Wei Wei

Associate Professor
Research Summary
How are neural circuits assembled to perform specific computations? An excellent model system to address this question is the retina, where a diverse set of neural circuits are wired with remarkable precision and intricacy to extract salient features such as color, contrast and motion from the visual scene. Each retinal circuit utilizes distinct neuronal types and conveys the processed visual information to higher brain by a specific type of retinal ganglion cells. My lab is interested in the synaptic basis of neural computation in the retina. Our current research is focused on understanding the developmental and adult patterns of synaptic connections underlying the retinal circuits, and determining how the specific wiring patterns impact visual processing. We leverage the increasing repertoire of genetic tools that label specific retinal neuron types to target the synapses of interest, and characterize the maturation and function of these synapses using a combination of techniques including multiphoton microscopy, visual stimulation, electrophysiology and molecular biology. These studies will provide insight into the neural mechanisms of visual processing in the retina, and also have broader implications in the fundamental questions of synapse development and organization in the central nervous system.
neural circuit, neural computation, synaptic physiology, retina, motion detection, visual processing
  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York, PhD Neurobiology 2008
  • University of California, Berkeley, California, Postdoctoral training Neurobiology 2011
Biosciences Graduate Program Association
Awards & Honors
  • 2012 - Whitehall Foundation Grant
  • 2013 - E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation Grant
  • 2013 - Sloan Research Fellowship
  • 2014 - Karl Kirchgessner Foundation Grant
  • 2016 - McKnight Scholar Award
  1. Liao H, Wei W, Tanager KS, Miele F, Upadhyay GA, Beaser AD, Aziz Z, Nayak HM, Ozcan C, Nishimura T, Jiang R, Shatz D, Husain AN, Tung R. Left ventricular summit arrhythmias with an abrupt V3 transition: Anatomy of the aortic interleaflet triangle vantage point. Heart Rhythm. 2020 Jul 21. View in: PubMed

  2. Ding J, Wei W. Dampening light sensitivity. Science. 2020 05 01; 368(6490):471-472. View in: PubMed

  3. Wei W. Decreasing Influence of Retinal Inputs on the Developing Visual Cortex. Neuron. 2019 11 20; 104(4):629-631. View in: PubMed

  4. AcarĂ³n Ledesma H, Li X, Carvalho-de-Souza JL, Wei W, Bezanilla F, Tian B. An atlas of nano-enabled neural interfaces. Nat Nanotechnol. 2019 07; 14(7):645-657. View in: PubMed

  5. Huang X, Rangel M, Briggman KL, Wei W. Neural mechanisms of contextual modulation in the retinal direction selective circuit. Nat Commun. 2019 06 03; 10(1):2431. View in: PubMed

  6. Wei W. Neural Mechanisms of Motion Processing in the Mammalian Retina. Annu Rev Vis Sci. 2018 09 15; 4:165-192. View in: PubMed

  7. Chen Q, Wei W. Stimulus-dependent engagement of neural mechanisms for reliable motion detection in the mouse retina. J Neurophysiol. 2018 09 01; 120(3):1153-1161. View in: PubMed

  8. Wei W. Compartmentalized dendritic signaling in a multitasking retinal interneuron. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 10 24; 114(43):11268-11270. View in: PubMed

  9. Koren D, Grove JCR, Wei W. Cross-compartmental Modulation of Dendritic Signals for Retinal Direction Selectivity. Neuron. 2017 Aug 16; 95(4):914-927.e4. View in: PubMed

  10. Shi X, Barchini J, Ledesma HA, Koren D, Jin Y, Liu X, Wei W, Cang J. Retinal origin of direction selectivity in the superior colliculus. Nat Neurosci. 2017 Apr; 20(4):550-558. View in: PubMed

  11. Chen Q, Pei Z, Koren D, Wei W. Stimulus-dependent recruitment of lateral inhibition underlies retinal direction selectivity. Elife. 2016 12 08; 5. View in: PubMed

  12. Pei Z, Chen Q, Koren D, Giammarinaro B, Acaron Ledesma H, Wei W. Conditional Knock-Out of Vesicular GABA Transporter Gene from Starburst Amacrine Cells Reveals the Contributions of Multiple Synaptic Mechanisms Underlying Direction Selectivity in the Retina. J Neurosci. 2015 Sep 23; 35(38):13219-32. View in: PubMed

  13. Triplett JW, Wei W, Gonzalez C, Sweeney NT, Huberman AD, Feller MB, Feldheim DA. Dendritic and axonal targeting patterns of a genetically-specified class of retinal ganglion cells that participate in image-forming circuits. Neural Dev. 2014 Feb 05; 9:2. View in: PubMed

  14. Wei W, Feller MB. Organization and development of direction-selective circuits in the retina. Trends Neurosci. 2011 Dec; 34(12):638-45. View in: PubMed

  15. Rivlin-Etzion M, Zhou K, Wei W, Elstrott J, Nguyen PL, Barres BA, Huberman AD, Feller MB. Transgenic mice reveal unexpected diversity of on-off direction-selective retinal ganglion cell subtypes and brain structures involved in motion processing. J Neurosci. 2011 Jun 15; 31(24):8760-9. View in: PubMed

  16. Wei W, Hamby AM, Zhou K, Feller MB. Development of asymmetric inhibition underlying direction selectivity in the retina. Nature. 2011 Jan 20; 469(7330):402-6. View in: PubMed

  17. Wei W, Elstrott J, Feller MB. Two-photon targeted recording of GFP-expressing neurons for light responses and live-cell imaging in the mouse retina. Nat Protoc. 2010 Jul; 5(7):1347-52. View in: PubMed

  18. Wei W, Nguyen LN, Kessels HW, Hagiwara H, Sisodia S, Malinow R. Amyloid beta from axons and dendrites reduces local spine number and plasticity. Nat Neurosci. 2010 Feb; 13(2):190-6. View in: PubMed

  19. Huberman AD, Wei W, Elstrott J, Stafford BK, Feller MB, Barres BA. Genetic identification of an On-Off direction-selective retinal ganglion cell subtype reveals a layer-specific subcortical map of posterior motion. Neuron. 2009 May 14; 62(3):327-34. View in: PubMed

  20. Kopec CD, Li B, Wei W, Boehm J, Malinow R. Glutamate receptor exocytosis and spine enlargement during chemically induced long-term potentiation. J Neurosci. 2006 Feb 15; 26(7):2000-9. View in: PubMed