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Lu-Yang Wang

Title: Senior Scientist, Neurosciences & Mental Health
Designations: PhD
Phone: 416-813-8711
Alternate Contact Name: Delina Romano
Alternate Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 302400
Alternate Email:
U of T Positions: Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Physiology
Chair Positions: Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Brain Development and Disorders



The sensory and cognitive functions of the brain depend on 100 billion neurons, woven into intricate and complex networks. Neurons and networks transmit information through ~100 trillion neuronal contacts known as chemical synapses. Synaptic transmission and plasticity are crucial for normal brain function, but inevitably aberrant in devastating neurological diseases, many of which have their roots in dysregulated development of synaptic structure and function. Guided by this overarching vision, our lab focuses our research endeavours on: (A) the understanding of the basic principles underlying synaptic function and morphology in the critical period of brain development with auditory brainstem (i.e. the calyx of Held) as the main model; and (B) the transformation of our discoveries into innovative strategies for mitigating and curing neurodevelopmental disorders using cerebellar circuits in transgenic mouse models and their sensorimotor gating behavioural phenotypes. By identifying novel molecular substrates and specific druggable targets using both mouse models and clinical data sets, we are developing ion channel agonists and antagonists as new molecular medicine for potential clinical interventions of neurodevelopmental disorders and neonatal neurotoxicity. 


  • 19891993: PhD, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
  • 19941998: PhD, Yale University, New Haven, U.S.


  • 2018: Associate Chair, Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON 
  • 20152017: Head (Interim), Program in Neuroscience and Mental Health, SickKids Research Institute, Toronto, ON 
  • 20102017: Director, BRAIN Platform Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON 
  • 2008: Full Professor, Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON 
  • 2007: Visiting Professor, Department of Neurobiology, Duke University (Sabbatical with Prof. George Augustine), Durham, U.S. 
  • 20062007: Visiting Professor, Department of Biophysics, Max Planck Institute (Sabbatical with Prof. Erwin Neher-Nobel Laureate in Physiology & Medicine) 
  • 2004Present: Senior Scientist, Program in Neuroscience and Mental Health, SickKids Research Institute, Toronto, ON 
  • 20042008: Associate Professor, Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON 
  • 19982004: Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON 
  • 19982004: Scientist, Program in Brain & Behavior, SickKids Research Institute, Toronto, ON


  • 20192026: Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Brain Development & Disorders, Government of Canada 
  • 2019: Investigator Award, Association for the Study of Neuron and Diseases  
  • 2017: Outstanding Reviewer Award, The Journal of Neuroscience  
  • 20062007: Faculty Visit Award, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)   
  • 20062007: Short-Term Fellowship, International Human Frontier Science Program  
  • 20022012: Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Brain & Behavior, Government of Canada 
  • 20012004: New Investigator Award,The Burroughs Wellcome Fund
  • 20002003: Research Scholar Award, The EJLB Foundation 
  • 1998: New Opportunities Award, Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) 
  • 19982003: New Investigator Scholarship, Canadian Institutes of Health Sciences 
  • 2020Present: Treasurer, Executive Committee, Canadian Association of Neuroscience (CAN) 
  • 2019Present: Member, Society for Neuroscience (SFN) Program Committee  
  • 20072010: Member, Society for Neuroscience (SFN) Public Communication and Education Committee  
  • 20042007: Board of Directors, Canadian Association of Neuroscience (CAN) 

Editorial Board/Associate Editorship

  • The Journal of Neuroscience
  • Scientific Reports
  • Molecular Brain
  • Channels
  • Frontier in Molecular Neuroscience
  • Frontier in Cellular Neuroscience


  1. Lai K, Song XL, Shi HS, Qi X, Li CY, Fang J, Wang F, Maximyuk O, Krishtal O, Xu TL, Li XY, Ni K, Li WP, Shi HB*, Wang LY*, Yin SK*. Bilirubin enhances the activity of ASIC channels to exacerbate neurotoxicity in neonatal hyperbilirubinemia in miceScience Translational Medicine. 2020;12(530): eaax1337.
  2. Lesperance LS, Yang YM, Wang LY*. Delayed expression of activity-dependent gating switch in synaptic AMPARs at a central synapse. Molecular Brain. 2020;13(1):6. Published 2020 Jan 15.
  3. Fekete A, Nakamura Y, Yang YM, Herlitze S, Mark MD, DiGregorio DA, Wang LY*. Underpinning heterogeneity in synaptic transmission by presynaptic ensembles of distinct morphological modules. Nature Communication. 2019;10(1):826. Published 2019 Feb 18. 
  4. Tsang B, Arsenault J, Vernon RM, Lin H, Sonenberg N, Wang LY, Bah A, Forman-Kay JD. Phosphoregulated FMRP phase separation models activity-dependent translation through bidirectional control of mRNA granule formation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 2019;116(10):4218-4227.
  5. Yang YM, Arsenault J, Bah A, Krzeminski M, Fekete A, Chao OY, Pacey LK, Wang A, Forman-Kay J, Hampson DR, Wang LY*. Identification of a molecular locus for normalizing dysregulated GABA release from interneurons in the Fragile X brain. Molecular Psychiatry. 2018;10.1038/s41380-018-0240-0. 

See a full list of Dr. Wang's publications

  • Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Brain Development & Disorders (04/2019-03/2026) 
  • CIHR PJT – 156439 Wang (PI)  
    Targeting a Novel Molecular Locus for Pharmacological and Genetic Rescue of Fragile X Syndrome (09/2018-08/2023) 
  • CIHR PJT – 156034 Wang (PI) 
    The roles of neuronal calcium sensor-1 (NCS1) protein in synaptic development and neuropsychiatric disorders (04/2018-03/2023) 
  • NSERC RGPIN-2017-06665 (PI)  
    Underpinnings of synaptic heterogeneity in the mammalian brain (04/2017-08/2022) 
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