Biosketch / Results /

Wenbiao Gan

Professor, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology

Contact Info

212/263-2585
Wenbiao.Gan@med.nyu.edu


Education

— Columbia U, Medical Education

Research Summary

Wen-Biao Gan, Ph.D. Skirball Institute and Department of Physiology and Neuroscience One of the most important features of the nervous system is its remarkable plasticity during development and in learning and memory. Many lines of evidence indicate that the number and distribution of synapses in many parts of the nervous system change throughout life. Very little is known at present about how changes in synaptic structure take place in living animals. We are studying the mechanisms that regulate structural plasticity of synapses by taking advantage of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) expressing transgenic mice in which synaptic structure are specifically labeled by GFP. Using a confocal microscope, we have recently been able to generate 3-dimensional reconstructions of synapses on individual neurons at the submandibular ganglion and the superior cervical ganglion of living mice. By following synapses of the same neuron over time, we have found that synaptic structure is generally stable over several days but undergoes substantial remodeling over a period of weeks in the mouse submandibular ganglion (Fig.1). The ability to follow individual inter-neuronal synapses in vivo opens a direct window to study many interesting questions such as: How dynamic are synapses once they are formed? How does neuronal activity modulate synaptic structure? How does change in synaptic structure occur as a function of age? We are currently addressing these questions using high-resolution in vivo confocal imaging, electron microscopy and molecular approaches. In addition to study neural plasticity in the peripheral nervous system, we have recently developed a technique for rapid labeling of a large number of neurons with many different colors (Fig.2). Using this technique, we are planning to study structural plasticity of neuronal circuits in the central nervous system.

Research Interests

Synaptic Plasticity

Research Keywords

Imaging, Metabolism, Molecular, Cellular, & Translational Neuroscience

Microglia and monocytes synergistically promote the transition from acute to chronic pain after nerve injury
Peng, Jiyun; Gu, Nan; Zhou, Lijun; B Eyo, Ukpong; Murugan, Madhuvika; Gan, Wen-Biao; Wu, Long-Jun. Microglia and monocytes synergistically promote the transition from acute to chronic pain after nerve injury. Nature communications. 2016 ;7:12029-12029 (2165532)

Requirement for Microglia for the Maintenance of Synaptic Function and Integrity in the Mature Retina
Wang, Xu; Zhao, Lian; Zhang, Jun; Fariss, Robert N; Ma, Wenxin; Kretschmer, Friedrich; Wang, Minhua; Qian, Hao Hua; Badea, Tudor C; Diamond, Jeffrey S; Gan, Wen-Biao; Roger, Jerome E; Wong, Wai T. Requirement for Microglia for the Maintenance of Synaptic Function and Integrity in the Mature Retina. Journal of neuroscience. 2016 Mar 2;36(9):2827-2842 (2006402)

Branch-specific dendritic Ca(2+) spikes cause persistent synaptic plasticity
Cichon, Joseph; Gan, Wen-Biao. Branch-specific dendritic Ca(2+) spikes cause persistent synaptic plasticity. Nature. 2015 Mar 30;520(7546):180-185 (1539032)

Chitooligosaccharide Inhibits Scar Formation and Enhances Functional Recovery in a Mouse Model of Sciatic Nerve Injury
Hou, Hongping; Zhang, Lihai; Ye, Zuguang; Li, Jianrong; Lian, Zijian; Chen, Chao; He, Rong; Peng, Bo; Xu, Qihua; Zhang, Guangping; Gan, Wenbiao; Tang, Peifu. Chitooligosaccharide Inhibits Scar Formation and Enhances Functional Recovery in a Mouse Model of Sciatic Nerve Injury. Molecular neurobiology. 2015 May 14;53(4):2249-2257 (1743352)

Experience-dependent plasticity of dendritic spines of layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in the mouse cortex
Ma, Lei; Qiao, Qian; Tsai, Jin-Wu; Yang, Guang; Li, Wei; Gan, Wen-Biao. Experience-dependent plasticity of dendritic spines of layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in the mouse cortex. Developmental neurobiology. 2015 Jun 12;76(3):277-286 (1931432)