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Researcher | Research Overview

Our lab's mission is to understand the organizational principles that underlie information processing in neuronal circuits. We aim to discover how network function and behavior arise from circuit wiring in the rodent and Drosophila brain. To do so, we develop and apply technologies called 'functional connectomics'.

Our work is guided by several key questions:

  • What rules underlie network connectivity?
  • What network motifs are conserved and what differentiates brains - and brain regions?
  • What are fundamental constraints on network behavior?
  • How are such rules enforced during development?

We primarily use large-scale electron microscopy (EM) and in vivo multi-photon calcium imaging to examine the structure and function of neurons and networks. Volumetric EM provides detailed structural information about cells and their connections. We can identify excitatory and inhibitory neurons and synapses, discover connectivity motifs, and analyze the nature of synaptic connections. The other key component of our approach is physiology – either optical imaging of activity sensors or electrophysiology. Ideally, the same cells are subjected to in vivo physiological recording and connectivity analysis. In this way we can unravel how wiring patterns enable neuronal computations.

Additionally, we use genetic tools for labeling and manipulation; and modeling to explore the implications of our data and generate testable theories. Finally, we are devising approaches to bridge analysis of behavior with circuit structure and network computation. By working across these modes of inquiry our goal is to uncover the fundamental building blocks of functional networks.

Researcher | Research Background

Wei-Chung Allen Lee did his graduate work with Elly Nedivi at MIT studying neuronal structural plasticity. He did his postdoctoral work with Clay Reid at Harvard Medical School studying neural connectivity and coding in the visual cortex. Wei’s lab started in the fall of 2016 when he joined the faculty of the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Children's Hospital. He was the recipient of a Ruth Kirchstein NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellowship from the National Eye Institute and his current work is supported by the NIH BRAIN Initiative.


Researcher | Publications