Dr Jian Gan

The vision of our laboratory is to understand how neural circuits communicate and how that supports cognition in real-time at the level of synaptic transmission and population dynamics in a living brain during behaviour.

Dr Jian Gan

UK DRI Programme Leader (Fellow)

Chancellor's Building

49 Little France Crescent 

Edinburgh, EH16 4SB

Contact details

 Work: +44(0) 131 242 6251

 Email: jian.gan@ed.ac.uk

Personal profile

  • 2010, PhD,   University of Glasgow
  • 2006, MRes (Distinction), University of Glasgow

Dr Jian Gan is a cellular/systems neuroscientist. After obtaining his PhD from the University of Glasgow, he went on to work in the lab of Prof. Peter Jonas at the University of Freiburg, Germany and later Institute of Science and Technology Austria near Vienna, where he employed and optimised in vivo high-resolution patch-clamp recording technique to elucidate synaptic mechanism of hippocampal oscillations that are essential for spatial coding and memory consolidation in awake mice. After gaining further cognitive and behavioural neurobiology experience in the lab of Prof. Thomas Klausberger at the Medical University of Vienna, has established his own lab in the UK DRI at the University of Edinburgh.

Research theme


A central question of studying the central nervous system is how neural circuits communicate and how that supports cognition, the mental operations to obtain knowledge, thought, experience, senses, and complex behaviours. Presently the level of knowledge that neuroscientists possess about the underlying biological events that give rise to cognition is very limited. In addition, we are still essentially lacking detailed knowledge of root causes for many neurological conditions involving cognitive deficits such as dementia and mental disorders.

The vision of our laboratory is to understand how neural circuits communicate and how that supports cognition in real-time at the level of synaptic transmission and population dynamics in a living brain during behaviour. In addition, we will investigate how these functions go wrong in diseases, such as dementia with the aim to find new drug targets or treatment windows for these conditions.

To achieve this goal, our laboratory employs several state-of-the-art techniques in cognitive neurophysiology, including in vivo patch-clamp recording, high-density silicon probe recording, well-controlled behaviours in virtual reality and quantitative behaviour modelling, supplemented with optogenetic/chemogenetic intervention and morphological analysis.

Jian Gan

Team members


  • Blanca Diaz-Castro, Group Leader at the UK DRI, University of Edinburgh
  • Giles Hardingham, Professor at the UK DRI, University of Edinburgh
  • Hua Hu, Associate Professor at Laboratory of Synaptic Physiology, University of Oslo

Selected recent publications

Gan, J., Weng, S.-M., Pernía-Andrade, A.J., Csicsvari, J., Jonas, P. 2017  Phase-locked inhibition, but not excitation, underlies hippocampal ripple oscillations in awake mice in vivo. Neuron 93, 2, 308-314. (Recommended by Faculty of 1000)

Kowalski, J., Gan, J., Jonas. P., Pernía-Andrade, A.J. 2016  Intrinsic membrane properties determine hippocampal differential firing pattern in vivo in anesthetized rat. Hippocampus 26, 668-682.

Hu, H., Gan, J., Jonas, P. 2014 Fast-spiking, parvalbumin-expressing GABAergic Interneurons: From Cellular Design to Microcircuit Function. Science 345, 6196, 1255263.

Gan, J., Greenwood, S., Cobb, S.R., Bushell, T.J. 2011 Indirect Modulation of Neuronal Excitability and Synaptic Transmission in the Hippocampus by Activation of Proteinase-activated Receptor-2. British Journal of Pharmacology 163, 5, 984-994.

Guy, J., Gan, J., Selfridge, J., Cobb, S. R., Bird, A. 2007 Reversal of Neurological Defects in a Mouse Model of Rett Syndrome. Science  315, 5815, 1143-1147.


We welcome enthusiastic scientists to join us. We are also happy to sponsor anyone with a strong track record who would rather apply for his/her own fellowship/scholarship (see below list). 

External Postdoc Fellowships: e.g. EMBO Fellowships; Marie Curie Individual Fellowships; Newton International Fellowships.

PhD studentships are available for both UK/EU and overseas students through established programmes: e.g. Wellcome Trust ‘translational neuroscience’4-year PhD training programme, Edinburgh Global Research Scholarship, Principal's Career Development PhD Scholarships.

The application to these scholarships generally opens between Oct - Dec. 

Students who wish to undertake a PhD in our group are welcome to contact me.