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The Han Lab develops and applies state-of-the-art imaging-based spatial omics technologies to study how the brain encodes information. Spatial omics characterizes the molecular profile of the brain in a spatially resolved manner at unprecedented resolution and scale. For example, the recently developed spatial transcriptomics technology probes the identity and localization of thousands of RNAs throughout the mouse brain at single molecule resolution. Such a map greatly complements the anatomical and functional characterization of the brain using traditional neuroscience technologies. First, it identifies the molecular profile of different cell types and their spatial relationships within the brain. It also identifies how gene expression varies across different regions, shedding light on regional specialization and the functional roles of specific circuits. It also characterizes region-specific molecular changes in response to learning, experience and stimuli or disease development providing insights into molecular mechanisms underlying these processes.

Our group’s research involves both technology development and discovering new biology. On the technology front, we are integrating advances in bioimaging, molecular biology, chemistry, and engineering to push the boundaries of the state-of-the-art technology to generate a detailed molecular map of the entire brain from multiple individuals. We are also developing new analytical frameworks to analyze and compare the high molecular content spatial data, a new datatype that is becoming available to the neuroscience community. On the biological front, we are studying how different social behaviors are encoded in brains of honey bees. We aim to understand how such a simple brain encodes a rich repertoire of social behaviors and allows for behavioral plasticity. We aim to expand our study to bridge the gap between electrical signal-centered and molecular-centered understanding of brain functions.


  1. Further innovation of spatial omics technologies for high throughput whole brain imaging
  2. Development of new analytical frameworks for the interpretation of spatial omics data
  3. Spatial RNA mapping in honey bee brain

Our principal investigator is Dr. Hee-Sun Han. 

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