Yang Dan

Affiliation:University of California, Berkeley

Research Title


Analysis of neural circuits for sleep control.

01 Research Summary

Using optogenetic manipulation, optrode recording, and cell-type-specific calcium imaging, we identify neuronal types that play critical roles in the generation of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. Local synaptic interactions between cell types are measured by recordings in brain slices, and long-range connections are mapped using a variety of viral tools.

Molecular & Cell Biology

02 Major achievements

Weber, F., Chung, S., Beier, K.T., Luo, L., Dan, Y. (2015). Control of REM sleep by ventral medulla GABAergic neurons. Nature 526, 435-438.

Xu, M., Chung, S., Zhang, S., Zhong, P., Ma, C., Chang, W.-C., Weissbourd, B., Sakai, N., Luo, L., Nishino, S., and Dan, Y. (2015). Basal forebrain circuit for sleep-wake control. Nat. Neurosci. 18, 1641-1647.

Chung, S., Weber, F., Zhong, P., Tan, C.L., Nguyen, T.N., Beier, K.T., Hörmann, N., Chang, W.C., Zhang, Z., Do, J.P., Yao, S., Krashes, M.J., Tasic, B., Cetin, A., Zeng, H., Knight, Z.A., Luo, L., Dan, Y. (2017). Identification of preoptic sleep neurons using retrograde labelling and gene profiling. Nature 545, 477-481.

03 Education/Academic background and major awards

Yang Dan is Paul Licht Distinguished Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. She was a physics major at Beijing University, received her Ph.D. training in Biological Sciences at Columbia University, and did her postdoctoral research on information coding in the visual system at Rockefeller University and Harvard Medical school. Dan’s lab has provided important insights into the microcircuits underlying visual cortical computation and cellular mechanisms for functional plasticity. Their recent work has revealed circuit mechanisms controlling both REM and non-REM sleep. Dan has received Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, Beckman Young Investigator Award, and Society for Neuroscience Research Awards for Innovation in Neuroscience.