Yi Zhong, Ph.D.

Title
Professor
Institution
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Address
1 Bungtown Rd
P.O. Box 100
City, State, Zip
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724
Phone
(516) 367-6811
E-mail
zhongyi[at]cshl.org
Website
http://www.cshl.edu/Faculty/zhong-yi-professor.html
Research Field
Neuroscience
Award Year
1994

Research

We are interested in the neural basis of learning and memory. First, we are establishing Drosophila models for studying neurogenetic disorders that impair learning and memory. Mutations at the tumor suppressor neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) gene cause neurofibromas and learning defects in patients, and mutations in the presenilin gene lead to early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Our electrophysiological, biochemical, and behavioral analyses of Drosophila NF1 mutants have revealed that the NF1 gene encodes a protein that functions as an inhibitor of Ras activity and also regulates the cAMP signal transduction pathway. This NF1-regulated cAMP pathway is crucial for learning in flies. Second, we are using electrophysiological and optical methods for examining mechanisms of learning and memory at cellular and network levels in the Drosophila brain. Currently, we are focusing on olfactory-related associative learning and have developed a preparation that allows us to monitor brain neural activity in response to odors and other stimuli in living flies. We are now investigating how odors are coded for and how such coding is modified during learning in a particular brain region called the “mushroom body”, known to be essential for olfactory-related learning.