Ming-Hu Han, PhD
- PROFESSOR | Pharmacological Sciences
- PROFESSOR | Neuroscience
Research Topics:Addiction, Behavior, Depression, Motor Neuron, Neural Networks, Neurophysiology, Synapses, Synaptic Plasticity, Synaptogenesis, Systems Neuroscience
Dr. Han is a Professor in the Department of Pharmacological Sciences, with a joint appointment in the Department of Neuroscience. The Han Laboratory studies neurophysiological mechanisms of depression and alcohol addiction in rodent models.
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Multi-Disciplinary Training AreasNeuroscience [NEU], Pharmacology and Therapeutics Discovery [PTD]
PhD, Shanghai Institute of Physiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Yale University School of Medicine
Faculty Fellowship, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
NARSAD Independent Investigator Award
Faculty Council Award for Academic Excellence
Dr. Harold & Golden Lamport Research Award for Excellence in Basic Science Research
Rising Star Translational Research Award
Young Investigator Award
One of the most fundamental functions of the brain is the capacity to develop adaptive changes in response to environmental stimuli under both physiological and pathophysiological conditions. These neural adaptations can occur at a variety of levels such as at the levels of ion channels, synaptic transmission, and integrative function of neuron and neural network, and they are believed to be responsible for governing behavioral/psychological functioning. Dr. Han’s laboratory is specifically interested in identifying the intrinsic plasticity of ion channels and neuronal excitability, and adaptive changes in neural network, that are induced by psychological stress and alcohol in the dopamine circuit of the ventral tegmental area, an emotion- and reward-related system. Research in Dr. Han’s laboratory focuses on the underlying mechanisms of these neuroadpations and how they mediate behavioral susceptibility and resilience to stress and alcohol in laboratory models of depression and alcohol dependence.
To understand the roles of neuroadaptations in mediating behavioral changes, the laboratory employs an up-down-up methodology: established behavior model - neuroadaptation - molecular/ionic mechanism - molecular/ionic manipulation - validation of neuronal function - behavioral test. The laboratory uses in vivo and in vitro electrophysiological techniques to identify neuroadaptations and investigate molecular/ionic mechanisms, and employs advanced gene manipulation approaches, including viral-mediated gene delivery, local knockouts of interested genes, and optogenetic tools, to conduct molecular/ionic manipulation followed by behavioral assays. The combination of these gene manipulation techniques and neurophysiology offers the laboratory a unique ability to explore the neurophysiological basis of depression and alcoholism.
For more information, visit Ming-Hu Han’s Laboratory of Cellular Neurophysiology.
Conte Center on Epigenetic Mechanisms of Depression