ResearchMotivated behaviors such as seeking reward and avoiding danger are essential for animal to survive. The brain mechanisms underlying those behaviors have not been fully characterized. Moreover, abnormal motivated behavior is a prominent feature of many neuropsychiatric diseasesincludingdrug addiction and depression. Recent studies have suggested that paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus (PVT) play a critical role in processing negative emotions such as fear and anxiety.Our previous study alsodemonstrated that PVT to the Nucleus Accumbens (NAc) pathway mediates opiate withdrawal symptoms. Currently, we apply multidisciplinaryapproach, including viral-based neural tracing, optogenetic manipulation, in-vivo and slice electrophysiology to study the role of PVT and related circuits in motivated behavior.
BiographyPrincipal investigator at SIAT CAS since 2017
2013-2017, Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University
2006-2013, Institute of Neuroscience, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, PhD.
2002-2006, Sun Yat-Sen University, BSc in Biochemistry
1.Zhu Y, Wienecke C, Nathtrab G, Chen, X. A thalamic input to the nucleus accumbens mediates opiate dependence. Nature, 2016; 530:219-222.
2.Zhu Y, Qiao W, Liu K, Zhong H, Yao H. Control of response reliability by parvalbumin-expressing interneurons in visual cortex. Nat. Commun., 2015; 6:6802.
3.Zhu Y, Yao H. (2013) Modification of visual cortical receptive field induced by natural stimuli. Cereb. Cortex., 2013; 23:1923-1932.