Xuelin Lou

Xuelin Lou
Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience
(608) 263-6265


Ph.D. HUST China

Research Focus:

Function of Synapses and Neural Circuits

Research Strengths:

Membrane Excitability and Synaptic Transmission; Neural Circuits, Molecular Neuroscience

Research Description:

The synapse, a highly specialized structure between neurons, is essential for information flow and integration in neuronal circuits. Elucidating the function and development of synapses and neural circuits not only has profound implication for understanding brain function but also holds great promise for the development of novel therapies for brain diseases.

Our research focuses on the development and function of central nerve terminals and neural circuits, studies signaling molecules and key proteins that orchestrate the control of synaptic strength and plasticity. Recently we are trying to understand 1) the molecular mechanisms of synaptic vesicle dynamics, including vesicle genesis, mobilization, priming and Ca2+ triggered membrane fusion; 2) protein and membrane trafficking at the presynaptic terminals; 3) function and dysfunction of synaptic circuits. To reach this goal, we mainly use the Calyx of Held, a mammalian central synapse with a giant presynaptic terminal, as our model synapse; this is a powerful model to study fundamental aspects of synaptic function, researchers have gained much insight into synaptic transmission using this model. The emergence of novel cutting-edge technology such as molecular manipulation and super-resolution imaging by STED (stimulated emission depletion microscopy), PALM (photo-activated light microscopy) or STORM (stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy) further make this field extremely exciting. We develop and apply an interdisciplinary approach employing electrophysiology, imaging, computational modeling, molecular biology and mouse genetics at this model synapse. We also use cultured neurons to study the function of synapse and circuits.


Please see PubMed for most recent publications