Yifeng Zhang, PH.D

Laboratory of Retinal Neural Circuits

Institute of Neuroscience, Shanghai Institute of Biological sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences


address: A0605, Biological Research Building, 320 Yueyang Rd, Shanghai, 200031

Research Areas

Neural circuits and information processing in the mammalian retina


1989 - 1997  B.S and M.S. in Biochemistry, Peking University, China

1997 - 2004  Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences, University of California, San Diego, USA


Work Experience

2004 - 2011  Postdoc Fellow and Research Associate, Harvard Unversity

2011 - current  Investigator, Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Teaching Experience



1.    Li S, Yang C, Zhang L, Gao X, Wang X, Liu W, Wang Y, Jiang S, Wong YH, Zhang Y, Liu K.  (2016). Promoting axon regeneration in the adult CNS by modulation of the melanopsin/ GPCR signaling.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 113(7):1937-42
2.    Zhang Y., Kim I.J., Sanes J.R., Meister M. (2012). The most numerous ganglion cell type of the mouse retina is a selective feature detector. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109(36):E2391-8
3.    Samuel M.A., Zhang Y., Meister M., Sanes J.R.. (2011). Age-related alterations in neurons of the mouse retina. Journal of Neuroscience 31(44):16033-44
4.    Kay J.N.*, De la Huerta I.*, Kim I.J.*, Zhang Y.*, Yamagata M., Chu M.W., Meister M., Sanes J.R.(2011). Retinal ganglion cells with distinct directional preferences differ in molecular identity, structure, and central projections. Journal of Neuroscience 31(21):7753-62. [*: co-first authors]


Research Interests

The main focus of our research is to understand the mechanisms of neural processing in the mammalian visual system, starting from the retina. The retina is an attractive place to study neural circuits: It is the sole interface between the visual world and the brain; it is the most accessible part of the central nervous system; it not only converts visual information into electrical signal, but also performs sophisticated processing of visual information. We use a combination of molecular genetics, electrophysiological and computational approaches to study the neural circuits in the retina.

Functions of the Retinal Ganglion Cells

Different types of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) serve as parallel output channels of the retina, with each type conveying a complete but uniquely processed visual image to the brain. There are more than 20 types of RGCs in the mouse retina. To understand the workings of the retina, first we need to understand what information each type of RGCs conveys to the brain.

Retinal Circuits

For each type of RGCs, a specific set of retinal interneurons form a circuit to implement the necessary computations required for its function. To fully grasp the mechanisms that produce the response of a specific RGC type, we need to identify the interneurons that form the corresponding retinal circuit and study their response properties.

Beyond the Retina

In addition to studying the functions of the retinal circuits, we would also like to understand how the outputs of these retinal circuits are processed by the brain. With the ability to manipulate the activities of individual RGC types, we will be able to examine how different RGC inputs are processed and combined in various brain circuits, and study the behavioral consequences resulting from such manipulations.







王飞  01  19179  

王博  01  19179  

张黎  01  19179  

李路遥  02  19179  

德蕾  02  19179  

Honors & Distinctions

2012              The Recruitment Program of Global Youth Experts

2013              Shanghai Pujiang Program