Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Luo, Liqun
Location Stanford University
Primary Field Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Secondary Field Systems Neuroscience
 Election Citation
Luo created genetic tools in flies and mice that allow visualization and genetic manipulation of individual neurons in developing and adult neural circuits. Using these tools and largely focusing on the olfactory system, Luo discovered general principles guiding the establishment and organization of sensory maps in the brain.
 Research Interests
The human brain contains ~ 1011 neurons, each making >103 synapses with other neurons on average. These 1014 synaptic connections enable us to sense, think, remember, and act. How is this vast number of neurons organized into circuits to process information? How are these circuits correctly assembled during development? Dr. Luo uses model neural circuits in the less numerically complex brains of the fruit fly (~105 neurons) and mouse (~108 neurons) and combine state-of-the-art molecular genetic and viral techniques with physiological and behavioral approaches to investigate these questions. Over the past two decades, Dr. Luo and his colleagues have developed genetic tools to label and genetically manipulate individual or groups of neurons in flies and mice, which have facilitated our interrogation of mechanisms of neuronal morphogenesis, axon pruning, and wiring specificity of neural circuits during development. More recently, they have investigated anatomical organization and functional properties of neural circuits in adult animals. Specific projects Dr. Luo and his students and postdocs are currently pursuing include: (1) assembly of the fly olfactory circuit; (2) genetic analysis of neural development in the mouse; (3) organization and function of neural circuits in the mouse; (4) development of tools to probe neural circuit assembly and function.

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