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Zoology and Physiology

College of Arts and Sciences

Qian-Quan Sun, Ph.D.

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.    Yang W, Sun QQ*. (2015) Hierarchical organization of long-range circuits in the olfactory cortices. Physiological Reports. 3(9). pii: e12550. doi: 10.14814/phy2.12550. PMID: 26416972.

2.    Wang G, Wyskiel DR, Yang W, Wang Y, Milbern LC, Lalanne T, Jiang X, Shen Y, Sun QQ, Zhu JJ.  (2015) An optogenetics- and imaging-assisted simultaneous multiple patch-clamp recording system for decoding complex neural circuits. Nature Protocol. 10(3):397-412. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2015.019. PMID: 25654757.* Featured in Journal Cover image.

3.    Sun QQ*, Zhang Z, Sun J, Nair AS, Petrus DP, Zhang C. (2014a) 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

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

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

6.    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.

7.    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 in the Journal Cover Image.

8.    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.

9.    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.

10. Zhang Z. and Sun QQ* (2011c). The balance between excitation and inhibition and functional sensory processing in the somatosensory cortex. International. Review Neurobiology. 97:305-33. PMID:21708316.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

*: as corresponding author.

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