Yunlei Yang, PhD, MD

Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor
Department of Neuroscience and Physiology
State University of New York Upstate Medical University
Syracuse, New York, USA



• Xinxiang Medical College, China , MD, (1997), Medicine
• Huazhong University of Sci and Tech., China , MS, (2000), Medicine
• Institute of Neuroscience, CAS, China, PhD, (2003), Neuroscience
• The Rockefeller University, New York, NY , Post PhD, (2003-2006), Neuroscience
• Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, Post PhD, (2006-2009), Neurology

Positions and Employment

• (2009-2012) Research Specialist, Janelia Farm Research Campus, HHMI
• (2012-2014) Principal Investigator and Assistant Professor, Neuroscience and Physiology, Upstate Medical University of SUNY

Research Interest

His research interests include: Mapping and Manipulating the neural circuits controlling feeding using approaches including Cell type-specific Electrophysiology, Optogenetics and Pharmacogenetics. Specifically, his laboratory focuses on determining the neuronal populations in brain responsible for Feeding, and then manipulating these neurons to modulate feeding behaviors in animals. Importantly, they will also investigate the similar neuronal circuits in obese animals and manipulate the neural circuits to reduce food intake and body weight using similar techniques. Collectively, the knowledge and findings from the studies in his lab will be critical for the development of new therapeutic strategies to treat obesity and other eating disorders.

Scientific Activities


• (2011) Chinese National Natural Sciences Second Awards New functions of Glia
• (2008) Shanghai Science and Technology Advanced Award


Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications and Manuscripts

1. Tian L, Yang Y, Wysocki LM, Arnold A, et al. Selective esterase-ester pair for targeting small molecules with cellular specificity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2012; 109: 4756-4761. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1111943109
2. Yang Y, Atasoy D, Su H, Sternson SM. Hunger states switch a flip-flop memory circuit via a synaptic AMPK-dependent positive feedback loop. Cell. 2011; 146: 992-1003. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.07.039
3. Yang Y, Zhou Q. Spine modifications associated with long-term potentiation. The Neuro scientist. 2009; 15: 464-476. doi: 10.1177/1073858409340800
4. Yang Y, Wand XB, Frerking M, Zhou Q. Spine expansion and stabilization associated with long term potentiation. J Neuro science. 2008; 28: 5740-5751. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3998-07.2008
5. Wang XB, Yang Y, Zhou Q. Independent expression of synaptic and morphological plasticity associated with long-term depression. J Neuro science. 2007; 27: 12419-12429. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2015-07.2007
6. Yang Y. Astrocyte: a potential target for the treatment of anorexia nervosa. Neuro Open J. 2015; 2(1): 42-44. doi: 10.17140/NOJ-2-110