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Shenqin Yao Headshot

Shenqin Yao, Ph.D.

Assistant Investigator


Shenqin Yao joined the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2015 as a scientist in the research and development group.  Her role will focus on the development and optimization of novel molecular genetic tools, in an effort to understand the neural connectivity of the mouse brain. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Genetics with Phillip Beachy at the Johns Hopkins University, where she identified novel signaling molecules that govern embryogenesis and adult tissue homeostasis via genome-wide screening in cultured cells. Prior to joining the Allen Institute, she received postdoctoral training and worked as a staff scientist with Catherine Dulac at Harvard University. There, she studied neural circuits underlying mouse social recognition using advanced molecular, genetic and behavioral approaches.

Research Focus:

My research interest is to understand the molecular basis of neural circuitry that translates sensory inputs into behavioral outputs. At the Allen Institute, I will contribute to the development of viral vector tools that enable us to mark and trace the connectivities from molecularly defined populations of neurons. On the basis of anatomical dissection of circuit connectivity, I will also develop tools that will allow functional perturbation of distinct circuit components by combining genetic engineering with optogenetics and chemogenetics. Development and optimization of the above tools will facilitate the ongoing effort of the Allen Institute in characterizing different cell types in the brain and understanding the nature of the connections between cells of various types.

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