Dr Lau received his Bachelor of Technology degree (Biomedical Science) with First Class Honours from the University of Auckland in 2001. He received his Master of Science in 2004 and PhD in 2007 from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (New York) under the guidance of Suzanne Zukin and Michael Bennett. His graduate thesis work focused on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of glutamate receptor regulation in synaptic plasticity. Having attended the Neural Systems and Behavior at Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Dr Lau decided to pursue systems neuroscience research in the lab of Venkatesh Murthy at Harvard University. His postdoctoral work surrounded the theme of genetic regulation of homeostatic plasticity at the synaptic and circuit level. In recognition of Dr Lau’s work, he received a NARSAD Young Investigator Award in 2010. His teaching of an undergraduate tutorial entitled “Synapses: molecules, networks and behavior” earned him a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from Harvard in 2014. His research work has garnered more than 1100 citations (Google Scholar). Dr Lau joined CityU as an Assistant Professor in March 2016.
- Mechanisms of homeostatic plasticity
- Cortical circuit mapping
- Neuron type-specific function
- Circuit basis of olfaction
- Models of neuropsychiatric disorders
Through the complex interaction of excitatory and inhibitory neurons, animals perceive and analyze the environment, learn associations, and perform behavior that is beneficial for their survival. How are specific neural circuits wired up in a manner that enables the brain to perform these functions? Our overall goal is to understand sensory processing and plasticity in terms of interactions of specific neuron types in the cortex. We use the mouse olfactory cortex and hippocampus as model systems and utilize an array of methods including electrophysiology (in vitro and in vivo), 2-photon microscopy, optogenetics, mouse genetics, and immunofluorescent labeling. Understanding how specific cell types functionally influence each other will provide fundamental insights about how the brain works. In addition, it will form the basis for illuminating why certain cells are more vulnerable in neurological and psychiatric disorders and this knowledge will aid the development of novel therapeutics.
More info can be found at Dr Lau’s lab website.
Peer-Reviewed Research Articles
- Mazo C, Grimaud J, Shima Y, Murthy VN#, Lau CG#. Distinct projection patterns of different classes of layer 2 principal neurons in the olfactory cortex. Scientific Reports, 7:8282, 2017.
# Co-corresponding authors.
- Murphy JA*, Stein IS*, Lau CG, Peixoto R, Aman TK, Kaneko N, Aromolaran K, Saulnier JL, Popescu GK, Sabatini BL, Hell JW, Zukin RS. Phosphorylation of Ser1166 on GluN2B by PKA is critical to synaptic NMDA receptor function and Ca2+ signaling in spines. Journal of Neuroscience, 34:869-79, 2014.
* Equal first authors.
Featured in This Week in The Journal.
- Lau CG, Murthy VN. Activity-dependent regulation of inhibition via GAD67. Journal of Neuroscience, 32:8521-31, 2012.
One of the most-read J. Neurosci. articles in June, 2012.
Image of the week, BrainFacts.org.
- Lau CG, Takayasu Y, Rodenas-Ruano A, Paternain AV, Lerma J, Bennett MVL, Zukin RS. SNAP-25 is a target of PKC phosphorylation critical to NMDA receptor trafficking. Journal of Neuroscience, 30:242-254, 2010.
- Skeberdis VA*, Chevaleyre V*, Lau CG*, Goldberg JH, Pettit DL, Suadicani SO, Lin Y, Bennett MVL, Yuste R, Castillo PE, Zukin RS. Protein kinase A regulates calcium permeability of NMDA receptors. Nature Neuroscience, 9:501-510, 2006.
* Equal first authors.
Rated 10 out of 10 and an "exceptional new finding" by James Bibb: Faculty of 1000 Biology.
Featured in the Papers to Watch section of The Scientist, October, 2006.
Featured in the Calcium Signaling and Neurobiology section, AfCS-Nature Signaling Gateway, Apr 2006.
Ranked in the top 100 papers in ion channel research in 2006 by IonChannels.org.
Reviews and Textbook Chapter
- Tetteh H, Lee M, Lau CG, Yang S#, Yang S#. Tinnitus: Prospects for Pharmacological Interventions With a Seesaw Model. The Neuroscientist, first published on 9 Oct 2017.
# Co-corresponding authors.
- Lau CG, Takeuchi K, Rodenas-Ruano A, Bennett MVL, Zukin RS. Regulation of NMDA receptor Ca2+ signalling and synaptic plasticity. Biochemical Society Transactions, 37:1369–1374, 2009.
- Lau CG, Zukin RS. NMDA receptor trafficking in synaptic plasticity and neuropsychiatric disorders. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 8:413-416, 2007.
Featured article of the June issue, 2007.
Featured in the Signaling and Neurobiology sections, AfCS-Nature Signaling Gateway, June 2007.
- Zukin RS, Jover T, Yokota H, Calderone A, Simionescu M, Lau CG. Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Ischemia-induced Neuronal Death. In: Stroke: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis and Management. 4th Ed. Eds: Mohr, JP, Choi DW, Grotta JC, Weir B, Wolf PA. Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone. pp. 829-854, 2004.
We are looking for energetic, motivated and talented individuals to join as graduate students and research assistants. Please send your CV and research summary directly to Dr Lau. PhD students can consider applying through the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme, Department of Biomedical Sciences PhD programme or the Interdisciplinary Programme in Veterinary Science, a programme offered by the School of Veterinary Medicine in collaboration with Cornell University.