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A Neural Circuitry View for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Zilong QIU

Institute of Neuroscience
Chinese Academy of Sciences


Objective: Autism spectrum disorders are a group of neuropsychiatric disorders featuring abnormal social communication and repetitive behaviors. We would like to address whether there are any abnormality in neural circuitry level in mouse model for ASD. Methods: We used pseudo-rabies virus mediated transsynaptic tracing and in vivo spine imaging on one of ASD mouse model, MeCP2 overexpression mice. Results: We found that the neural connections to DG region of hippocampus are significantly altered in MeCP2 overexpression mice, comparing to wild type mice. The development-associated spine elimination is surprisingly increased in MeCP2 overexpression, comparing to wild type mice. Conclusion: We identified critical defects on neural circuit and synapse level in an ASD mouse model.

Short Bio

Zilong Qiu was born in Beijing and grew up in Anhui, China. From 1994-1998, he attended Shanghai Jiao Tong University and graduated with a BS in Biological Sciences. He was a graduate student with Dr. Kan Liao from 1998-2003 at the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. In his Ph.D. thesis, he focused on the molecular mechanism of adipocyte differentiation. With this molecular biology and cell signalling background, he became eager to explore the field of molecular neuroscience during the last several years as a graduate student and came to Dr. Anirvan Ghosh’s Lab at University of California, San Diego to pursue this dream. His postdoctoral project focuses on activity dependent transcriptional regulation of genes in the rodent cerebral cortex. He joined ION faculty as Principle Investigator from July, 2009. His lab now is focusing on the molecular mechanisms of autism spectrum disorders. A wide range of cutting edge technology, including genetic mouse, rat, non-human primates models, in vivo imaging, and neural circuitry tracing tools were applied to address the defects in neural circuitry of autism spectrum disorder animal models.

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Last updated: December 14, 2013