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Zoology and Physiology|College of Arts and Sciences

Qian-Quan Sun, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Research Interests:

Information processing in the brain depends on inter-connected neuronal networks. The connections of neuronal networks are fine-tuned during critical periods of brain development and maladaptively reorganized in neurological diseases. We want to understand how environmental and genetic factors affect the refinement of neuronal connections and dynamically shape and mis-shape the behavior that these neuronal network sub-serve.


1.         Sun QQ*, Zhang Z, Sun J, Nair AS, Petrus DP, Zhang C. (2014) Functional and structural specific roles of activity-driven BDNF within circuits formed by single spiny stellate neurons of the barrel cortex. Front Cell Neurosci. 8:372. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2014.00372. PMID: 25414642

2.         Wang X and Sun QQ*. (2014) Thorough GABAergic Innervation of the Entire Axon Initial Segment Revealed by an Optogenetic Laserspritzer. Journal of Physiology (London).  592:4257-76. PMID: 25085892.

3.         Sun QQ*, Wang X, Yang W. (2014) Laserspritzer: a simple method for optogenetic investigation with subcellular resolutions. PLoS One. 3; 9(7):e101600. PMID:    24992677.33.           

4.         O'Connor DH, Hires SA, Guo ZV, Li N, Yu J, Sun QQ, Huber D, Svoboda K. (2013a) Neural coding during active somatosensation revealed using illusory touch. Nature Neuroscience. 16:958-65. PMID: 23727820.

5.         Wang X, Zhang C, Szábo G, Sun QQ*. (2013b) Distribution of CaMKIIα expression in the brain in vivo, studied by CaMKIIα-GFP mice. Brain Res. 1518:9-25.  PMID: 23632380. *Featured as the Journal Cover Image.

6.         Wang X, Sun QQ*.  (2012) Characterization of axo-axonic synapses in the piriform cortex of Mus musculus. J Comp Neurol. 520(4):832-47. PMID: 22020781.

7.         Jiao Y, Zhang Z, Zhang C, Wang X, Sakata K, Lu B, Sun QQ*. (2011d) A key mechanism underlying sensory experience-dependent maturation of neocortical GABAergic circuits in vivo. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).  108:12131-6.

8.         Sun QQ* and Zhang Z (2011b) Whisker experience modulate long-term depression in neocortical GABAergic interneurons in barrel cortex. Journal of Neuroscience Research. 89:73-85. PMID:21046566.

9.         Zhang Z and Sun QQ* (2011a) Development of NMDA NR2 subunits and their role in critical period maturation of neocortical GABAergic interneurons. Developmental. Neurobiology. 71:221-45. PMID: 20936660.

10.       Zhang Z, Jiao YY, Sun QQ*. (2011e) Developmental maturation of excitation and inhibition balance in principal neurons across four layers of somatosensory cortex. Neuroscience. 174:10-25.

11.       Young A, Sun QQ* (2009c) GABAergic Inhibitory Interneurons in the Posterior Piriform Cortex of the GAD67-GFP Mouse. Cerebral Cortex. 19(2):3011-29.

12.       Sun QQ*. (2009b) Experience-dependent intrinsic plasticity in interneurons of barrel cortex layer IV. Journal of Neurophysiology. 102(5):2955-73.

13.       Sun QQ*, Zhang Z, Jiao Y, Zhang C, Szabó G, Erdelyi F. (2009a) Differential metabotropic glutamate receptor expression and modulation in two neocortical inhibitory networks. Journal of Neurophysiology. 101(5):2679-92.

14.       Selby L, Zhang C and Sun QQ*,   (2007d) Alterations of Specific GABAergic Inhibitory Circuits in the Somatosensory Cortex of Mice Lacking the Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein. Neuroscience letters. 412:227–232.

15.       Zhang CZ; Szabó G, Erdélyi F, Rose JD & Sun QQ* (2006c) A Novel Interneuronal Network in the Mouse Posterior Piriform Cortex. Journal of Comparative Neurology. 499(6):1000-15.

16.       Jiao Y, Zhang C, Yanagawa Y, Sun QQ*. (2006b) Major effects of sensory experiences on the neocortical inhibitory circuits. Journal of Neuroscience.  23; 26 (34): 8691-701.

17.       Sun QQ, Huguenard JR, Prince DA. (2006a) Barrel cortex microcircuits: thalamocortical feedforward inhibition in spiny stellate cells is mediated by a small number of fast-spiking interneurons. Journal of Neuroscience. 25; 26(4):1219-30.

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