PhD, Professor
Investigates neural circuitry of emotion, focusing on the subcortical-cortical interaction by optogenetics, electrophysiology and animal behavior.
Office Phone: 

Research Areas


Mental disorders defined as disruption in neural circuits (NIMH) cause abnormal thoughts, emotions and behavior, such as schizophrenia, depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder and others, which are recognized as one of the leading global health challenges. Fear is a basic and highly conserved emotion. Fear circuits and their important implication in understanding human fear and anxiety disorders is an emerging field in emotion and behavior neuroscience research. However, little is known about the cross talk of the neural circuits between the innate fear, learned fear and anxiety. Dissection of functional neural circuits for fear and anxiety will help us to understand the mechanisms of mental disorders at neural circuit level, also, will lead us to search the identification of biomarkers and novel candidate drug targets, as well as the development of novel mechanism-based cognitive or behavioral interventions for mental disorders. Research in this laboratory is to understand the neural circuitry basis of emotion and mental disorders, which is focused on: (1) determining the structure and function of brain specific neuronal subtypes control specific emotional behavior, including innate fear, learned fear and anxiety; (2) elucidating the modified neural circuits properties in mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder.


2005-2008, Postdoctoral research at the Department of Bioengineering at Stanford University with Prof. Dr. Karl Deisseroth; 
2005, PhD degree in medical neuroscience from Charite-University Medicine, Berlin, Germany, with Prof. Dr. Helmut Kettenmann at the Department of Cellular Neurosciences, Max-Delbruck-Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC).


Work Experience


2009-present, Professor, Director, Brain Cognition and Brain Disease Institute; Founder and Director, Shenzhen Key Lab of Neuropsychiatric Modulation, Guangdong Key Lab of Brain Connectomics, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences 



Selected publications

1.         Zheng Zhou#, Xuemei Liu#, Shanping Chen, Zhijian Zhang, Yuanming Liu, Quentin Montardy, Yongqiang Tang, Pengfei Wei, Nan Liu, Lei Li, Ru Song, Juan Lai, Xiaobin He, Chen Chen, Guoqiang Bi, Guoping Feng, Fuqiang Xu*, Liping Wang*. A VTA GABAergic neural circuit mediates visually evoked innate defensive responses. Neuron. 2019, 103:1-16.(*corresponding author)

2.         Li L#, Feng XL#, Zhou Z#, Zhang HQ, Shi QQ, Lei ZG, Shen PL, Yang QN, Zhao BH, Chen SR, Li L, Zhang YL, Wen PJ, Lu ZH, Li X, Xu FQ, Wang LP*.Stress accelerates defensive responses to looming in mice and involves a locus coeruleus - superior colliculus projection. Current Biology. 2018, 28(6):859-871. (*corresponding author)

3.         Wang J, Tu J, Cao B , Mu L, Yang XW, Cong M, Ramkrishnan Aruna S., Chan Rosa H.M. , Wang LP*, Li Y*. Astrocytic L-Lactate Signaling Facilitates Amygdala-Anterior Cingulate Cortex Synchrony and Decision Making in Rats. Cell Reports.2017;21(9):p2407–2418. (*corresponding author)

4.         Yang Y#, Wang ZH#, Jin S#, Gao D, Liu N, Chen SP, Zhang S, Liu Q, Liu E, Wang X, Liang X, Wei P, Li X, Li Y, Yue C, Li HL, Wang YL, Wang Q, Ke D, Xie Q, Xu F, Wang LP*, Wang JZ*. Opposite monosynaptic scaling of BLP-vCA1 inputs governs hopefulness- and helplessness-modulated spatial learning and memory. Nature Communications. 2016 Jul 14;7:11935. (*corresponding author)

5.         Lu Y, Zhong C, Wang LL, Wei PF, He W, Huang K, Zhang Y, Zhan Y, Feng GP, Wang LP*. Optogenetic dissection of ictal propagation in the hippocampal-entorhinal cortex structures. Nature Communications.2016,7:10962. (*corresponding author)

6.         Du H, Deng W, Aimone JB, Ge M, Parylak S, Walch K, Zhang W, Cook J, Song H, Wang LP, Gage FH, Mu Y*. Dopaminergic inputs in the dentate gyrus direct the choice of memory encoding. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Aug 29113(37):E5501-10.

7.         Jennings CG, Landman R, Zhou Y, Sharma J, Hyman J, Movshon JA, Qiu Z, Roberts AC, Roe AW, Wang X, Zhou H, Wang LP, Zhang F, Desimone R, Feng G. Opportunities and challenges in modeling human brain disorders in transgenic primates. Nat Neurosci. 2016 Aug 26;19(9):1123-30.

8.         Wang GQ, Cen C, Li C, Cao S, Wang N, Zhou Z, Liu XM, Xu Y, Tian NX, Zhang Y, Wang J, Wang LP*, Wang Y*. Deactivation of excitatory neurons in the prelimbic cortex via Cdk5 promotes pain sensation and anxiety. Nature Communications.2015,6:7660. (*corresponding author)

9.         Wei PF, Liu N, Zhang ZJ, Liu XM, Tang YQ, He XB, Wu BF, Zhou Z, Liu YH, Li J, Zhang Y, Zhou XY, Xu L, Chen L, Bi GQ,Hu XT, Xu FQ, Wang LP*. Processing of visually-evoked innate fear by a non-canonical thalamic pathway. Nature Communications. 2015,6:7756. (*corresponding author)

10.     Yang F, Liu YH, Tu J, Wan J, Zhang J, Wu BF, Chen SP, Zhou JW, Mu YL, Wang LP*.Activated astrocytes enhance the dopaminergic differentiation of stem cells and promote brain repair through bFGF. Nature Communications. 2014,5:6627. (*corresponding author)

11.     Zhang F*, Wang LP*, Brauner M, Liewald JF, Kay K, Watzke N., Wood PG, Bamberg E, Nagel G, Gottschalk A, Deisseroth K. Multimodal fast optical interrogation of neural circuitry. Nature. 2007 5;446(7136):633-9. (*Co-first authors)

12.     Zhang F*, Wang LP*, Boyden E.S, and Deisseroth K. Channelrhodopsin-2 and optical control of excitable cells. Nature Methods.2006;3, 785 - 792. (*Co-first authors)

7. Zhang F, Wang LP, Brauner M, Liewald JF, Kay K, Watzke N., Wood PG, Bamberg E, Nagel G, Gottschalk A, Deisseroth K. Multimodal fast optical interrogation of neural circuitry. Nature. 2007;446:633-9.



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