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. Zhang L, Luo H, Ni HM, Liu S, Xing H, Zhang J, Sellin M, Breslin S J P, Wei W, Denning MF, Small W, Ding WX, Huang S, Zhang J. Ripk3 signaling regulates HSCs during stress and represses radiation-induced leukemia in mice. Stem Cell Reports. 2022 06 14; 17(6):1428-1441. View in: PubMed

  2. Huang ??? X, Kim AJ, Acarón Ledesma H, Ding J, Smith RG, Wei W. Visual stimulation induces distinct forms of sensitization of On-Off direction-selective ganglion cell responses in the dorsal and ventral retina. J Neurosci. 2022 Apr 26. View in: PubMed

  3. Yu J, Pacheco JA, Ghosh AS, Luo Y, Weng C, Shang N, Benoit B, Carrell DS, Carroll RJ, Dikilitas O, Freimuth RR, Gainer VS, Hakonarson H, Hripcsak G, Kullo IJ, Mentch F, Murphy SN, Peissig PL, Ramirez AH, Walton N, Wei WQ, Rasmussen LV. Under-specification as the source of ambiguity and vagueness in narrative phenotype algorithm definitions. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2022 01 28; 22(1):23. View in: PubMed

  4. De T, Zhang H, Alarcon C, Lec B, Avitia J, Smithberger E, Chen C, Horvath M, Kwan S, Young M, Adhikari S, Kwon J, Pacheco J, Jarvik G, Wei WQ, Mentch F, Hakonarson H, Sleiman P, Gordon A, Harley J, Linneman J, Hebbring S, Parisiadou L, Perera MA. Genetic association of primary nonresponse to anti-TNFa therapy in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2022 01 01; 32(1):1-9. View in: PubMed

  5. Lu Y, Wei W, Upadhyay GA, Tung R. Catheter-Based Cardio-Neural Ablation for Refractory Vasovagal Syncope: First U.S. Report. JACC Case Rep. 2020 Jul; 2(8):1161-1165. View in: PubMed

  6. Ding J, Chen A, Chung J, Acaron Ledesma H, Wu M, Berson DM, Palmer SE, Wei W. Spatially displaced excitation contributes to the encoding of interrupted motion by a retinal direction-selective circuit. Elife. 2021 06 07; 10. View in: PubMed

  7. Mu Z, Wei W, Fair B, Miao J, Zhu P, Li YI. The impact of cell type and context-dependent regulatory variants on human immune traits. Genome Biol. 2021 04 29; 22(1):122. View in: PubMed

  8. Fang Y, Prominski A, Rotenberg MY, Meng L, Acarón Ledesma H, Lv Y, Yue J, Schaumann E, Jeong J, Yamamoto N, Jiang Y, Elbaz B, Wei W, Tian B. Micelle-enabled self-assembly of porous and monolithic carbon membranes for bioelectronic interfaces. Nat Nanotechnol. 2021 02; 16(2):206-213. View in: PubMed

  9. Chen Q, Smith RG, Huang X, Wei W. Preserving inhibition with a disinhibitory microcircuit in the retina. Elife. 2020 12 03; 9. View in: PubMed

  10. 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. 2021 01; 18(1):10-19. View in: PubMed

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

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

  13. Acarón 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

  14. 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

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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. 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

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. 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