Guang Yang, PhD

  • Associate Professor of Anesthesiological Sciences (in Anesthesiology)
Profile Headshot

Profile Navigation


Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor of Anesthesiological Sciences (in Anesthesiology)


  • Female


The brain is segregated from the rest of the body via the blood-brain barrier and has long been considered as an immune privileged organ. Recently, this view has shifted with increasing evidence showing a complex reciprocal relationship between the immune and nervous systems in health and disease. My laboratory studies the mechanisms by which pathological immune responses contribute to neurological disorders such as chronic pain, Alzheimer’s disease and postoperative cognitive dysfunction. We focus on how immune cells and molecules regulate neural plasticity that is important for sensory processing and learning, and how anesthetics and sleep affect this process. The laboratory uses a combination of techniques including in vivo two-photon imaging, molecular manipulation, biochemistry and behavioral analysis to address these questions.

Research Interests

  • Brain Imaging
  • Innate immunity
  • Neurobiology of Disease
  • Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Sleep
  • Synapses and Circuits

Selected Publications

  1. Chen C, Zhang J, Sun L, Zhang Y, Gan WB, Tang P, Yang G. (2019) Long-term imaging of dorsal root ganglia in awake behaving mice. Nature Communications. 10(1):3087.
  2. Zhou H, Zhang Q, Martinez E, Dale J, Hu S, Zhang E, Liu K, Huang D, Yang G, Chen Z, Wang J. (2018) Ketamine reduces aversion in rodent pain models by suppressing hyperactivity of the anterior cingulate cortex. Nature Communications. 9, 3751.
  3. Garré JM, Yang G. (2018) Contribution of monocytes to nervous system disorders. Journal of Molecular Medicine. 96(9):873-883.
  4. Zhao R, Zhou H, Huang L, Xie Z, Wang J, Gan WB, Yang G. (2018) Neuropathic pain causes pyramidal neuronal hyperactivity in the anterior cingulate cortex. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. 12:107.
  5. Cichon J, Sun L, Yang G. (2018) Spared nerve injury model of neuropathic pain in mice. Bio-protocol 8(6): e2777.
  6. Cichon J, Blanck TJJ, Gan WB, Yang G. (2017) Activation of cortical somatostatin interneurons prevents the development of neuropathic pain. Nature Neuroscience. 2017 20(8): 1122-1132.
  7. Garré JM, Moura-Silva H, Lafaille JJ, Yang G. (2017) CX3CR1+ monocytes modulate learning and learning-dependent dendritic spine remodeling via TNF-α. Nature Medicine. 23(6):714-722.
  8. Zhang Q, Manders T, Tong AP, Yang R, Garg A, Martinez E, Zhou H, Dale J, Goyal A, Urien L, Yang G, Chen Z, Wang J. (2017) Chronic pain induces generalized enhancement of aversion. eLife. pii: e25302.
  9. Li W, Ma L, Yang G, Gan WB. (2017) REM sleep selectively prunes and maintains new synapses in development and learning. Nature Neuroscience. 20(3):427-437.
  10. Huang L, Hayes S, Yang G. (2017) Long-lasting behavioral effects in neonatal mice with multiple exposures to ketamine-xylazine anesthesia. Neurotoxicology and Teratology. 60:75-81.
  11. Wang B, Liu Y, Huang L, Chen J, Li JJ, Wang R, Kim E, Chen Y, Justicia C, Sakata K, Chen H, Planas A, Ostrom RS, Li W, Yang G, McDonald MP, Chen R, Heck DH, Liao FF. (2017) A CNS-permeable Hsp90 inhibitor rescues synaptic dysfunction and memory loss in APP-overexpressing Alzheimer's mouse model via an HSF1-mediated mechanism. Molecular Psychiatry. 22(7): 990-1001.
  12. Huang L, Cichon J, Ninan I, Yang G. (2016) Post-anesthesia AMPA receptor potentiation prevents anesthesia-induced learning and synaptic deficits. Science Translational Medicine. 8(344): 344ra85.
  13. Huang L, Yang G. (2015) Repeated exposure to ketamine-xylazine during early development impairs motor learning-dependent dendritic spine plasticity in adulthood. Anesthesiology. 122(4):821-31.
  14. Yang G, Lai SW, Cichon J, Ma L, Li W, Gan WB. (2014) Sleep promotes branch-specific formation of dendritic spines after learning. Science. 344(6188):1173-8.
  15. Parkhurst CN, Yang G, Ninan I, Savas JN, Yates JR, Lafaille JJ, Hempstead BL, Littman DR, Gan WB. (2013) Microglia promote learning-dependent synapse formation through BDNF. Cell. 155(7):1596-609.
  16. Yang G, Pan F, Chang PC, Gooden F, Gan WB. (2013) Transcranial two-photon imaging of synaptic structures in the cortex of awake head-restrained mice. Methods in Molecular Biology. 1010:35-43.
  17. Yang G, Parkhurst CN, Hayes S, Gan WB. (2013) Peripheral elevation of TNF-α leads to early synaptic abnormalities in the mouse somatosensory cortex in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 110(25):10306-11.
  18. Yang G, Gan WB. (2012) Sleep contributes to dendritic spine formation and elimination in the developing mouse somatosensory cortex. Developmental Neurobiology. 72(11):1391-8.
  19. Yang G, Chang PC, Bekker A, Blanck TJ, Gan WB. Transient effects of anesthetics on dendritic spines and filopodia in the living mouse cortex. (2011) Anesthesiology. 115(4):718-726.
  20. Yang G, Pan F, Parkhurst CN, Grutzendler J, Gan WB. (2010) Thinned-skull cranial window technique for long-term imaging of the cortex in live mice. Nature Protocol. 5(2):201-8.
  21. Yang G, Pan F, Gan WB. Stably maintained dendritic spines are associated with lifelong memories. (2009) Nature. 462(7275):920-4.