Cell Biology and Neuroscience

Jun-Hyeong Cho

Jun-Hyeong Cho
Office: (951) 827-2560
Fax: (951) 827-3087
Biological Sciences 1107
Office Hours: F, 3pm - 5pm
Email: juncho@ucr.edu

Jun-Hyeong Cho, MD PhD

Assistant Professor
M.D., Catholic University of Korea, School of Medicine, 1999
Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, Ohio State University, 2008
Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School, 2008-2012
Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, 2012-2014


Our research goal is to address one of the most fundamental questions in neuroscience: how does the brain work for learning and memory? To this end, we have used rodent models of fear conditioning, in which experimental subjects learn to associate a neutral conditioned stimulus (CS, tone) with an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US, footshock). After fear conditioning, the subjects show fear responses to the neutral CS, which represents a long-term memory of the CS-US association. Using the fear conditioning model, we investigate (1) neural circuit mechanisms of the formation and extinction of conditioned fear memory, and (2) neuropeptidergic modulation of fear extinction circuits

The main hypothesis of our research is that neuroplasticity underlies learning and memory. With electrophysiological approaches, we test this hypothesis by examining how fear and extinction learning impact synaptic responses and neuronal excitability in neural circuits implicated in fear and anxiety. To determine the causal relationship between these changes and behavior, we employ in vivo optogenetics and examine how bidirectional control of a neural pathway affects the formation and extinction of fear memory. We also investigate how neural circuits involved in fear and extinction learning are regulated by neuropeptides implicated in anxiety disorders. Results from these studies will contribute to a deeper mechanistic understanding of fear learning and memory and provide hints to improve treatment of anxiety disorders. Optogenetics combined with electrophysiology is a powerful tool for studying behaviors at the neural circuit level. Thus, we are also interested in investigating the neurobiological basis of other maladaptive behaviors (e.g. drug addiction, depression, chronic pain, and compulsive behavior), in which neural circuit dysfunction has been implicated. 


         Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography
         Google Scholar

  • Kim WB and Cho J-H (2017) Synaptic targeting of double-projecting ventral CA1 hippocampal neurons to the medial prefrontal cortex and basal amygdala. Journal of Neuroscience, 37: 4868-4882 [NCBI][Article PDF][This Week in the Journal]
  • Cunningham M*, Cho J-H*, Leung A, Savvidis G, Ahn S, Moon M, Lee PKJ, Han JJ, Azimi N, Kim K-S, Bolshakov VY, and Chung S (2014) hPSC-derived maturing GABAergic interneurons ameliorate seizures and abnormal behavior in epileptic mice. Cell Stem Cell, 15, 559-573 (* Co-first author) [NCBI][Article PDF]
  • Cho J-H, Deisseroth K, and Bolshakov VY (2013) Synaptic Encoding of Fear Extinction in mPFC-amygdala Circuits. Neuron, 80: 1491-1507 [NCBI][Article PDF]
  • Cho J-H, Zushida K, Shumyatsky GP, Carlezon WA, Meloni EG, and Bolshakov VY (2012)  PACAP induces postsynaptically-expressed potentiation in the intra-amygdala circuit. Journal of Neuroscience, 32: 14165-14177 [NCBI][Article PDF]
  • Cho J-H, Bayazitov IT, Meloni EG, Myers KM, Carlezon WA, Zakharenko SS, and Bolshakov VY (2012) Coactivation of thalamic and cortical pathways induces input timing-dependent plasticity in amygdala.  Nature Neuroscience, 15: 113-122 [NCBI][Article PDF]
  • Cho J-H and Askwith CC (2008) Presynaptic release probability is increased in hippocampal neurons from ASIC1 knockout mice.  Journal of Neurophysiology, 99: 426-441 [NCBI][Article PDF]
  • Cho J-H and Askwith CC (2007) Potentiation of acid-sensing ion channels by sulfhydryl compounds.  American Journal of Physiology Cell Physiology, 292: C2161-74 [NCBI][Article PDF]

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Cell Biology and Neuroscience
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