The ability of the brain to learn from and remember experiences lies at the heart of our existence and individuality. Disorders of memory represent a huge challenge to society. The goal of our lab is to decipher the neural codes underlying learning and memory and to identify the physical basis of learning and memory. Our main questions are:
1. What are the learning rules of brain circuits? For instance, what kinds of activity trigger the encoding and storage of information?
2. How are the learning rules implemented? For instance, where is the information stored?
3. Ultimately can we infer the memories from mapping the neural functional connectivity patterns?
Addressing these questions requires understanding the language the brain uses to speak to itself, the little electrical impulses of neurons. We have worked on developing and applying high-precision all-optical technologies for simultaneously mapping and controlling membrane potential in specific neurons within the intact brain. We continue to develop and apply these cutting-edge technologies and integrate them with behavioral, molecular, and computational approaches to understand how the brain encodes, stores, and recalls information.
Linlin Fan joined the MIT and Picower Institute faculty in January 2024. Previously she worked as a postdoc in the lab of Karl Deisseroth at Stanford University. She earned her PhD at Harvard University in the lab of Adam Cohen after undergraduate studies at Peking University in China.
Burroughs Wellcome Career Award at the Scientific Interface, 2023
Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00), NIMH, 2023
Helen Hay Whitney Fellowship, Helen Hay Whitney Foundation, 2021
Larry Katz Memorial Lecture, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 2020
Sophia Xu, lab manager
Kyucheol Min, undergraduate