The focused neuroscience cluster is supported by two prestigious A*STAR awards: Visiting Investigatorship Program (Visiting Investigator: Prof Thomas C. Südhof; Program Director: Dr Han Weiping) and A*STAR Investigatorship Program (A*I: Dr Fu Yu). These programs are designed to discover novel neuromodulators and neural circuits, and to understand their roles in the regulation of CNS and whole body energy homeostasis.
Visiting Consultant: Prof Thomas C. Südhof
Prof Thomas C. Südhof is currently Avram Goldstein Professor in the School of Medicine, professor of molecular and cellular physiology and of neurosurgery, and by courtesy, of neurology and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Standford University School of Medicine. His work over the last three decades has led to the discovery of numerous genes that are critically important in the execution and regulation of neurotransmitter release, and provided molecular details how neurons communicate one another. Moreover, his work has unveiled molecular basis of some of the neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, including autism, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer’s disease. In recognition of his pioneering work in these areas, he has received numerous awards including the Kavli Prize in neuroscience in 2010, Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award in 2013 (shared with Richard Scheller) and Nobel Prize in Physiology or medicine in 2013 (shared with Dr. James Rothman and Dr. Randy Schekman. He has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator since 1986.
Brain Plasticity Group (BPG)
Group Leader: Dr. FU Yu
Our research focuses on understanding the central regulation of energy homeostasis.
One of the biggest challenges of the modern society is the conflict between the eating regulation mechanisms shaped by evolution to survive under food-scarcity and the food abundance in majority of the world brought by technological revolution. Such challenge led to rapid growing epidemic of obesity and many other metabolic diseases.
Genetic factors together with environmental or social influences shape neural circuits and determine behavioural outcomes. Energy homeostasis and metabolism are tightly regulated by brain in mammalians and maladaptation of the underlying neural circuits is crucial for the development of metabolic diseases. Elucidating how the genetically defined neural circuits respond to the change of lifestyle will provide new insights in better treating metabolic diseases. Our research focuses on revealing the neural circuits of energy homeostasis regulation and the mechanisms of the plastic change of these circuits in response to change of lifestyle. We use an array of cutting-edge technologies in systems neuroscience research, including 2-photon microscope with virtual reality system, microendoscope, fiberphotometry, light sheet microscope, functional MRI and molecular/viral tools. We also develop new transgenic mouse lines for investigating specific subgroups of brain cells.