Sleep is a fundamental biological process observed widely in the animal kingdom, and its disruption has profound impacts on human health. However, the neural circuits generating sleep remain poorly understood. Using powerful techniques developed over the past decade, including optogenetics, cell-type-specific imaging, virus-mediated circuit tracing, and gene expression profiling, our research aims at identifying the key neurons in the sleep control circuits, mapping of their synaptic connections, and identifying potential intervention targets for improving sleep.
Yang Dan is a professor of neurobiology and vision science at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at Berkeley School of Optometry. Her research aims to elucidate (1) how visual information is encoded and processed in the mammalian brain, and (2) how neural circuits are shaped by visual experience. Her lab uses a multidisciplinary approach combining computational analyses and experimental studies at multiple levels, from single neurons and dendrites to animal behavior.