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Photo of Soohyun Lee, PhD, principal investigator of the Unit on Functional Neural Circuits of NIMH IRP.

Soohyun Lee, Ph.D.

Unit on Functional Neural Circuits

Research Topics

Our research seeks a mechanistic understanding of reciprocal interactions between sensation and action as function of internal brain states.

We address this problem at multiple levels of analysis, from synapses and circuits through behavior. We use the rodent vibrissa-related sensorimotor system, which provides an ethologically relevant and computationally rigorous model of sensorymotor processing. We apply diverse techniques to monitor and manipulate activity in genetically identified populations of neurons.

We are currently interested in how internally generated brain activity interacts with sensation at the level of specific circuits and neuronal types with emphasis on different types of cortical GABAergic neurons. Our ongoing projects aim to delineate the functional connectivity among related brain areas, to identify the behavioral relevance of these circuits, to understand the computations these circuits perform, and to uncover their developmental specificity and plasticity.


Dr. Soohyun Lee received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied motor modulation of cortico-thalamic circuits in the rodent somatosensory system with Dr. Dan Simons. During a postdoctoral fellowship with Drs. Bernardo Rudy and Gord Fishell at New York University, she worked on the diversity and functional circuitry of GABAergic neurons in the neocortex. Dr. Lee joined NIMH as a principal investigator of the Unit on Functional Neural Circuits in the summer of 2016.

Selected Publications

Qi J, Ye C, Naskar S, Inacio AR, Lee S (2022). Posteromedial thalamic nucleus activity significantly contributes to perceptual discrimination. PLoS Biol 20, e3001896. [Pubmed Link ]

Naskar S, Qi J, Pereira F, Gerfen CR, Lee S (2021). Cell-type-specific recruitment of GABAergic interneurons in the primary somatosensory cortex by long-range inputs. Cell Rep 34, 108774. [Pubmed Link ]

Jung WB, Jiang H, Lee S, Kim SG (2022). Dissection of brain-wide resting-state and functional somatosensory circuits by fMRI with optogenetic silencing. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 119. [Pubmed Link ]

Zagha E, Erlich JC, Lee S, Lur G, O'Connor DH, Steinmetz NA, Stringer C, Yang H (2022). The Importance of Accounting for Movement When Relating Neuronal Activity to Sensory and Cognitive Processes. J Neurosci 42, 1375-1382. [Pubmed Link ]

Tremblay R, Lee S, Rudy B (2016). GABAergic Interneurons in the Neocortex: From Cellular Properties to Circuits. Neuron 91, 260-92. [Pubmed Link ]

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