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Kuan Hong Wang, Ph.D.

Unit on Neural Circuits and Adaptive Behaviors

Clinical and Translational Neuroscience Branch
Building 35 Room 1B215
35 Convent Drive MSC3732
Bethesda MD 20892-3732
Office: (301) 827-5992

Fax: (301) 480-2176

Dr. Kuan Hong Wang received his B.A. from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Francisco, where he studied the molecular regulators of sensory axon growth and branching during nervous system development with Marc Tessier-Lavigne. Dr. Wang obtained postdoctoral training with Susumu Tonegawa at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he examined the ways in which cortical neurons react to an animal's experience by directly visualizing the molecular activity of a given set of neurons over several days in the live animal. Dr. Wang joined NIMH as an investigator in 2006. His laboratory employs mouse genetics, in vivo imaging, electrophysiological and behavioral techniques to investigate experience-dependent changes in brain neural circuits underlying normal adaptive behaviors as well as psychiatric disorders.

The main focus of Dr. Wang's laboratory is to use an integrated systems approach to understand the logic of experience-dependent cortical information processing at the molecular, cellular, circuitry and behavioral levels. A variety of cutting-edge technologies in molecular and cellular biology, mouse genetics, in vivo multi-photon imaging, and electrophysiology as well as sophisticated behavioral analyses will be combined to investigate the ability of the brain to change in response to behavioral experiences during normal adaptive cognition such as perceptual discrimination and social recognition and in the context of maladaptive psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and drug addiction. Dr. Wang has genetically engineered a mouse line that enables direct visualization and tracking of experience-dependent and stimulus-specific molecular changes in the brain of live animals with single-cell resolution. With the aid of this line of mice, as well as new lines being developed that will provide more exquisite spatial and temporal controls of optical labeling and allow for functional manipulations of selected neurons, Dr. Wang's laboratory will identify and characterize the molecular and cellular changes in the primary sensory and higher association cortices that are regulated by the internal drives, environmental exposures, and social interactions of an animal. Furthermore, Dr. Wang's group will examine the neurophyisological correlates of these molecular and cellular changes and investigate the mechanisms by which these changes are integrated in the cortical circuits to control behavioral decisions during perceptual discrimination and social recognition. Dr. Wang's group will also combine the optical-genetic systems that they are developing with mouse models of mental disorders to monitor the development of brain dysfunctions in real time, and test the effects of genetic risk factors as well as pharmacological and behavioral treatments.

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  • 1) Ye Y, Liu Q, Zhang W, Mastwal S, Wang KH (2018)
  • Developmental exposure to psychostimulant primes activity‐dependent gene induction in frontal cortex
  • Developmental Neurobiology, doi: 10.1002/dneu.22660
  • 2) Liu Y, Latremoliere A, Li X, Zhang Z, Chen M, Wang X, Fang C, Zhu J, Alexandre C, Gao Z, Chen B, Ding X, Zhou JY, Zhang Y, Chen C, Wang KH*, Woolf CJ*, He Z*. (2018)
  • Touch and tactile neuropathic pain sensitivity are set by corticospinal projections
  • Nature,, (*co-senior corresponding author)
  • 3) Dong Q, Liu Q, Li R, Wang A, Bu Q, Wang KH, Chang Q. (2018)
  • Mechanism and consequence of abnormal calcium homeostasis in Rett syndrome astrocytes
  • eLife, doi: 10.7554/eLife.33417
  • 4) Li X, Cao V, Zhang W, Mastwal S, Liu Q, Otte S, Wang KH (2017)
  • Skin suturing and cortical surface viral infusion improves imaging of neuronal ensemble activity with head-mounted miniature microscopes
  • J Neurosci Methods, 2017 Nov 1;, 291:238-248
  • 5) Wang X, Liu Y, Li X, Zhang Z, Yang H, Zhang Y, Williams PR, Alwahab NSA, Kapur K, Yu B, Zhang Y, Chen M, Ding H, Gerfen CR, Wang KH*, He Z* (2017)
  • Deconstruction of corticospinal circuits for goal-direct motor skills
  • Cell, 171, 440-455 (*co-senior corresponding author)
  • 6) Ye Y, Mastwal S, Cao VY, Ren M, Liu Q, Zhang W, Elkahloun AG, Wang KH (2016)
  • Dopamine is Required for Activity-Dependent Amplification of Arc mRNA in Developing Postnatal Frontal Cortex
  • Cereb Cortex, 27(7), 3600-3608
  • 7) Mastwal S, Cao V, Wang KH (2016)
  • Genetic Feedback Regulation of Frontal Cortical Neuronal Ensembles Through Activity-Dependent Arc Expression and Dopaminergic Input
  • Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 10, 100
  • 8) Managò F, Mereu M, Mastwal S, Mastrogiacomo R, Scheggia D, Emanuele M, De Luca MA, Weinberger DR, Wang KH*, Papaleo F* (2016)
  • Genetic Disruption of Arc/Arg3.1 in Mice Causes Alterations in Dopamine and Neurobehavioral Phenotypes Related to Schizophrenia.
  • Cell Reports, doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.07.044. , (*co-senior corresponding author)
  • 9) Kunii Y, Zhang W, Xu Q, Hyde TM, McFadden W, Shin JH, Deep-Soboslay A, Ye T, Li C, Kleinman JE, Wang KH, Lipska BK. (2015)
  • CHRNA7 and CHRFAM7A mRNAs: Co-Localized and Their Expression Levels Altered in the Postmortem Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex in Major Psychiatric Disorders.
  • Am J Psychiatry., Jul 24, appiajp201514080978
  • 10) Cao VY, Ye Y, Mastwal S, Ren M, Coon M, Liu Q, Costa RM, Wang KH (2015)
  • Motor Learning Consolidates Arc-Expressing Neuronal Ensembles in Secondary Motor Cortex
  • Neuron, 86(6), 1385-92
  • 11) Ren M, Cao V, Ye Y, Manji HK, Wang KH. (2014)
  • Arc regulates experience-dependent persistent firing patterns in frontal cortex
  • J Neurosci, 34(19), 6583-95
  • 12) Mastwal S, Ye Y, Ren M, Jimenez D, Martinowich K, Gerfen C, Wang KH. (2014)
  • Phasic dopamine neuron activity elicits unique mesofrontal plasticity in adolescence
  • J Neurosci, 34(29), 9484-96
  • 13) Furth KE, Mastwal S, Wang KH, Buonanno A, Vullhorst D. Dopamine, cognitive function, and gamma oscillations: role of D4 receptors. (2013)
  • Dopamine, cognitive function, and gamma oscillations: role of D4 receptors
  • Front Cell Neurosci, 7, 102
  • 14) Jakkamsetti V, Tsai NP, Gross C, Molinaro G, Collins KA, Nicoletti F, Wang KH, Osten P, Bassell GJ, Gibson JR, Huber KM (2013)
  • Experience-induced Arc/Arg3.1 primes CA1 pyramidal neurons for metabotropic glutamate receptor-dependent long-term synaptic depression
  • Neuron, 80(1), 72-9
  • 15) Cao VY, Ye Y, Mastwal SS, Lovinger DM, Costa RM, Wang KH. (2013)
  • In vivo two-photon imaging of experience-dependent molecular changes in cortical neurons
  • J Vis Exp., (71), 50148
  • 16) Cavanaugh J, Monosov IE, McAlonan K, Berman R, Smith MK, Cao V, Wang KH, Boyden ES, Wurtz RH. (2012)
  • Optogenetic inactivation modifies monkey visuomotor behavior
  • Neuron, 76(5), 901-7
  • 17) McCurry CL, Shepherd JD, Tropea D, Wang KH, Bear MF, Sur M. Loss of Arc renders the visual cortex impervious to the effects of sensory experience or deprivation. (2010)
  • Loss of Arc renders the visual cortex impervious to the effects of sensory experience or deprivation
  • Nat Neurosci, 13(4), 450-7
  • 18) Lu B, Wang KH, Nose A. (2009)
  • Molecular mechanisms underlying neural circuit formation
  • Curr Opin Neurobiol, 19(2), 162-7
  • 19) Leamey CA, Glendining KA, Kreiman G, Kang ND, Wang KH, Fassler R, Sawatari A, Tonegawa S, Sur M. (2008)
  • Differential gene expression between sensory neocortical areas: potential roles for Ten_m3 and Bcl6 in patterning visual and somatosensory pathways
  • Cereb Cortex, 18(1), 53-66
  • 20) Wang, K.H., Majewska, A., Schummers, J., Farley, B., Hu, C., Sur, M. and Tonegawa, S (2006)
  • In vivo two-photon imaging reveals a role of Arc in enhancing orientation specificity in visual cortex
  • Cell , 126, 389-402
  • 21) Kawai, J, et al., Wang, K.H., et al., Hayashizaki, Y.;The RIKEN Genome Exploration Research Group Phase II Team and the FANTOM Consortium (2001)
  • Functional annotation of a full-length mouse cDNA collection
  • Nature , 409, 685-690
  • 22) Nguyen-Ba-Charvet, K.T., Brose, K., Ma, L., Wang, K.H., Marillat, V., Sotelo, C., Tessier-Lavigne, M. and Chèdotal, A. (2001)
  • Diversity and specificity of actions of Slit2 proteolytic fragments in axon guidance
  • Journal of Neuroscience, 21, 4281-4289
  • 23) Brose, K., Bland, K.S., Wang, K.H., Arnott, D., Henzel, W., Goodman, C.S., Tessier-Lavigne, M. and Kidd, T. (1999)
  • Slit proteins bind Robo receptors and have an evolutionarily conserved role in repulsive axon guidance
  • Cell, 96, 785-794
  • 24) Wang, K.H., Brose, K., Arnott, D., Kidd, T., Goodman, C.S., Henzel, W. and Tessier-Lavigne, M (1999)
  • Biochemical purification of a mammalian Slit protein as a positive regulator of sensory axon elongation and branching
  • Cell, 96, 771-784
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