BI Guoqiang

Dr. BI Guoqiang received his B.S. in physics from Peking University(1989),M.S. in physics from New York University(1991) and Ph.D. in biophysics fromUniversity of California at Berkeley(1996). He was postdoctoral fellow at University of California at San Diego (1996-2000). He was appointed as Assistant Professor at the Department of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2000, where he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. In 2007, he established the Laboratory of Neurophysicsthe University of Science and Technology of China. Dr. BI was recipient of Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences (2000), University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award (2006),National Outstanding Young Scientist Award (2007). He has served as Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Biophysics at USTC, and founding co-Director of the Center for Integrative Imaging at Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale.He is also Council Member of the Biophysical Society of China(BSC) and the Chinese Neuroscience Society(CNS), and Executivemember of Biomedical Photonics Committee of the Chinese Optical Society.He was the chief scientist of the 973 project “Neural Developmental Basis of Depression and Alzheimer‘s Disease”,headof the “Key Technology” project in the CAS Strategic Priority Research Program“Mapping of Brain Functional Connectivity”,and head of the MOST Innovation Team “Neural Circuitry Basis of Brain Diseases”.

    Research Interest

    We are interested in understanding the biophysical rules and mechanisms underlying the structure, dynamics and functioning of neuronal synapses and circuits. Towards this goal, we also develop cutting-edge photonics and imaging tools.

    Precision dissection of neuronal synapses and circuits.

    Higher brain functions are carried out by precise circuits formed by myriad neurons and their synaptic connections; the enormous complexity within is the fundamentalchallengetoour understandingof the operational principle of the brain. Using combined approaches of electrophysiology, optical imagingand electron microscopy, we attempt to dissectthe ultrastructure and molecular organization of neuronal synapses, and to map the precise connectivity of brain circuits, and as such to provide insights for next generation brain-like computing.

    Synaptic plasticity and dynamics of neuronal networks.

    Synaptic plasticity (such as STDP and homeostatic plasticity) interacts with electric activity in a neuronal network, driving the emergence of complex but ordered dynamic systems. We employ patch-clamp, multielectrode array and high-speed fluorescence imaging to explore the dynamic properties of synaptic plasticity and network dynamics in cultured neurons. At the systems level, we combine automated behavioral testing, opto- and chemogenetic manipulation, as well as viral tracing and whole brain imaging approaches to investigate circuit basis of learning memory function and related disorders.

    Neural circuit techniques.

    Through interdisciplinary collaborations, we develop and apply cutting-edge techniques for effective analysis of the structure and activity of neuronal synapses and circuits, with an emphasis on nano-imaging and whole-brain imaging methods, including STORM/PALM, SIM, cryoET, cLEM, light-sheet microscopy, as well as related imaging probes. 


LAU Pakming

PhD, Professor, Principal Investigator 


Circuit Dynamics Underlying Brain Function and Disorders


Lau lab focuses on the dynamics of neuronal synapses and networks, and the neural circuitry mechanisms underlying brain disorders, especially those related to emotional stress.

We employ electrophysiological and optical approaches to study the dynamics of neuronal network in vitro and in vivo. Pharmacological and optogenetic manipulations are used to modulate neuronal circuit dynamics and to establish animal models of emotion-related disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and autism. To systematically dissect neural circuits involved in such disorders, we also develop and apply high-throughput system-wide mapping techniques based on tissue clearing and high-speed 3D imaging (VISoR) in collaboration with Dr. Guoqiang Bi’s group.

Current research directions include:

(1) Emergence of reverberatory activity with conserved firing patterns in neuronal networks through activity-dependent synaptic plasticity;

(2) Brain-wide activity mapping and neural circuitry mechanisms in animal models of depression, anxiety, and autism;

(3) The mind-body problem – how mental conditions interact with functional and diseased states of internal organs through central-peripheral connectivity.

Zhu Qingyuan

Senior Engineer