Hong Wei Dong

Professor, Neurobiology, University of California Los Angeles

The long-term objective of my research is to map the interconnections among all delineated regions of the C57Bl/6 mouse brain, to generate a corresponding comprehensive connectome map that represents the connections in a common neuroanatomic frame, and to understand how the different brain regions assemble into functional networks based on their connections to affect behavioral output (http://brain.neurobio.ucla.edu/). By integrating connectomics with genetics, 3D high resolution imaging, and artificial intelligence, we hope to uncover the fundamental architecture and functional organization of the central nervous system. A second major direction of my research is to classify cell types of the mouse brain and spinal cord based on their anatomic locations, neuronal connectivity, neuronal morphology, and their molecular and physiological properties. Identifying and enumerating cell types in the nervous system will allow for their selective manipulation and a better understanding of an individual cell's function in health and disease. The derived knowledge and technologies from our work can be directly applied to characterize connectivity disruptions that potentially underlie symptomatology in mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s Disease. Finally, my lab also is dedicated to developing microscopy and histological technologies for mapping connections of the human brain at the axonal and cellular resolution as part of our motivation to advance toward translational research.