Fan Lab

How does the brain support learning and memory?
Identify the learning rules and the synaptic basis of memory



The ability of the brain to learn from and remember experiences lies at the heart of our existence and individuality.  Disorders of memory represent a huge challenge to society.  The goal of our lab is to decipher the neural codes underlying learning and memory and to identify the physical basis of learning and memory.  Our main questions are:

1. What are the learning rules of brain circuits? For instance, what kinds of activity trigger the encoding and storage of information?

2. How are the learning rules implemented? For instance, where is the information stored?

3. Ultimately can we infer the memories from mapping the neural functional connectivity patterns?


Addressing these questions requires understanding the language the brain uses to speak to itself, the little electrical impulses of neurons.  We have worked on developing and applying high-precision all-optical technologies for simultaneously mapping and controlling membrane potential in specific neurons within the intact brain.  We continue to develop and apply these cutting-edge technologies and integrate them with behavioral, molecular, and computational approaches to understand how the brain encodes, stores, and recalls information.


Welcome to Sophia (2023-11)

Sophia Xu, PhD joins the team as our first lab manager!  Welcome!

Poster and Star Mentor award (2023-09-01)

Celestine presented a poster at the Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program symposium and Linlin received the Star Mentor award.  Nice work!

Tri-Lab Neuroscience Jamboree (2023-07-21)

We had the first ever Tri-lab Neuroscience Jamboree between our lab, Longzhi Tan’s lab at Stanford, and Ritchie Chen’s lab at UCSF.  Check out the photos.  Looking forward to the next one!

BWF CASI award (2023-06-12)

Linlin received the Career Award at the Scientific Interface from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.  Thanks, BWF!

Join us?

We are always looking for passionate people to join us.
We are committed to mentoring the next generation of scientists.