Henry Yin

Henry Yin

Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and Director of Graduate Studies

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles 2004


I am interested in understanding the neural mechanisms underlying goal-directed actions. For the first time in history, advances in psychology and neurobiology have made it feasible to pursue the detailed neural mechanisms underlying goal-directed and voluntary actions--how they are driven by the needs and desires of the organism and controlled by cognitive processes that provide a rich representation of the self and the world. My approach to this problem is highly integrative, combining behavioral analysis with electrophysiological techniques as well as tools from molecular biology. In the near future three techniques will be emphasized. 1) Dissecting reward-guided behavior using analytical behavioral assays. 2) In vivo recording from cerebral cortex, thalamus, midbrain, and basal ganglia in awake behaving rodents. Up to hundreds of neurons can be recorded from multiple brain areas that form a functional neural network in a single animal. 3) In vitro (and ex vivo) whole-cell patch-clamp recording in brain slices, with the aid of genetic tools for visualization of distinct neuronal populations. Ultimately, I hope to characterize goal-directed actions at multiple levels of analysis--from molecules to neural networks. This knowledge will provide us with insight into various pathological conditions characterized by impaired goal-directed behaviors, such as drug addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease.


Reward, action, goal, learning, habit, basal ganglia, brain, motivation

Rodriguez, E, Sakurai, K, Xu, J, Chen, Y, Toda, K, Zhao, S, Han, B-X, Ryu, D, Yin, H, Liedtke, W, and Wang, F. "Publisher Correction: A craniofacial-specific monosynaptic circuit enables heightened affective pain." Nature Neuroscience 21.6 (June 2018): 896-null. Full Text

Bey, AL, Wang, X, Yan, H, Kim, N, Passman, RL, Yang, Y, Cao, X, Towers, AJ, Hulbert, SW, Duffney, LJ, Gaidis, E, Rodriguiz, RM, Wetsel, WC, Yin, HH, and Jiang, Y-H. "Brain region-specific disruption of Shank3 in mice reveals a dissociation for cortical and striatal circuits in autism-related behaviors." Translational psychiatry 8.1 (April 27, 2018): 94-. Full Text

O'Hare, J, Calakos, N, and Yin, HH. "Recent Insights into Corticostriatal Circuit Mechanisms underlying Habits: Invited review for Current Opinions in Behavioral Sciences." Current opinion in behavioral sciences 20 (April 2018): 40-46. Full Text

Rodriguez, E, Sakurai, K, Xu, J, Chen, Y, Toda, K, Zhao, S, Han, B-X, Ryu, D, Yin, H, Liedtke, W, and Wang, F. "A craniofacial-specific monosynaptic circuit enables heightened affective pain." Nature neuroscience 20.12 (December 2017): 1734-1743. Full Text

Toda, K, Lusk, NA, Watson, GDR, Kim, N, Lu, D, Li, HE, Meck, WH, and Yin, HH. "Nigrotectal Stimulation Stops Interval Timing in Mice." Current Biology : Cb 27.24 (December 2017): 3763-3770.e3. Full Text

O'Hare, JK, Li, H, Kim, N, Gaidis, E, Ade, K, Beck, J, Yin, H, and Calakos, N. "Striatal fast-spiking interneurons selectively modulate circuit output and are required for habitual behavior." Elife 6 (September 5, 2017). Full Text

Yin, HH. "The Basal Ganglia in Action." The Neuroscientist 23.3 (June 2017): 299-313. Full Text

Wang, X, Bey, AL, Katz, BM, Badea, A, Kim, N, David, LK, Duffney, LJ, Kumar, S, Mague, SD, Hulbert, SW, Dutta, N, Hayrapetyan, V, Yu, C, Gaidis, E, Zhao, S, Ding, J-D, Xu, Q, Chung, L, Rodriguiz, RM, Wang, F, Weinberg, RJ, Wetsel, WC, Dzirasa, K, Yin, H, and Jiang, Y-H. "Altered mGluR5-Homer scaffolds and corticostriatal connectivity in a Shank3 complete knockout model of autism." Nature communications 7 (May 10, 2016): 11459-. Full Text Open Access Copy

Yin, HH. "The role of opponent basal ganglia outputs in behavior." Future Neurology 11.2 (May 2016): 149-169. Full Text

Rossi, MA, Li, HE, Lu, D, Kim, IH, Bartholomew, RA, Gaidis, E, Barter, JW, Kim, N, Cai, MT, Soderling, SH, and Yin, HH. "A GABAergic nigrotectal pathway for coordination of drinking behavior." Nature Neuroscience 19.5 (May 2016): 742-748. Full Text


Yin, HH. "Restoring purpose in behavior." Computational and Robotic Models of the Hierarchical Organization of Behavior. January 1, 2013. 319-347. Full Text

Yin, HH, and Knowlton, BJ. "Addiction and learning in the brain." Handbook of Implicit Cognition and Addiction. January 1, 2005. 167-184. Full Text