Dr. Tao is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology and Neuroscience of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. She obtained her PhD in UCSD, and then did postdoc work with Dr. Muming Poo in UC Berkeley, studying spike-timing dependent plasticity and sensory experience dependent synaptic plasticity in the Xenopus tadpole and zebrafish retinotectal system. After establishing her own lab in USC, she developed in vivo whole-cell voltage clamp recording techniques in mouse visual cortex. Her lab was among a few to first use mouse visual cortex as a model to systematically investigate cortical circuitry. Recently her lab also begins to employ optogenetic/chemogenetic tools to dissect neural circuits underlying sensory-evoked behaviors, with a current focus on defensive and aversive behaviors.