Wen-Jun Gao currently serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the Drexel University College of Medicine where he is studying the synaptic signaling and regulation of prefrontal neuronal circuitry. Dr. Gao received his Ph.D. degree from the Shanghai Brain Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, 1997. He had his first postdoctoral training in cortical development at Georgia State University, USA, working with Dr. Sarah L. Pallas. From 1999 to 2004, he worked with Dr. Patricia S. Goldman-Rakic at Yale University School of Medicine, USA. While at Yale, he studied the actions of dopamine on microcircuits within the prefrontal cortex. During that time, he mastered the use of very sophisticated multiple whole-cell recordings in cortical slices and made significant discoveries about the selectivity of dopamine actions on specific cell types within the prefrontal cortex. These studies have established the principle of selective modulation within cortical circuits and have provided a basis for understanding pathophysiological mechanisms underlying various psychiatric and neurological disorders associated with cognitive deficits (e.g., schizophrenia and ADHD). In 2005, he joined Drexel University College of Medicine, USA. In the past several years, Dr. Gao has shown great initiative, motivation, and skills by carrying the whole-cell patch clamp in his laboratory and at the same time adding new techniques to his experimental repertoire, including histology, protein, and gene analysis. This comprehensive approach added a biochemical and molecular dimension to his neurophysiological studies examining the effect of dopamine and other neurotransmitters on prefrontal functions in vitro and in vivo. Dr. Gao’s research has been supported by multiple sources, including NARSAD young investigator award, NIH R21 and R01 grant. He has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals, including PNAS and Journal of Neuroscience.
Biography Updated on 22 January 2013