PhD, Associate Professor
Neural Regulation of Vision, Attention and Emotion in Nonhuman Primates
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We are interested in understanding the neural circuits of visual perception, attention, and emotion in the nonhuman primates, and how we can regulate these basic functions through manipulating the activities of specific neurons or pathways.
To this end, we use several novel neuromodulation techniques including optogenetics, chemogenetics, in combination with electrophysiological and brain imaging techniques, to uncover how visual information is encoded in the brain, how attention modulates perception, how emotion interacts with cognition, and how these functions can be manipulated in the behaving monkeys. Eventually, we hope our findings can help to pave the way for extensively translational studies and clinical application in the near future.


Monkey, Optogenetics, Chemogenetics, Electrophysiology, iEEG, Machine learning, Brain-machine interface


Open Positions
Postdoc and Research Assistant positions are open for application. We also welcome part time students from all over the world. Please send your CV and application to Dr. Dai for more information.


2017.10- present, Associate Professor (PI) at SIAT CAS
2014.9-2017.9, Associate Professor at Institute of Psychology, CAS
2010.9-2015.2, Postdoctoral Research Associate at Brown University
2003.9-2010.1, Institute of Biophysics, CAS, PhD
1999-9-2003.6, Nanjing University, B.S

Selected publications

  1. Yefei Chen, Jingyi Wang, Jing Liu, Shijing Feng, Tianhui Zhang, Jianbang Lin, Liang Shan, Yunping Lin, Tian Li, Jonathan Wilde, Ji Dai*, Zhonghua Lu*. “Circuit-Specific Gene Therapy Reverses Core Symptoms in a Primate Parkinson’s Disease Model”. (in revision in Cell)
  2. Jingyi Wang; Jianbang Lin; Yefei Chen; Jing Liu; Qiongping Zheng; Zhenyan Xu; Ruiqi Wang; Shijing Feng; Jiamei Duan; Yujing Zhang; Yu Hu; Taian Liu; Ting Yan; Zexuan Hong; Mengqi Li; Yunping Lin; Yuantao Li; Ji Dai; Yu Chen; Qian Chen, Zhonghua Lu. “A Novel Ultra-Compact Promoter Drives Widespread Neuronal Expression in Mouse and Monkey Brains”. (in revision)
  3. Xinhe Liu, Lu Gan, Zhiting Zhang, Panke Yu, Ji Dai*. “Probing the Processing of Facial Expression via Time Perception and Eye Tracking in Monkeys”, Zoological Research (in revision).
  4. Yefei Chen#, Jingyi Wang#, Jing Liu#, Jianbang Lin, Yunping Lin, Jinyao Nie, Qi Yue, Chunshan Deng, Xiaofei Qi, Yuantao Li, Ji Dai*, Zhonghua Lu*. “A Novel Retrograde AAV Variant for Functional Manipulation of Cortical Projection Neurons in Mice and Monkeys”, Neuroscience Bulletin (in press).
  5. Ji Dai*, Xin Cao, Yong Han, Tianbin Song, Yuming Guo, Jie Qiao. “The Innovation Medicine: An international journal of medical science”, The Innovation Medicine, 2023 (accepted).
  6. Ji Dai*, “Launching from Earth”, The Innovation, 2023, 100430 (in press).
  7. Liang Shan#, Liu Yuan#, Bo Zhang#, Jian Ma, Xiao Xu, Fei Gu, Yi Jiang*, Ji Dai*. “Neural Integration of Audiovisual Sensory Inputs in Macaque Amygdala and adjacent Regions”, Neuroscience Bulletin, 2023 (in press).
  8. Gaojia Zhang#, Yan Kong#,*, Ling Li, Dandan Xu, Yu Bao, Zhiting Zhang, Jiao Jiao, Dandan Fan, Xiaojing Long, Ji Dai, Chunming Xie, Zhiqiang Meng*, Zhijun Zhang*. “Vitamin D-Binding Protein in Plasma Microglia-Derived Extracellular Vesicles as A Biomarker for Major Depressive Disorder”, Genes & Disease, 2023 (in press).
  9. Zhiting Zhang#, Liang Shan#, Yuyin Wang, Wenfang Li, Minqing Jiang, Feng Liang, Shijing Feng, Zhonghua Lu, Hong Wang*, Ji Dai*. Primate Preoptic Neurons Drive Hypothermia and Cold Defense. The Innovation, 2023, 4:100358.
  10. Liang Shan#*, Hui Huang#, Zhiting Zhang, Yuyin Wang, Fei Gu, Mingwei Lu, Wen Zhou, Yi Jiang*, Ji Dai*, “Mapping the Emergence of Visual Consciousness in the Human Brain via Brain-wide Intracranial Electrophysiology”, The Innovation, 2022, 3:100243.
  11. Ying Zhang#*, Dheeraj Roy#*, Yi Zhu, Yefei Chen, Tomomi Aida, Yuanyuan Hou, Chenjie Shen, Nicholas Lea, Margaret Schroeder, Keith Skaggs, Heather Sullivan, Kyle Fischer, Edward Callaway, Ian Wickersham, Ji Dai, Xiao-Ming Li, Zhonghua Lu, Guoping Feng*. “Targeting thalamic circuits rescues motor and mood deficits in PD mice”, Nature, 2022, 607: 321-329.
  12. Lu Gan, Jinglong Wu, Ji Dai*, Shintaro Funahashi*. “The Mechanism for Allocating Limited Working Memory Resources in Multitasking”, Neuroscience Bulletin, 2022, 38(7):829-833.
  13. Jiani Chen, Liang Shan, Ji Dai*. “Distinct Recovery Process of Consciousness and Cognition after Anesthesia”, Neuroscience Bulletin, 2022, 38(1): 110-112.
  14. Yongjun Xu, Qi Wang, Zhulin An, et al., “Artificial Intelligence: A Powerful Paradigm for Scientific Research and Technological Innovation”. The Innovation.2021, 2:100179.
  15. Ji Dai*. “Gaining a Better Understanding of Nonhuman Primate Research”, Science Bulletin, 2021, 66(15):1499-1501.
  16. Yuxuan Yao, Ji Dai*. “Naturally Occurring Parkinson’s Disease Raises the Need for Nonhuman Primate in Neurodegenerative Diseases Research”, Neuroscience Bulletin, 2021, 37(8):1267-1269.
  17. Tremblay S, Acker L, Afraz A, et al., “An Open Resource for Non-human Primate Optogenetics”. Neuron. 2020, 108(6):1075-1090.e6.
  18. Chunshan Deng, Hong Yuan, Ji Dai*. “Behavioral Manipulation by Optogenetics in the Nonhuman Primate”,The Neuroscientist, 2018, 24(5): 526-539.
  19. Ji Dai, Yi Wang*. “Contrast coding in the primary visual cortex depends on temporal contexts”, European Journal of Neuroscience. 2018, 47(8): 947-58.
  20. Bo Zhang, Ji Dai*, Tao Zhang. “NeoAnalysis: A Python-Based Toolbox for Quick Electrophysiological Data Processing and Analysis”. Biomedical Engineering Online. 2017, 16:129.
  21. Ji Dai*, Tao Zhang. “The progress of optogenetic studies in nonhuman primates”. Progress in Biochemistry and Biophysics, 2016, 43(4): 354-360.
  22. Ji Dai, Ilker Ozden, Daniel I. Brooks, Fabien Wagner, Travis May, Naubahar Agha, Benjamin Brush, David Borton, Arto V. Nurmikko, David L. Sheinberg. “Modified toolbox for optogenetics in the nonhuman primate”, Neurophotonics, 2015, 2(3), 031202.
  23. Ji Dai, Daniel I. Brooks, David L. Sheinberg. “Optogenetic and electrical stimulation systematically bias visuospatial choice in the nonhuman primate”. Current Biology, 2014, 24(1):63-9.
  24. Ji Dai and Yi Wang. “Representation of Surface Luminance and Contrast in Primary Visual Cortex”, Cerebral Cortex. 2012, 22(4):776-87.