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Dr. Hailan Hu is the Professor and Senior Principal Investigator at the ZIINT and School of Medicine at Zhejiang University. Dr. Hu graduated from Beijing University with a B.S. degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (1996). She pursued her Ph.D. degree in neuroscience at University of California at Berkeley, where she was a student of Prof. Corey Goodman, working on repulsive axon guidance. After completing PhD (2002), she conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Julius Zhu at University of Virginia (2003-2004), and Dr. Roberto Malinow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (2004-2008), working on mechanisms regulating AMPA receptor trafficking in emotional behaviors and disease models. Before joining Zhejiang University, Dr. Hu was a principal investigator at the Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2008-2015). Her laboratory seeks to understand how emotional and social behaviors are encoded and regulated in the brain.  Dr. Hu is a recipient of the Howard Hughes Predoctoral Fellowship (1997-2002), the Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellowship (2003-06), the Chinese Hundred Talent Plan Award (2009), the CAS Excellent Mentorship Award (2012, 2014), the National Outstanding Youth Award and the Meiji Life Science Award.

Research work

The ability to experience emotions makes our life colorful, and greatly affects our thinking and behavior. Research in my lab aims to understand how emotional and social behaviors are encoded in the brain, with a main focus on the neural circuitry underlying depression and dominance hierarchy. The key questions we are addressing are: How are different emotional states represented in the brain? What and where molecular changes occur when emotion regulation goes awry in diseases such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder? How does dominance hierarchy arise from interplay between activity of specific neural circuits and social experience of animals? Using combinatorial techniquesincluding imaging, electrophysiology, molecular biology and optogenetics, we hope to visualize the neural circuits that are activated during the behavior of interest; elucidate the function of specific neural circuits and cell groups in behavior; and establish the causal relationship between the activity of neural circuits and corresponding behavioral output. We hope these studies will provide new insights into how emotions shape and color our life, and shed new light on the treatment of emotional disorders.