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Qi Yuan

BioMedical Sciences
PhD (Memorial University)

Associate Professor of Neurosciences

Room 5340 (office) / 5330 and 5335 (lab)
Division of BioMedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, NL, Canada  A1B 3V6

t: 709-864-3368
f: 709-864-6007
lab: lab; 709-864-3377 / 709-864-3379


Ph.D. Memorial University

Postdoctoral Appointments:
Riken Brain Science Institute
University of California at San Diego/Howard Hughes Medical Institute

How does the brain encode sensory information and form memory? Research in my laboratory explores sensory coding, synaptic plasticity, learning and memory in the olfactory system using various olfactory learning models. 1) Adrenoceptor and NMDAR-mediated synaptic plasticity underlying early odor preference learning in rat pups. We use a neonatal rat learning model, combined with electrophysiological recording, calcium imaging and molecular techniques, to study plastic changes in the olfactory bulb and piriform cortex underlying odor learning and memory and the implications of synaptic changes for remediating memory dysfunction. 2) Representation of odor objects in the brain following a “go-no-go” odor discrimination learning in adult rats. We use large-scale neuronal mapping techniques (Arc CatFISH) to study how neuronal ensembles change with experience to reflect memory and higher cognitive functions. We are interested in network representations, when and where they are constructed and how they contribute to perception and memory. 3) Adrenergic modulations of odor perception and discrimination learning in adult rats. Currently we combine pharmacological interventions with optogenetic activation to dissect the roles of norepinephrine and adrenergic receptors in odor discrimination and learning in rats. 


Recent Publications:

Book Chapters

Yuan Q*, Shakhawat AM, Harley CW* (2014). Mechanisms underlying early odor preference learning in rats. In Barkai E. Wilson D (ed.) Progress in Brain Research: Odor Memory and Perception. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Yuan Q* Harley CW, McLean JH (2013). Converging methodologies in a mammalian ‘simple system’ focused on the biology of memory: Conditioned odor preference in the neonate rat. In:  Nguyen PV (ed.) Multidisciplinary Tools for Investigating Synaptic Plasticity. Springer-Verlag, New York.  
Journal Articles
Ghosh, A, N.C. Purchase, X. Chen and Q. Yuan* (2015) Norepinephrine modulates pyramidal cell synaptic properties in the anterior piriform cortex of mice: age-dependent effects of β-adrenoceptors. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. IN PRESS
Mukherjee, B, C.W. Harley and Q. Yuan* (2015) Learning-induced metaplasticity? Associative training for early odor preference learning down-regulates synapse-specific NMDA receptors via mGluR and calcineurin activation. Cerebral Cortex 2015 Oct 26. pii: bhv256. [Epub ahead of print]
Shakhawat A.MD., A. Gheidi, I.T. MacIntyre, M.L. Walsh, C.W. Harley and Q. Yuan* (2015). Arc-expressing neuronal ensembles supporting pattern separation require adrenergic activity in anterior piriform cortex: an exploration of neural constraints on learning. Journal of Neuroscience 35(41): 14070-14075
Yuan Q.* and C.W. Harley (2014). Learning modulation of odor represenations: new findings from Arc-indexed networks. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 8:423.

Shakhawat A.MD., A. Gheidi, Q. Hou, S.K. Dhillon, D.F. Marrone, C.W. Harley and Q. Yuan* (2014). Visualizing the engram: learning stabilizes odor representations in the olfactory network. Journal of Neuroscience 34(46): 15394-15401 
Shakhawat A.MD., C.W. Harley and Q. Yuan* (2014). Arc visualization of odor objects reveals experience-dependent ensemble sharpening, separation, and merging in anterior piriform cortex in adult rat. Journal of Neuroscience 34(31): 10206-10210 
Fontaine, C.J., B. Mukherjee, G.L. Morrison and Q. Yuan* (2014). A lateralized odor learning model in neonatal rats for dissecting neural circuitry underpinning memory formation. Journal of Visualized Experiments (90), e51808, doi:10.3791/51808.
Mukherjee, B, G.L. Morrison, C.J. Fontaine, Q. Hou, C.W. Harley and Q. Yuan* (2014) Unlearning: NMDA Receptor-Mediated Metaplasticity in the Anterior Piriform Cortex Following Early Odor Preference Training in Rats. Journal of Neuroscience 34(15):5143-5151
Fontaine, C.J., C.W. Harley, and Q. Yuan* (2013).  Lateralized odor preference training in rat pups reveals an enhanced network response in anterior piriform cortex to olfactory input that parallels extended memory. Journal of Neuroscience 33(38): 15126-15131
Morrison, G.L., C.J. Fontaine, C.W. Harley, and Q. Yuan* (2013). A role for the anterior piriform cortex in early odor preference learning: Evidence for multiple olfactory learning structures in the rat pup. Journal of Neurophysiology 110(1): 141-152
Shakhawat, A., C.W. Harley, and Q. Yuan* (2012). Olfactory bulb 2-adrenoceptor activation promotes rat pup odor preference learning via a cAMP-independent mechanism. Learning and Memory 19(1): 499-502
Jerome, D., Q. Hou, and Q. Yuan* (2012). Interaction of NMDA receptors and L-type calcium channels during early odor preference learning in rats. European Journal of Neuroscience 36(8): 3134-3141. 
Lethbridge, R., Q. Hong, C.W. Harley and Q. Yuan*. (2012) Olfactory bulb glomerular NMDA receptors mediate olfactory nerve potentiation and odor preference learning in the neonate rat. PLoS One 7(4): e35024.
Yuan, Q., and C.W. Harley. (2012) What a nostril knows: Olfactory nerve-evoked AMPA responses increase while NMDA responses decrease at 24 h post-training for lateralized odor preference memory in neonate rats. Learning & Memory 19(2):50-53.