Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Xu Laboratory is interested in how neurons respond to external stimuli and induce changes in their neuronal properties that eventually lead to the encoding of the information in the neural circuit. This type of activity-dependent long lasting changes is generally called neural plasticity. One form of neural plasticity, the long-lasting changes in synaptic strength, synaptic plasticity is thought to be the cellular substrate for learning and memory. Membrane excitability and intracellular environment respond to incoming neural activity and fluctuate at different temporal domains with potentially different spatial constraints. These fluctuations can influence the induction and expression of synaptic plasticity.
Weifeng is interested in how these changes are coordinated and modulated, and eventually lead to circuit modification and successful coding of the incoming information. To answer these questions, Weifeng’s lab use a multi-level analyses to combine molecular biology, biochemistry, electrophysiology and behavioral approaches to investigate the functional roles of particular gene targets in regulating neural plasticity at the cellular level and learning and memory at the behavioral level.