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The He Lab

Research Interests


Research Area

Plasticity & Stability Experience has profound influence on our nervous system, both during development and in adulthood. It not only directly shapes the fine tuning of neural circuits, but also sets the capacity of the circuit to be changed by further experience, thereby maintaining an intricate balance between plasticity and stability within the neural circuits. The goal of my lab is to unravel the multifaceted roles experience plays in the development and refinement of neuronal circuits, with a specific focus on the inhibitory neurons during early development and its roles in the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders. Understanding the role of experience in the formation and maturation of inhibitory neuronal circuits will also provide important insights in devising better therapeutic strategies for neurodevelopmental disorders, as plasticity of inhibitory circuits may also underlie the malfunction of brain activities in the addiction and mental illness. Our animal model is the albino Xenopus laevis (tadpole). The central nervous system of the tadpole is amenable to a wide variety of manipulations from molecular to circuit level. The visual circuit of the tadpole is fully functional at this versatile early developmental stage. It provides a unique in vivo vertebrate system to study the basic laws governing the organization and formation of nascent neural circuits, where plasticity and stability are both pivotal for the survival of the animal.

Current Members

He, Hai-Yan (Principal Investigator/Director)


Institution: Georgetown University

Dept. Biology
Georgetown University
Washington, DC

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