Phone number : 86-20-34204076

Fax : 86-20-34204079

Email : yao.chen@sjtu.edu.cn

Office address : 507A Wenxuan Bldg. (Minhang)


Dr. Yao Chen received his Ph.D. degree majored in biophysics from Institute of Biophysics, CAS in 2001. Then he worked at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and SUNY – College of Optometry in New York City for his post-doctoral training. He studied neuronal mechanism of visual attention by training monkeys doing attention tasks in different difficulties, and recording neuronal activity in visual cortex with chronically implanted micro-electrode array. His result was reported as cover story in Nature Neuroscience. In 2010, he became Research Professor in Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and was promoted to be a tenured associate professor since 2016 in School of Biomedical Engineering.

Since joined SJTU, he has established two independent research programs. One is on neural mechanisms of visual attention, investigating the modulation of microsaccades and spike count correlations by attention task difficulty. Another one is studying mechanisms of the electrical-evoked cortical response, the visuotopic correspondence of the optic nerve (ON) electrical stimulation, and the different surgical implantation approaches for visual prosthesis. His expertise has allowed him to bridge the gap between basic vision research and applied visual prosthesis research. His approach of combining intrinsic optical imaging and electrophysiological recording allows him to measure the properties of cortical response evoked by transcorneal electrical stimulation (TcES) that can contribute to comprehension of neurophysiological underpinnings underlying prosthetic vision. Until now, he has authored or co-authored more than 30 refereed journal articles, and 15 refereed conference proceeding papers. He has also successfully won multiple grants from National Science Foundation of China and Ministry of Science and Technology totaling about RMB 5,000,000.

Education background

1991-1996 Bachelor - College of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China

1997-2001 Ph.D. - Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

Work Experience

2001-2003, Postdoctoral Fellow, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA

2003-2009, Postdoctoral Fellow, State University of New York, New York, USA

Areas of Research Interests

Neural mechanism of attention, Neural modulation, Neural engineering 

Honors And Awards

LU YUEJIAO Best Teaching Award (2014), School of Biomedical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China

IBRO School Traineeship Award (2000), International Brain Research Organization (Asian-Pacific region), Hong Kong, China

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

Council Member of Chinese Society for Biophysics, (2016-present);


Anatomy & Physiology I – BI124 (Aut)

Visual Cognitive Neuroscience – X082017170208200M01 (Spr)

Research Projects

1. Neuronal mechanism of visual attention

2. Neural information processing in biomedical engineering, such as electrical stimulation

3. Neural modulation through invasive brain-machine interface

Selected Publications

1. Sun P, Li H, Lu Z, Su X, Ma Z, Chen J, Li L, Zhou C, Chen Y* and Chai XY*. Comparison of cortical responses to the activation of retina by visual stimulation and transcorneal electrical stimulation. Brain Stimulation. 2018:S1935861X1830072X. (*Co- corresponding Authors)

2. Li X*, Chen Y*, Lashgari R, Bereshpolova Y, Swadlow HA, Lee BB and Alonso J-M. Mixing of chromatic and luminance retinal signals in primate area V1. Cerebral Cortex. 2015; 25(7): 1920–1937. (*Co-first authors)

3. Lu YL, Yan Y, Chai XY, Ren QS, Chen Y* and Li LM*. Electrical stimulation with a penetrating optic nerve electrode array elicits visuotopic cortical responses in cats. Journal of Neural Engineering. 2013; 10(3): 036022. (*Co-corresponding Authors)

4. Lu YL, Cao PJ, Sun JJ, Wang J, Li LM, Ren QS, Chen Y* and Chai XY*. Using independent component analysis to remove artifacts in visual cortex responses elicited by electrical stimulation of the optic nerve. Journal of Neural Engineering. 2012; 9(2): 026002. (*Co-corresponding Authors)

5. Chen Y, Martinez-Conde S, Macknik SL, Bereshpolova Y, Swadlow HA and Alonso J-M. Task difficulty modulates the activity of specific neuronal populations in primary visual cortex. Nature Neuroscience. 2008; 11: 974–982.