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Sohyun Ahn, Ph.D., Investigator

Dr. Ahn received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2000. Her graduate studies in the Laboratory of Dr. David Ginty focused on the role of CREB transcription factor in NGF-dependent gene expression and survival of sympathetic neurons. During her postdoctoral training in Dr. Alexandra Joyner's laboratory at New York University, she addressed the mechanism by which Shh signaling is transduced in vivo using mouse genetics approaches. In 2005, she joined the intramural research program at NICHD, NIH to head Unit on Developmental Neurogenetics. In 2006, She received the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the nation's highest honor for scientists at the onset of their independent careers. Dr. Ahn's laboratory is currently studying the cellular and genetic mechanisms underpinning neural stem cell specification and lineage decisions.
Photo of Sohyun Ahn, Ph.D., Investigator


Research Interests:
Hippocampus Dentate Gyrus Neural Stem Cells

Hippocampus Dentate Gyrus Neural Stem Cells

Sonic hedgehog (Shh) is a secreted protein that plays diverse roles in developing embryos and has been also implicated in the ongoing neurogenesis in the postnatal forebrain. She utilized an in vivo genetic fate mapping strategy using Gli1 as a sensitive read-out of Shh activity to systematically mark and follow the fate of Shh-responding cells in mouse (Ahn and Joyner 2004 Cell; Ahn and Joyner 2005 Nature). She demonstrated that only a small initial population of cells that include both quiescent neural stem cells (NSCs) and transit-amplifying (TA) cells responds to Shh in the neurogenic regions, but subsequently expands dramatically to continuously provide new neurons in the forebrain. Her study of the behavior of quiescent NSCs provides the first in vivo evidence that they can self-renew for over a year and generate multiple cell types (Ahn and Joyner 2005 Nature). Based on these results, Dr. Ahn's Unit on Developmental Neurogenetics will continue to investigate the biology of adult neural stem cells: First, the mechanism by which Shh maintains or promotes the survival/proliferation of NSCs: Second, the identity of genes that are specifically expressed in the quiescent NSCs vs. proliferating TA cells: Third, the function of newly generated neurons in the hippocampus in neural circuit formation and plasticity. Combining the sophisticated mouse genetics approaches with molecular and cellular biology techniques in her Unit will provide insights into the cellular and genetic mechanisms underpinning neural stem cell specification and lineage decisions.

Selected Recent Publications:
  • Hayes, L., Zhang, Z., Albert, P., Zervas, M., and Ahn (2011) The timing of Sonic hedgehog and Gli1 expression segregates midbrain dopamine neurons, J Comp Neurol 519, 3001-3018.

  • Wang, H., Ge, G., Uchida, Y., Luu, B., and Ahn, S (2011) Gli3 is required for maintenance and fate specification of cortical progenitors, J Neurosci 31, 6440-6448.

  • Chau, M., Forcinito, P., Andrade, A.C., Hegde, A., Ahn, S., Lui, J.C., Baron, J., Nilsson, O (2011) Organization of the Indian Hedgehog Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein System in the Postnatal Growth Plate, J Mol Endocrinol 47, 99-107.

  • Carney, R.S.E., Mangin, J-M., Hayes, L., Mansfield, K., Sousa, V., Fishell, G., Machold, R., Ahn, S., Gallo, V., and Corbin J (2010) Sonic hedgehog expressing and responding cells generate neuronal diversity in the medial amygdala, Neural Dev 5, 14.

  • Boudin, C.M., Gritli-Linde, A., Ahn, S., and Harfe, B.D (2010) Shh pathway activation is present and required within the vertebrate limb bud apical ectodermal ridge for normal autopod patterning, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA 107, 5489-94.

All Selected Publications

Contact Information:

Dr. Sohyun Ahn
Unit on Developmental Neurogenetics
Laboratory of Mammalian Genes and Development, NICHD
9000 Rockville Pike
Building 6B, Room 2B-220
Bethesda, MD 20892-2790

Telephone: (301) 402-2426 (office), (301) 435-5763 (laboratory), (301) 402-0543 (fax)


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