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Jianhua (J.C.) Cang

Jianhua Cang headshot
Paul T. Jones Jefferson Scholars Foundation Professor, Biology and Psychology

Research Disciplines - Systems Neuroscience; Neural Circuits; Neural Development; Behavior and Cognition;

Research Interests - Visual System

Research Description - The overall goal of my research is to study the neural basis of vision: how neurons in the brain respond to visual stimuli and lead to visually guided behaviors; what neural circuits give rise to such response properties; and how these circuits are established during development. We use mice and tree shrews as models and take an integrative approach that combines in vivo physiology, two-photon imaging, genetics, behavioral, and computational techniques. Our research is mainly along two directions: (1) we made a paradigm-shifting discovery regarding how sensory experience shapes visual functions in the cortex during a critical period in early life; (2) we have carried out a series of functional studies of the mouse superior colliculus, helping to establish it as a new model for studying visual information processing and sensorimotor transformation.  We are continuing both lines of research by performing mechanistic studies of binocular processing in the cortex and visual transformation and development in the superior colliculus.

Selected Publications

  1. Liu Y, Savier EL, DePiero VJ, Chen C, Schwalbe DC, Abraham-Fan R-J, Chen H, Campbell JN, Cang J. (2023) Mapping visual functions onto molecular cell types in the mouse superior colliculus. Neuron. 111(12): 1876-1886.
  2. Tanabe S, Fu J, Cang J. (2022). Strong tuning for stereoscopic depth indicates orientation-specific recurrent circuitry in tree shrew V1. Curr Biol. 32(24):5274-5284. 
  3. Li C, McHaney KM, Sederberg PB, Cang J (2022). Tree Shrews as an Animal Model for Studying Perceptual Decision-making Reveal a Critical Role of Stimulus-independent Processes in Guiding Behavior. eNeuro. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0419-22.2022
  4. Skyberg R, Tanabe S, Chen H, Cang J. (2022) Coarse-to-fine processing drives the efficient coding of natural scenes in mouse visual cortex. Cell Rep. 38(13):110606 
  5. Shi X, Barchini J, Acaron Ledesma H, Koren D, Jin Y, Liu X, Wei W, Cang J. (2017) Retinal origin of direction selectivity in the superior colliculus. Nat Neurosci. 20(4):550-558.
  6. Zhao X, Liu M, and Cang J. (2014) Visual Cortex Modulates the Magnitude but Not the Selectivity of Looming-Evoked Responses in the Superior Colliculus of Awake Mice. Neuron. 84(1):202-1 
  7. Wang B-S, Sarnaik R, and Cang J. (2010) Critical Period Plasticity Matches Binocular Orientation Preference in the Visual Cortex. Neuron, 65(2):246-256.