ZHU Yingjie

ZHU Yingjie

PhD, Principal investigator

Understand how brain circuits mediate motivated behavior and how disruption of these circuits leads to various kinds of neuropsychiatric disorders such as drug addiction and depression.

Key Labhttp://szkl-addiction.siat.ac.cn

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Motivated 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 diseases including drug 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 also demonstrated that PVT to the Nucleus Accumbens (NAc) pathway mediates opiate withdrawal symptoms. Currently, we apply multidisciplinary approach, including viral-based neural tracing, optogenetic manipulation, in-vivo and slice electrophysiology to study the role of PVT and related circuits in motivated behavior.


Director of Shenzhen Key Lab of Drug Addcition since 2020.
Executive director of Shenzhen Neher Neural Plasticity Laboratory since 2019.
Principal 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.

Selected publications

  1. Distinct reward processing by subregions of the nucleus accumbens. Chen G, Lai S, Bao G, Ke J, Meng X, Lu S, We X, Xu H, Wu F, Xu Y, Xu F, Bi G, Peng G, Zhou K*, Zhu Y*, Cell Reports. 2023 Feb 6;42(2):112069. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2023.112069.
  2. Reward and aversion processing by input-defined parallel nucleus accumbens circuits in mice. Kuikui Zhou, Hua Xu, Shanshan Lu, Shaolei Jiang, Guoqiang Hou, Xiaofei Deng, Miao He, Yingjie Zhu*, Nat Commun. 2022 Oct 21;13(1):6244. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-33843-3.
  3. A circuit from lateral septum neurotensin neurons to tuberal nucleus controls hedonic feeding.Chen Z, Chen G, Zhong J, Jiang S, Lai S, Xu H, Deng X, Li F, Lu S, Zhou K, Li C, Liu Z, Zhang X, Zhu Y*. Mol Psychiatry. 2022 Aug 26. doi: 0.1038/s41380-022-01742-0.
  4. Orchestrating Opiate-Associated Memories in Thalamic Circuits.Keyes PC, Adams EL, Chen Z, Bi L, Nachtrab G, Wang VJ, Tessier-Lavigne M, Zhu Y*, Chen X*Neuron. 2020 Sep 23;107(6):1113-1123.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.06.028.
  5. The paraventricular thalamic nucleus: A key hub of neural circuits underlying drug addiction.Zhou K, Zhu YPharmacol Res. 2019 Apr;142:70-76. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2019.02.014.
  6. Dynamic salience processing in paraventricular thalamus gates associative learning. Zhu Y, Nachtrab G, Keyes PC, Allen WE, Luo L, Chen X. Science. 2018 Oct 26;362(6413):423-429. doi: 10.1126/science.aat0481.
  7. A thalamic input to the nucleus accumbens mediates opiate dependence. Zhu Y, Wienecke CF, Nachtrab G, Chen X. Nature. 2016 Feb 11;530(7589):219-22. doi: 10.1038/nature16954. Epub 2016 Feb 3.
  8. Control of response reliability by parvalbumin-expressing interneurons in visual cortex. Zhu Y#, Qiao W#, Liu K, Zhong H, Yao H. Nat Commun. 2015 Apr 14;6:6802. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7802.