The XUELAB current research interests include:
1.Neuronal Circuitry Involved in Non-image forming visionAs compared to classic image-forming vision, we have very limited knowledge regarding the neuronal circuits involved in NIV. On-going projects in Dr. Xue’s lab focus on the mesoscopic structure and function of NIV-associated neuronal circuitry, using techniques such as trans-synaptic viral tracing, electrophysiology, optogenetics, and in vivo deep-brain calcium imaging.
Perception of light is of great importance, thus restoration of damaged photoreception (especially blindness caused by degeneration of rods and cones) is of high clinical value. One direction of Dr.XUE’s lab is to explore the possibilities in vision repair and rescue with a combinatorial approach employing stem cell regeneration, gene editing, and bio-informatics.
3.Photo-transduction Mechanisms and Neuronal Coding Underlying Non-image forming vision
It is still not fully clear how ipRGCs control the unique kinetics of its light response through photo-transduction mechanisms, and what physiological significance this has for neuronal coding of NIV. We aim to investigate molecular targets that may affect the kinetics of ipRGC-mediated photo-responses, with the aid of transgenic mice, AAV-RNAi, patch-clamp and optogenetic techniques. We will further combine in vivo optogenetics with behavioral tests to reveal the coding pattern of ipRGC-mediated information, and its impact on NIV-associated physiological processes. This will expand our understanding about the strategy used by neural systems to code environmental stimuli for different physiological needs.