Dr. Lee and her lab are exploring the cellular and molecular changes that happen at synapses to allow memory storage.
Combining various techniques such as electrophysiological recording, biochemical/molecular analysis, and imaging, Dr. Lee is aiming to understand the cellular and molecular changes that happen during synaptic plasticity. By using sensory cortices as model systems, Dr. Lee and her lab have found that loss of vision elicits global changes in excitatory synaptic transmission in the primary visual cortex, which is mainly due to regulation of postsynaptic AMPA type glutamate receptors. Vision loss also triggers specific synaptic changes in other primary sensory cortices, which Dr. Lee believes underlies sensory compensation in the blind. Elucidating the mechanisms underlying such cross-modal synaptic plasticity is a main research focus of the Lee lab.
In addition to understanding the basic mechanisms of how experience alters the brain, the Lee lab is also interested in elucidating the events that occur in diseased brains. In collaboration with Dr. Philip Wong at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Dr. Hyang-Sook Hoe at Georgetown University, Dr. Lee and her team are analyzing various mouse models of Alzheimer's disease, focusing in on the possible alterations in synaptic plasticity mechanisms.
Huang S, Rozas C, Trevino M, Contreras J, Yang S, Song L, Yoshioka T, Lee H-K, and Kirkwood A. “Associative Hebbian synaptic plasticity in primate visual cortex.” Journal of Neuroscience. 2014 May 28;34 (22): 7575-7579. 2014.
Petrus E and Lee H-K. “BACE1 is necessary for experience-dependent homeostatic synaptic plasticity in visual cortex.” Neural Plasticity 2014: 128631.
Wang H, Megill A, Wong PC, Kirkwood A, and Lee H-K. “Postsynaptic target specific synaptic dysfunctions in the CA3 area of BACE1 knockout mice.” PLoS One. 2014 Mar 17;9 (30): e92279.
Petrus E*, Isaiah A*, Jones AP, Li D, Wang H, Lee H-K, and Kanold PO. “Cross-modal induction of thalamocortical potentiation leads to enhanced information processing in the auditory cortex.” Neuron. 2014 Feb 5;81: 664-673.
Whitt JL*, Petrus E*, and Lee H-K. “Experience-dependent homeostatic synaptic plasticity in neocortex.” Neuropharmacology 2014 Mar;78: 45-54. 2014.