Yishi Jin is a molecular neuroscientist recognized for her work on synaptogenesis and axon regeneration. She is known particularly for her imaginative and comprehensive genetic approaches to discover key molecules and elucidate fundamental mechanisms. Jin was born in Tianjin, China. She graduated with a Bachelors degree in Cell Biology from Peking University. She came to USA to pursue graduate studies through the Chinese-United States Biochemistry Examination Association (CUSBEA) and received her PhD in Molecular Biology at the University of California Berkeley in 1991. She conducted her postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as a Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow. She began her faculty position in 1996 at the University of California Santa Cruz, and is now a Distinguished Professor at the University of California San Diego. She was an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and has received an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow award, an NSF Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and a Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award. She is a member of the American Academy Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Society of Cell Biology and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences.

Research Interests

Yishi Jin's laboratory is interested in the molecular genetic mechanisms in synapse development and function, as well as the mechanisms protecting and maintaining the mature nervous system. Their work is rooted in forward genetic screening approaches in C. elegans. They develop and integrate cutting-edge technologies to rigorously investigate the cellular and molecular signaling pathways, many of which are conserved from C. elegans to mammals. For example, they developed fluorescent reporters for in vivo visualization of synaptic structures and conducted genetic screens that led to the discovery of the core factors in the assembly of the presynaptic active zone. They also provided the first evidence that C. elegans motor circuit synaptic remodeling is under transcriptional regulation and involves multiple dynamic cellular processes. In recent years, they developed laser axotomy technology and established axon regeneration research in C. elegans. Their discovery of the C. elegans DLK-1 kinase pathway in axon regeneration has led to subsequent studies on its homologs in other species, expanding our understanding of this family of kinases in neuronal stress, regeneration and degeneration. They continue to explore fundamental biological questions of broad interest to our understanding of brain function and health.

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Primary Section

Section 24: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Secondary Section

Section 26: Genetics