Wei Shen    Assistant Professor, PI
Institute School of Life Science and Technology
Research Area Neural Mechanism under innate behaviors
Contact Info. shenwei@@shanghaitech.edu.cn
Dr. Shen obtained his bachelor’s degree in biology from Tsinghua University in 2007 (Mentor, Dr. Zihe Rao) and then he pursued his Ph.D in behavioral neuroscience at Johns Hopkins Medical Institution (Mentor, Dr. Craig Montell) where he used fruit fly to understand the mechanism for thermosensation. Soon after he finished his Ph.D in 2013, he went to Rockefeller University (Mentor, Dr. Jeff Friedman) as a postdoctoral associate to learn mammalian genetics and study obesity related research. In 2014, he joined School of Life Science and Technology in Shanghaitech University as an assistant professor (Tenure-track), PI, focusing on study of neural mechanism for thermoregulation and feeding behaviors, and their link to diseases.
  Research Interests  
Thermal homeostasis is the ability of an organism, including most mammals to keep its body temperature within a narrow boundary, even under thermal challenge or other stimuli. Thermal homeostasis is necessary for other physiological activities to take place. Deviations in cellular temperature alter a variety of molecular properties, including enzymatic efficiency, diffusion rate and membrane fluidity, which reduce critical cellular functions, including energy availability and ionic fluxes. Misregulation of body temperature, such as fever and hypothermia, are commonly seen in patients. Furthermore, thermoregulation is tightly connected to energy expenditure as 50% of fuel is spent to maintain body temperature at rest.
Overweight and obesity is one of the five major death-threatening health risks world-wide. Due to easy access to high-energy content food and lack of excise, more and more people are becoming obese. In China, there are more than 100 million people who are negatively affected by obesity and obesity associated problems. Obesity can be largely attributed to unbalanced eating and energy expenditure: the energy intake is more than the spent each day. To better understand obesity development, it is necessary for us to understand the neuronal control of feeding behaviors.
Thus, Dr. Shen’s group is using techniques including optogenetics, fiber photometry and grin-lens-based microendoscopic calcium imaging, ribosomal profiling and mRNA sequencing to delineate the mechanism for 1) thermoregulation and its related disorders; 2) the interplay between thermoregulation and energy expenditure; 3) feeding behaviors and their roles in weight control; 4) central mechanism for regulation of blood sugar levels. Dr. Shen welcomes highly motivated technician or postdoctoral applicants with relevant background to join the team.
  Selected Publications  
1.Zhao, Z., Yang, W., Gao, C., Fu, X., Zhang, W., Zhou, Q., Chen, W., Ni, X., Lin, J., Yang, J., Xu, X., Shen, W.L.* (2017) Hypothalamic circuit that controls body temperature. Proc Natl Acad Sci. In press. (*, corresponding author)

2. Luo, J., Shen, W.L., & Montell, C. (2017) TRPA1 mediates sensation of the rate of temperature change in Drosophila larvae. Nat Neurosci 20(1), 34-41.

3. Zhang, Y., Raghuwanshi, R.P., Shen, W.L., and Montell, C. (2013). Food experience-induced taste desensitization modulated by the Drosophila TRPL channel. Nat Neurosci, 16, 1468-1476.

4. Shen, W.L., Kwon, Y., Adegbola, A.A., Luo, J., Chess, A., and Montell, C. (2011). Function of rhodopsin in temperature discrimination in Drosophila. Science 331, 1333-1336.

5. Kwon, Y.*, Shen, W.L.*, Shim, H.S., and Montell, C. (2010). Fine thermotactic discrimination between the optimal and slightly cooler temperatures via a TRPV channel in chordotonal neurons. J Neurosci 30, 10465-10471. (*, equally contributed)

6. Xue, X., Yu, H., Yang, H., Xue, F., Wu, Z., Shen, W., Li, J., Zhou, Z., Ding, Y., Zhao, Q., et al. (2008). Structures of two coronavirus main proteases: implications for substrate binding and antiviral drug design. J Virol 82, 2515-2527.

7. Xue, X., Yang, H., Shen, W., Zhao, Q., Li, J., Yang, K., Chen, C., Jin, Y., Bartlam, M., and Rao, Z. (2007). Production of authentic SARS-CoV M(pro) with enhanced activity: application as a novel tag-cleavage endopeptidase for protein overproduction. J Mol Biol 366, 965-975.

8. Li, J.*, Shen, W.*, Liao, M., and Bartlam, M. (2007). Preliminary crystallographic analysis of avian infectious bronchitis virus main protease. Acta crystallographica Section F, Structural biology and crystallization communications 63, 24-26. (*, equally contributed)