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Henry Yin, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

Henry Yin
Contact Info:
Office Location:  GSRB II Rm 3012, Box 91050, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 660-5781
Email Address:   send me a message
Web Page:


Ph.D.University of California - Los Angeles2004
PhD Cognitive NeuroscienceUCLA2004

Systems and Integrative Neuroscience
Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
Research Interests: Integrative Neuroscience

Current projects: To define the neural circuits underlying goal-directed actions., , To examine the role of striatal synaptic plasticity (long-term potentiation and depression) using in vivo and ex vivo electrophysiological recording., , To examine the roles of major neuromodulators (e.g. dopamine) in reward-guided learning and behavior., , To examine the mechanisms underlying various disorders involving goal-directed behavior (e.g. drug addiction) at the molecular, cellular, and systems levels.

I am interested in understanding the neural mechanisms underlying goal-directed actions. For the first time in history, advances in psychology and neurobiology have made it feasible to pursue the detailed neural mechanisms underlying goal-directed and voluntary actions--how they are driven by the needs and desires of the organism and controlled by cognitive processes that provide a rich representation of the self and the world. My approach to this problem is highly integrative, combining behavioral analysis with electrophysiological techniques as well as tools from molecular biology. In the near future three techniques will be emphasized. 1) Dissecting reward-guided behavior using analytical behavioral assays. 2) In vivo recording from cerebral cortex, thalamus, midbrain, and basal ganglia in awake behaving rodents. Up to hundreds of neurons can be recorded from multiple brain areas that form a functional neural network in a single animal. 3) In vitro (and ex vivo) whole-cell patch-clamp recording in brain slices, with the aid of genetic tools for visualization of distinct neuronal populations. Ultimately, I hope to characterize goal-directed actions at multiple levels of analysis--from molecules to neural networks. This knowledge will provide us with insight into various pathological conditions characterized by impaired goal-directed behaviors, such as drug addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease.

Areas of Interest:

The role of the basal ganglia in reward-guided learning and behavior

Molecular and cellular mechanisms of synaptic transmission and plasticity in the striatum

Molecular, cellular, and systems mechanisms underlying drug addiction, habit formation, and basal-ganglia related disorders such as ADHD, OCD, schizophrenia, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s Disease

Postdocs Mentored

  • Chunxiu Yu (December 01, 2008 - September 01, 2013)
Representative Publications   (More Publications)   (search)

  1. Yin, HH; Mulcare, SP; Hilário, MRF; Clouse, E; Holloway, T; Davis, MI; Hansson, AC; Lovinger, DM; Costa, RM (2009). Dynamic reorganization of striatal circuits during the acquisition and consolidation of a skill.. Nature Neuroscience, 12(3), 333-341. [doi]  [abs]
  2. Yin, HH; Ostlund, SB; Balleine, BW (2008). Reward-guided learning beyond dopamine in the nucleus accumbens: the integrative functions of cortico-basal ganglia networks.. The European Journal of Neuroscience, 28(8), 1437-1448. [doi]  [abs]
  3. Yin, HH; Davis, MI; Ronesi, JA; Lovinger, DM (2006). The role of protein synthesis in striatal long-term depression.. The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 26(46), 11811-11820. [doi]  [abs]
  4. Yin, HH; Knowlton, BJ (2006). The role of the basal ganglia in habit formation.. Nature Reviews. Neuroscience, 7(6), 464-476. [doi]  [abs]
  5. Yin, HH; Lovinger, DM (2006). Frequency-specific and D2 receptor-mediated inhibition of glutamate release by retrograde endocannabinoid signaling.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(21), 8251-8256. [doi]  [abs]
  6. Yin, HH; Ostlund, SB; Knowlton, BJ; Balleine, BW (2005). The role of the dorsomedial striatum in instrumental conditioning.. The European Journal of Neuroscience, 22(2), 513-523. [doi]  [abs]
Oksana Shelest (Research associate), Vlad Hayrapetyan (Research Scientist), Yedema hayrapetyan (Research associate), David Fan (Research Associate), Chunxiu Yu (postdoctoral fellow),

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