Shan Yu, Ph.D

Brainnetome Center and National Laboratory of Pattern Recognition
Institute of Automation
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Beijing 100190, P. R. China

Research Areas

The fundamental challenge for systems neuroscience is to explain functions of the brain by studying neuronal activities. While a huge amount of knowledge has been accumulated regarding the behavior of single neurons, it is still far from clear how the brain achieves its remarkable feat as an organ of information processing, as well as how its functions are interrupted in various pathological conditions. To fill such an explanatory gap, we need to understand how numerous neurons, often with different response properties, can form an orchestrated network to perform computation, and how such computation is regulated according to the behavioral context. To develop such an intermediate-level description of neuronal information processing is my long-term goal. To this end, my research combine highly parallel electrophyiological recordings from macaque brain and advanced computational/theoretical approaches (e.g., network theory, information theory, statistical mechanics, etc) to investigate the structure and operation of neuronal networks, with focuses on understanding both how the brain works in normal conditions and the network mechanisms underlying major mental disorders.


2005    Ph. D in Biology    University of Science and Technology of China

2000     B.S. in Biology      University of Science and Technology of China


Work Experience
From 2014 Professor 
Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

2008 – 2014 Postdoctoral fellow 
National Institute of Mental Health, USA

2005 – 2008 Postdoctoral researcher 
Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, Germany



G Zeng, Y Chen,  B Cui, S Yu (2019) Continual learning of context-dependent processing in neural networks. Nature Machine Intelligence 1:364–372.

Zeng G, Huang X, Jiang T, Yu S (2019) Short-term synaptic plasticity expands the operational range of long-term synaptic changes in neural networks. Neural Networks, Epub ahead of print.

G Hu, B Cui, S Yu (2019) Skeleton-Based Action Recognition with Synchronous Local and Non-local Spatio-temporal Learning and Frequency Attention. IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo (ICME), 1216-1221

W Niu, X Huang, K Xu, T Jiang, S Yu (2019) Pairwise Interactions among Brain Regions Organize Large-Scale Functional Connectivity during Execution of Various Tasks. Neuroscience, Epub ahead of print.

G Hu, X Huang, T Jiang, S Yu (2019) Multi-Scale Expressions of One Optimal State Regulated by Dopamine in the Prefrontal Cortex. Neuroscience, Frontiers in physiology 10, 113.

J Zhang, J Zhang, S Yu (2018) Hot Anchors: A Heuristic Anchors Sampling Method in RCNN-Based Object Detection. Sensors 18 (10), 3415.

M Song, Y Yang, J He, Z Yang, S Yu, Q Xie, et al (2018) Prognostication of chronic disorders of consciousness using brain functional networks and clinical characteristics. Elife 7, e36173.

Z Wang, S Yu, Y Fu, T Tzvetanov, Y Zhou (2018) Aging potentiates lateral but not local inhibition of orientation processing in primary visual cortex. Frontiers in aging neuroscience 10, 14.

Huang X, Xu K, Chu C, Jiang T, Yu S (2017) Weak Higher-Order Interactions in Macroscopic Functional Networks of the Resting Brain. Journal of Neuroscience 37 (43), 10481-10497

Yu S*, Ribeiro TL*, Meisel C, Chou S, Mitz A, Saunders R, Plenz D (2017) Maintained avalanche dynamics during task-induced changes of neuronal activity in nonhuman primates. eLife 6:e27119

Yu S (2016) New challenge for bionics—brain-inspired computing. Zoological Research 37 (5): 261

Fan L, Li H, Yu S, Jiang T (2015) Human Brainnetome Atlas and Its Potential Applications in Brain-Inspired Computing. International Workshop on Brain-Inspired Computing, 1-14

Yu S*, Klaus K*, Yang H, Plenz D (2014) Scale-invariant neuronal avalanche dynamics and the cut-off in size distributions. PloS ONE 9 (6), e99761

Yu S, Yang H, Shriki O, Plenz D (2014) Critical exponents, universality class, and thermodynamic "temperature" for the brain. In Criticality in Neural Systems, edited by Plenz D and Nieber E. Wiley-VCH

Yu S*, Yang H*, Shriki O, Plenz D (2013) Universal organization of resting brain activity at the thermodynamic critical point. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 7:42.

Larremore D, Shew W, Yu S, Plenz D, Ott E, Sorrentino F, Restrepo J (2013) Inhibition guarantees ceaseless cortex network dynamics. preprint arXiv:1307.7658

Folias SE, Yu S, Snyder A, Nikolic D, Rubin JE (2013) Synchronisation hubs in the visual cortex may arise from strong rhythmic inhibition during gamma oscillations. European Journal of Neuroscience 38 (6), 2864-2883

Fu Y*, Yu S*, Ma Y, Wang Y, Zhou Y (2013) Functional degradation of the primary visual cortex during early senescence in rhesus monkeys. Cerebral Cortex 23(12): 2923-2931

Yu S, Yang H, Nakahara H, Santos, G.S, Nikolic D, Plenz D (2011) Higher-order interactions characterized in cortical activities. Journal of Neuroscience 31(48):17514-17526

Yu S, Nikolic D (2011) Quantum mechanics needs no consciousness. Annalen der Physik, 523(11): 931–938

Havenith MN, Yu S, Biederlack J, Chen N, Singer W, Nikolic D (2011) Synchrony makes neurons fire in sequence, and stimulus properties determine who is ahead. Journal of Neuroscience 31(23):8570-8584

Shew WL, Yang H, Yu S, Roy R, Plenz D (2011) Information capacity and transmission are maximized in balanced cortical networks with neuronal avalanches. Journal of Neuroscience 31(1):55-63.

Klaus A, Yu S, Plenz D (2011) Statistical analyses support power law distributions found in neuronal avalanches. PLoS ONE 6(5):e19779

Jurjut OF, Nikolic D, Singer W, Yu S, Havenith MN, Muresan RC (2011) Timescales of multineuronal activity patterns reflect temporal structure of visual stimuli. PLoS ONE 6(2):e16758.

Hahn G, Petermann T, Havenith MN, Yu S, Singer W, Plenz D, Nikolic D (2010) Neuronal avalanches in spontaneous activity in vivo. Journal of Neurophysiology 104(6):3312-22.

Havenith MN, Zemmar A, Yu S, Baudrexel SM, Singer W, Nikolic D (2009) Measuring sub-millisecond delays in spiking activity with millisecond time-bins. Neuroscience Letters 450:296-300

Yu S, Huang D, Singer W, Nikolic D (2008) A small world of neuronal synchrony. Cerebral Cortex 18(12):2891-2901

Yu S, Wang Y, Li X, Zhou Y, Leventhal AG (2006) Functional degradation of extrastriate visual cortex in senescent rhesus monkeys. Neuroscience 140(3):1023-1029

Yu S, Wang XS, Fu Y, Zhang J, Ma YY, Wang YC, Zhou YF (2005) Effects of age on latency and variability of visual response in monkeys. Chinese Science Bulletin 50(11):1163-1165

Liu N, Yu S, Zhou Y, Cai J, Ma Y (2005) Age-related effects of bromocriptine on sensory gating in rhesus monkeys. Neuroreport 16(6):603-606

Yu S*, Liu N*, Zeng T, Tian S, Chen N, Zhou Y, Ma Y (2004) Age-related effects of bilateral frontal eye fields lesions on rapid eye movements during REM sleep in rhesus monkeys. Neuroscience Letters 366(1):58-62

(* equal contribution)

Professional services

Review Editor for:
Frontiers in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Frontiers in Fractal Physiology

Reviewer for:
Entropy, Frontiers in Neuroinformatics, Journal of Complex System, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Theoretical Biology, The Neuroscientist, Physics Letters A, PLoS Computational Biology, Zoological Research