Yueqing Peng, PhD

Profile Headshot


Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology in the Institute for Genomic Medicine


  • Chinese


  • Male

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BS, 2001 Biology, Nanjing University (China)
  • PhD, 2008 Neurobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai (China)

Committees, Societies, Councils

2012-present, Member, Society for Neuroscience, U.S.A.


Why do we need sleep? How are sleep states initiated, maintained, and ended? How does sleep impact normal brain functions? What roles does sleep play in neuropsychiatric disorders? The goal of our research is to understand the circuit, cellular, and molecular mechanisms underlying sleep regulation in both normal and diseased brains.

We use a multidisciplinary approach including electrophysiology, calcium imaging, optogenetics, chemogenetics, pharmacology, viral-based neural tracing, molecular biology, and mouse genetics to study the neurobiology of sleep. Currently, we aim to 1) dissect brain circuits that control sleep and wakefulness; 2) identify genes and signaling molecules that initiate and maintain sleep; 3) examine how sleep loss affects brain functions and animal behaviors, such as sensory perception, learning, and memory.

In collaboration with other faculty members at Columbia, we are also interested in understanding the relationship between sleep disruption and neurological/psychiatric disorders. Specifically, we focus on epilepsy and mood disorders. We aim to identify common neuropathological mechanisms underlying abnormal sleep and brain diseases.

Research Interests

  • Epilepsy/Psychiatric Disorders
  • Neurobiology of Sleep
  • Sensory Physiology
  • Systems and Circutis

Selected Publications

Wang L, Gillis-Smith S, Peng Y, Zhang J, Chen X, Salzman CD, Ryba NJ, Zuker CS. (2018). The coding of valence and identity in the mammalian taste system. Nature 558(7708), 127-131.

Yarmolinsky DA, Peng Y, Pogorzala LA, Rutlin M, Hoon MA, Zuker CS. (2016) Coding and plasticity in the mammalian thermosensory system. Neuron 92(5), 1079-92.

Peng Y, Gillis-Smith S, Jin H, Tränkner D, Ryba NJ, Zuker CS. (2015). Sweet and bitter taste in the brain of awake behaving animals. Nature 527(7579), 512-5.

Chen X, Gabitto M, Peng Y, Ryba NJ, Zuker CS. (2011). A gustotopic map of taste qualities in the mammalian brain. Science, 333(6047), 1262-6.

Lu S, Fang J, Guo A, Peng Y. (2009) Impact of network topology on decision-making. Neural Networks. 22(1), 30-40.

Peng Y, Xi W, Zhang W, Zhang K, Guo A. (2007) Experience improves feature extraction in Drosophila. Journal of Neuroscience. 27, 5139-5145.

Peng Y, Guo A. (2007) Novel stimulus-induced calcium efflux in Drosophila mushroom bodies. European Journal of Neuroscience. 25(7), 2034-44.

Zhang K, Guo JZ, Peng Y, Xi W, Guo A. (2007) Dopamine-mushroom body circuit regulates saliency-based decision-making in Drosophila. Science. 316(5833), 1901-4.