Christina K. Kim, Ph.D.

Tina Kim

Position Title
Assistant Professor of Neurology

  • Center for Neuroscience

Functional and biochemical mapping of neural circuits regulating motivation

Research Summary

Our lab develops molecular and optical approaches to study the function and organization of individual neurons within the brain. Neural circuits can be described by their wiring (inputs/outputs), function (spiking activity), and molecular makeup (gene expression and protein localization). Each of these components is critical for enabling the brain to function as a regulator of behavior. While emerging technologies have allowed us to interrogate these components individually at great depth, a major challenge remains to bridge all three types of information on a cellular level. Using synthetic biology, two-photon microscopy, and animal behavior, we aim to deconstruct the building blocks of the neural circuits required to direct animal behavior. We are particularly interested in how long-range prefrontal cortex projection neurons form synapses with distinct cell-types in deep brain nuclei to govern motivated behaviors.

Select Publications

  • Kim CK*, Sanchez MI*, Hoerbelt P, Fenno LE, Malenka RC, Deisseroth K, & Ting AY. A molecular calcium integrator reveals a striatal cell-type driving aversion Cell 183, 2003-2019.e16 (2020).
  • Kim CK, Cho KF, Kim MW, & Ting AY. Luciferase-LOV BRET enables versatile and specific transcriptional readout of cellular protein-protein interactions. eLife 8, doi:10.7554/eLife.43826 (2019).
  • Jennings JH*, Kim CK*, Marshel JH*, Raffiee M, Ye L, Quirin S, Ramakrishnan C, & Deisseroth K. Interacting neural ensembles in orbitofrontal cortex for social and feeding behaviour. Nature 565, 645-649 (2019).
  • Kim CK*, Ye L*, Jennings JH, Pichamoorthy N, Tang DD, Wang A-C, Ramakrishnan C, & Deisseroth K. Molecular and circuit-dynamical identification of top-down neural mechanisms for restraint of reward-seeking. Cell 170, 1013-1027 (2017).
  • Beier KT, Kim CK, Hoerbelt P, Hung LW, Heifets BD, DeLoach KE, Mosca TJ, Neuner S, Deisseroth K, Luo L, & Malenka RC. Rabies screen reveals GPe control of cocaine-triggered plasticity. Nature 549, 345-350 (2017).
  • Selimbeyoglu A, Kim CK, Inoue M, Lee SY, Hong ASO, Ramakrishnan C, Fenno LE, Davidson TJ, Wright M, & Deisseroth K. Modulation of prefrontal cortex excitation/inhibition balance rescues social behavior in CNTNAP2-deficient mice. Science translational medicine 9, eaah6733 (2017).
  • Kim CK*, Yang SJ*, Pichamoorthy N, Young NP, Kauvar I, Jennings JH, Lerner TN, Berndt A, Lee SY, Ramakrishnan C, Davidson TJ, Inoue M, Bito H, & Deisseroth K. Simultaneous fast measurement of circuit dynamics at multiple sites across the mammalian brain. Nature Methods 13, 325-328 (2016).
  • Rajasethupathy P*, Sankaran S*, Marshel JH*, Kim CK, Berndt A, Lee SY, Jaffe A, Liston C, & Deisseroth K. Projections from neocortex mediate top-down control of memory retrieval. Nature 526, 653-659 (2015).