The Hong Lab employs a multidisciplinary approach to identify the molecular and neural circuit mechanisms underlying normal social behaviors, as well as their dysregulations in neuropsychiatric disorders.
We live in a world that is largely socially constructed, and we are constantly involved in and fundamentally influenced by a broad array of complex social interactions. Social behaviors among conspecifics, either conflictive or cooperative, are exhibited by all sexually reproducing animal species and are essential for the health, survival, and reproduction of animals. Conversely, impairment in social function is a prominent feature of several neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. Despite the importance of social behaviors, many fundamental questions remain unanswered. How is social sensory information processed and integrated in the nervous system? How are different social behavioral decisions selected and modulated in brain circuits?
We study these questions across molecular, circuit, and behavioral levels, by linking genes to circuits to behaviors. To do that, we take a multi-disciplinary approach and utilize a variety of experimental and computational technologies, including but not limited to optogenetics/chemogenetics, in vivo/vitro calcium imaging and electrophysiology, various genetic and molecular biology techniques, systems approaches such as next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics, and engineering and computational approaches such as machine learning.
We are actively seeking highly motivated postdocs and graduate students to join our team (see more details).