Weizhe Hong, Ph.D.

Weizhe Hong, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Biological Chemistry Neurobiology Member, Bioinformatics GPB Home Area Gene Regulation GPB Home Area Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology GPB Home Area Neuroscience GPB Home Area


The Hong Lab employs a multidisciplinary approach to identify the molecular and neural circuit mechanisms underlying normal social behaviors as well as their dysregulations in neuropsychiatric disorders. Social behaviors are essential for the survival and reproduction of animals. The control of social behavior is of particular importance in social species such as humans. Abnormalities in social behaviors are associated with several neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.  Despite its importance, many fundamental questions regarding social behavior and its disorders still remain unanswered. We aim to understand how social behavior is regulated at the molecular and circuit level and how social behavior and social experience lead to molecular and circuit level changes in the brain.

We study these questions across molecular, circuit, and behavioral levels, by linking genes to circuits to behaviors. To do that, we take a multi-disciplinary approach and utilize a variety of experimental and computational technologies, including but not limited to optogenetics/chemogenetics, in vivo/vitro calcium imaging and electrophysiology, various genetic and molecular biology techniques, systems approaches such as next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics, and engineering and computational approaches such as machine learning and computer vision.

Awards and Honors

  • Sloan Research Fellowship, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, 2017.
  • Whitehall Foundation Grant, 2016.
  • Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, 2018.
  • Vallee Scholar Award, The Vallee Foundation, 2020.
  • John H. Walsh Young Investigator Research Prize, UCLA, 2021.
  • Mallinckrodt Scholar Award (the 69th Mallinckrodt Scholar), The Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation, 2020.
  • W. M. Keck Foundation Junior Faculty Award, 2021.
  • Early Career Award, Society for Social Neuroscience, 2019.
  • NARSAD Young Investigator Award, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, 2016.
  • Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Award, 2018.
  • H. W. Magoun Distinguished Lectureship, UCLA, 2023.
  • Category Winner in Developmental Biology, Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientist, 2013.
  • Young Investigator Award, Society for Neuroscience, 2020.
  • McKnight Scholar Award, McKnight Foundation, 2019.
  • Larry Katz Memorial Lecture, Cold Spring Harbor Meeting in Neural Circuits, 2012.
  • Searle Scholar Award, Searle Scholars Program, 2017.
  • Larry Sandler Memorial Award, Genetics Society of America, 2013.
  • Helen Hay Whitney Fellowship, 2013.