Yi-Mei (Amy) Yang, PhD

Assistant Professor, Medical School, Duluth Campus

Yi-Mei (Amy) Yang

Contact Info


Office Phone 218-726-7818

Fax 218-726-7937

Office Address:
Department of Biomedical Sciences
337 SMed
1035 University Drive
Duluth, MN 55812

Assistant Professor, Medical School, Duluth Campus

Department of Biomedical Sciences

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto; Oregon Health & Science University

PhD, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

BS, Hebei Medical University


Professional Associations


Research Summary/Interests

Synapses are the fundamental units of neural communication in the brain. Using multidisciplinary approaches, we study how synaptic structure and function are precisely shaped during development and how their dysfunctions lead to neurological disorders. By understanding the physio-pathological roles of critical synaptic proteins and ion channels at the cellular, circuitry and system levels, we aim to identify novel targets and further develop pharmacological and genetic therapies for neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

ASD is characterized by defective social interactions, impaired communication and restricted patterns of repetitive behaviors. Although ASD involves many brain areas, emerging evidence suggests that aberrant activity of the cerebellum in the early developmental stage can lead to ASD. Employing various autistic mouse models to simulate the complex etiology of ASD, we investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the cerebellum pathology. By selectively manipulating the excitability of cerebellar neurons, we ask how dysfunction of the cerebellum affects the brain circuitry and generates the autistic phenotypes over development.

Research Methods/Techniques

Multi-electrode patch clamp, Confocal and two-photon imaging, In vivo Ca2+ Imaging, Chemogenetics, Optogenetics, Viral gene transfer, Viral neuronal tracing, Biochemistry and immunochemistry, Molecular biology, Mouse behavioral analysis, Transgenic mouse models.


Fekete, A, Nakamura, Y, Yang, Y-MA, Herlitze, S, Mark, MD, DiGregorio, DA & Wang, LY 2019, 'Underpinning heterogeneity in synaptic transmission by presynaptic ensembles of distinct morphological modules' Nature communications, vol. 10, no. 1, 826. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-08452-2

Chao, OY & Yang, Y-MA 2019, ' Timing constraints of action potential evoked Ca 2+ current and transmitter release at a central nerve terminal ' Scientific reports, vol. 9, no. 1, 4448. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-41120-5

Wang, AL, Chao, OY, Yang, Y-MA, Trossbach, SV, Müller, CP, Korth, C, Huston, JP & de Souza Silva, MA 2019, 'Anxiogenic-like behavior and deficient attention/working memory in rats expressing the human DISC1 gene' Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, vol. 179, pp. 73-79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2019.02.005

Chao, OY, Yunger, R & Yang, Y-MA 2018, 'Behavioral assessments of BTBR T+Itpr3tf/J mice by tests of object attention and elevated open platform: Implications for an animal model of psychiatric comorbidity in autism' Behavioural Brain Research, vol. 347, pp. 140-147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2018.03.014

Yang, Y-MA, Arsenault, J, Bah, A, Krzeminski, M, Fekete, A, Chao, OY, Pacey, LK, Wang, A, Forman-Kay, J, Hampson, DR & Wang, LY 2018, 'Identification of a molecular locus for normalizing dysregulated GABA release from interneurons in the Fragile X brain' Molecular psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-018-0240-0

Chao, OY, Yunger, R & Yang, Y-MA 2019, 'Corrigendum to “Behavioral assessments of BTBR T+Itpr3tf/J mice by tests of object attention and elevated open platform: implications for an animal model of psychiatric comorbidity in autism” [Behav. Brain Res. 347 (2018) 140–147] (Behavioural Brain Research (2018) 347 (140–147), (S0166432817320491), (10.1016/j.bbr.2018.03.014))' Behavioural Brain Research, vol. 356. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2018.08.026

Yang, YM & Wang, LY 2017, 'Ageing brains attend a symphony with asynchronous transmitter release' Journal of Physiology, vol. 595, no. 3, pp. 613-614. https://doi.org/10.1113/JP273421

Yang, Y-MA, Wang, W, Fedchyshyn, MJ, Zhou, Z, Ding, J & Wang, LY 2014, 'Enhancing the fidelity of neurotransmission by activity-dependent facilitation of presynaptic potassium currents' Nature Communications, vol. 5, 4564. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms5564

Wang, W, Luo, J, Hou, P, Yang, Y, Xiao, F, Yuchi, M, Qu, A, Wang, L & Ding, J 2013, 'Native Gating Behavior of Ion Channels in Neurons with Null-Deviation Modeling' PloS one, vol. 8, no. 10, e77105. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0077105

Yang, YM, Aitoubah, J, Lauer, AM, Nuriya, M, Takamiya, K, Jia, Z, May, BJ, Huganir, RL & Wang, LY 2011, 'GluA4 is indispensable for driving fast neurotransmission across a high-fidelity central synapse' Journal of Physiology, vol. 589, no. 17, pp. 4209-4227. https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2011.208066


Teaching Areas

  • Neurological medicine
  • Foundations of medicine
  • Mentoring: undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows.