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Neuroscience Graduate Program at UCSF

Faculty - Su Guo, Ph.D.

Stem Cells, Neural Circuitry and Behavior

Research Description

We are interested in the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate neural stem cell function during the generation and maintenance of the brain.  For example, what genes and pathways that control stem cell quiescence, self-renewal, and differentiation?  How do stem cells respond to brain injury?

We are also interested in the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate neural circuit assembly and organismal behavior.  Monoaminergic (e.g. Dopamine) and peptidergic (e.g. Corticotropin Releasing Factor) neurons are used as model cell types to understand how behaviors, in particular, those associated with emotional (e.g. fear) and motivational states, are encoded in the brain and the genome?

We employ the vertebrate genetic model organism zebrafish Danio rerio.  Through discovering fundamental mechanisms underlying the development and function of the vertebrate brain, we hope to learn about the etiology and pathogenesis mechanisms of human neurological disorders including Parkinson's disease, anxiety and depression, autism, schizophrenia and addiction, and contribute to developing novel therapeutic interventions for these disorders.

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Current Projects

  1. Imaging the ontogeny of neural stem cells in vivo
  2. Mechanisms of embryonic and adult neurogenesis in the forebrain
  3. Chemical genetics of dopaminergic neuron development and maintenance
  4. Molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the regulation of emotional behaviors

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Lab Members

Myrna Barrera, Lab Assistant
Kendrick Bernas, Lab Assistant
Zhiqiang Dong, Postdoctoral Fellow
Keji Jiang, Postdoctoral Fellow
Kristina Kirshner, Undergraduate Researcher
Randy Li, Graduate Student
Michael Munchua, Lab Assistant
Yan Pi, Postdoctoral Fellow

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Selected Publications

Jeong, J., Einhorn, Z., Mercurio S, Lee S, Lau B, Mione M, Wilson SW, Guo, S.  
Neurogenin1 is a determinant of zebrafish basal forebrain dopaminergic neurons and is
regulated by the conserved zinc finger protein Tof/Fezl. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 103,
5143-5148 (2006). 

Wang, X., Yang, N., Uno, E., Roeder, R.G., and Guo, S.   A subunit of the mediator
complex regulates vertebrate neuronal development. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 103 (46):
17284-9 (2006).

Jeong, J., Einhorn, Z., Mathur, P., Chen, L., Lee, S., Kawakami, K., and Guo, S. 
Patterning the zebrafish diencephalon by the conserved zinc finger protein Fezl.
Development 134, 127-136 (2007).

Peng, J., Wagle, M., Mueller, T., Mathur, P., Lockwood, B.L., Bretaud, S., Guo S.  (2009) Ethanol-modulated camouflage response screen in zebrafish uncovers a novel role for cAMP and extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling in behavioral sensitivity to ethanol.  J Neurosci. 29(26):8408-18. PMID: 19571131

Wagle, M., Mathur, P., and Guo, S. (2011) Corticotropin-releasing factor critical for zebrafish camouflage behavior is regulated by light and sensitive to ethanol. J Neurosci.  31 (1): 214-24.

Lau, B., Mathur, P., Gould, G., and Guo, S. (2011) Identification of a brain center whose activity discriminates a choice behavior in zebrafish. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 108: 2581-6.

Dong, Z., Yang, N., Yeo, S., Chitnis, A., and Guo, S. (2012) Intra-lineage Directional Notch Signaling Regulates Self-renewal and Differentiation of Asymmetrically Dividing Radial Glia.  Neuron 74: 65-78

Yang, N., Dong, Z., and Guo, S. (2012) Fezf2 regulates multi-lineage neuronal differentiation throughvactivating bHLH and HD genes in the zebrafish ventral forebrain. J. Neurosci. 32: 10940-8.

Dong, Z., Peng, J., and Guo, S. (2013) Stable gene silencing in zebrafish with spatiotemporally targetable RNA interference.  Genetics 193: 1065-71.

Sun, Y., Dong, Z., Jin, T., Ang, K., Huang, M., Haston, K., Peng, J., Zhong, T., Finkbeiner, S., Weiss, W.A., Arkin, M., Jan, L.Y., Guo, S. (2013) Imaging-based chemical screening reveals activity-dependent neural differentiation of pluripotent stem cells.  eLife (In Press)

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Su Guo, Ph.D.





Office Address

UCSF MC 2811
Rock Hall, RH-484D
1550 4th Street, RH-484D
San Francisco, CA 94143-2811

Other Websites

Lab Website

PIBS Website

PSPG Website