Huang Lab

Bryan Research Building

Josh Huang, PhD , PI


Ph.D., Brandeis University, 1994

A major challenge in neuroscience is to decipher how brain functions, ranging from sensorimotor control to cognitive processing, emerge from the cellular constituents of the cerebral cortex that assemble progressively higher-level circuit architectures. We combine multi-faceted approaches to study the organization, function, and assembly of cortical circuits that orchestrate complex movements.

We begin by using state-of-the-art genetic approaches in the mouse to systematically build genetic tools that establish experimental access to basic circuit elements - the extensive set of cortical neuron types (also see These include glutamatergic projection neuron types that mediate cortical processing streams and output channels, as well as GABAergic interneuron types that control local neural ensembles and route information flow.

This genetic toolkit enables us to integrate multi-faceted and cross-level analyses of cortical circuits by tracking the trajectories of distinct cell types. We use single cell genomics approaches to explore the molecular genetic basis of cell type identity. We further carry out genetic fate mapping to examine how developmental specification shapes neuronal identities that influence circuit assembly. More recently, we combine anatomical, physiological and optogenetic approaches to reveal the roles of distinct pyramidal neuron types in cortico-striatal-thalamic circuits that orchestrate sensorimotor processes underlying coordinate movements, such as target-directed forelimb reaching and food manipulation.

Selected Recent Publications:

Wang BS, Bernardez Sarria MS, An X, He M, Alam NM, Prusky GT, Crair MC, Huang ZJ. (2021) Retinal and Callosal Activity-Dependent Chandelier Cell Elimination Shapes Binocularity in Primary Visual Cortex. Neuron. 2021 Feb 3;109(3):502-515.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.11.004. Epub 2020 Dec 7. PMID: 33290732

Kelly, Sean M., Raudales, Ricardo, He, Miao, Lee, Jannifer H., Kim, Yongsoo, Gibb, Leif G., Wu, Priscilla, Matho, Katherine, Osten, Pavel, Graybiel, Ann M., Huang, ZJ. (2018) Radial Glial Lineage Progression and Differential Intermediate Progenitor Amplification Underlie Striatal Compartments and Circuit Organization. Neuron. ISSN 0896-6273

Paul A, Crow M, Raudales R, He M, Gillis J, Huang ZJ. (2017) Transcriptional Architecture of Synaptic Communication Delineates GABAergic Neuron Identity. Cell 171(3): 522-539. 2017 Sep 20. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.08.032. PubMed PMID: 28942923.

Lu J, Tucciarone J, Padilla-Coreano N, He M, Gordon JA, Huang ZJ. (2017) Selective inhibitory control of pyramidal neuron ensembles and cortical subnetworks by chandelier cells. Nat Neurosci. 2017 Oct;20(10):1377-1383. doi: 10.1038/nn.4624. Epub 2017 Aug 21. PubMed PMID: 28825718; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5614838.

Taniguchi H, Lu J, Huang ZJ. (2013) The spatial and temporal origin of chandelier cells in mouse neocortex. Science. 2013 Jan 4;339(6115):70-4. doi: 10.1126/science.1227622. Epub 2012 Nov 22. PubMed PMID: 23180771; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4017638.

Recent Posts

dhananjay headshot
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 - 12:00
Dhananjay Huilgol

Postdoc Dhananjay Huilgol, PhD, (Huang Lab) will present Differential Role of Cortical Progenitors in the Specification of Glutamatergic Projection Neuron Diversity.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020
By Karl Leif Bates

DURHAM, N.C. – To prepare the brain for binocular vision and depth perception, first you have to take out some of the chandeliers.

josh huang headshot
Monday, August 24, 2020
By Dierdre Shipman

In August of 2020, Duke Neurobiology welcomes Dr. Josh Huang as a primary faculty member.