Nature 416, 433-438.

Fu, Y., Djupsund, K., Gao, H., Hayden, B., Shen, K., and Dan, Y. (2002). Temporal specificity in the cortical plasticity of visual space representation. Science 296, 1999-2003.

Froemke, R.C., Poo, M.-m., and  Dan, Y. (2005). Spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity depends on dendritic location, Nature 434, 221-225.

Li, C.T., Poo, M.-m. and Dan, Y. (2009). Burst spiking of a single cortical neuron modifies global brain state. Science 324, 643-646.

Li, Y., Lu, H., Cheng, P., Ge, S., Xu, H., Shi, S.-H., and Dan, Y. (2012). Clonally related visual cortical neurons show similar stimulus feature selectivity. Nature 486, 118-121.

Lee, S.-H., Kwan, A.C., Zhang, S., Phoumthipphavong, V., Flannery, J.G., Masmanidis, S.C., Taniguchi, H., Huang, Z.J., Zhang, F., Boyden, E.S., Deisseroth, K., and Dan, Y. (2012). Activation of specific interneurons improves V1 feature selectivity and visual perception. Nature 488, 379-383.

Pinto, L., Goard, M.J., Estandian, D., Xu, M., Kwan, A.C., Lee, S.H., Harrison, T.C., Feng, G., Dan, Y. (2013). Fast modulation of visual perception by basal forebrain cholinergic neurons. Nat. Neurosci. 16, 1857-1863.

Zhang, S., Xu, M., Kamigaki, T., Hoang, J.P., Chang, W.C., Jenvay, S., Miyamichi, K., Luo, L., Dan, Y. (2014). Long-range and local circuits for top-down modulation of visual cortex processing. Science 345, 660-665.

Pinto, L., Dan, Y. (2015) Cell-type-specific activity in prefrontal cortex during goal-directed behavior. Neuron 87, 437-450.

Weber, F., Chung, S., Beier, K.T., Luo, L., Dan, Y. (2015). Control of REM sleep by ventral medulla GABAergic neurons. Nature 526, 435-438.

Xu, M., Chung, S., Zhang, S., Zhong, P., Ma, C., Chang, W.-C., Weissbourd, B., Sakai, N., Luo, L., Nishino, S., and Dan, Y. (2015). Basal forebrain circuit for sleep-wake control. Nat. Neurosci., in press.  

Photo courtesy of HHMI, credit Noah Berger.

Last Updated 2015-10-24