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



  1. Y Chen, L Guo, S Yu (2023) Emergence of Symbols in Neural Networks for Semantic Understanding and Communication. arXiv preprint arXiv:2304.06377
  2. Y Zhang, H Zhu, S Yu (2023) Adaptive Data Augmentation for Contrastive Learning. IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP)
  3. F Qin, D Xu, D Zhang, W Pei, X Han, S Yu (2023) Automated Hooking of Biomedical Microelectrode Guided by Intelligent Microscopic Vision. IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics. DOI: 10.1109/TMECH.2023.3248112
  4. Zhu H, Chen Y, Hu G, Yu S (2023) Contrastive Learning via Local Activity. Electronics. 12(1):147.
  5. H Zhu, X Li, X Zhao, Y Cao, S Yu (2023) TQ-Net: Mixed Contrastive Representation Learning For Heterogeneous Test Questions. AAAI Workshops
  6. Y Cui, H Huang, J Gao, T Jiang, C Zhang, S Yu (2023) Mapping blood traits to structural organization of the brain in rhesus monkeys. Cerebral Cortex 33 (2):247-257
  7. H Zhu, Guyue Hu, Yang Chen, S Yu (2023) Information-density Masking Strategy for Mask Image Modelling. IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo (ICME)
  8. ZP Zhao, C Nie, CT Jiang, SH Cao, KX Tian, S Yu, JW Gu (2023) Modulating Brain Activity with Invasive Brain–Computer Interface: A Narrative Review. Brain Sciences 13 (1):134
  9. ZX Zhang, B Luo, J Tang, S Yu, A Hussain (2022) Editorial for Special Issue on Brain-inspired Machine Learning. Machine Intelligence Research 19 (5):347-349
  10. W Ren, P Wei, S Yu#, YQ Zhang# (2022) Left-right asymmetry and attractor-like dynamics of dog’s tail wagging during dog-human interactions. iScience 25 (8):104747
  11. H Zhu, S Yu (2022) Retaining Diverse Information in Contrastive Learning Through Multiple Projectors. IEEE Signal Processing Letters 29:1789-1793
  12. B Cui, G Hu, S Yu (2022) RT-Net: replay-and-transfer network for class incremental object detection. Applied Intelligence,
  13. K Li, J Wan, S Yu (2022) CKDF: Cascaded knowledge distillation framework for robust incremental learning. IEEE Transactions on Image Processing 31:3825-3837
  14. B Cui, H Qu, X Huang, S Yu (2022) Balanced Ranking and Sorting for Class Incremental Object Detection. IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP)
  15. MS Liu, JQ Gao, GY Hu, GF Hao, TZ Jiang, C Zhang, S Yu (2022) MonkeyTrail: A scalable video-based method for tracking macaque movement trajectory in daily living cages. Zoological Research 43 (3):343
  16. J Li, D Cao, V Dimakopoulos, W Shi, S Yu, et al. Anterior–posterior hippocampal dynamics support working memory processing. Journal of Neuroscience 42 (3):443-453
  17. Y Xin, T Bai, T Zhang, Y Chen, K Wang, S Yu#, N Liu#, Y Tian# (2022) Electroconvulsive therapy modulates critical brain dynamics in major depressive disorder patients. Brain Stimulation 15 (1):214-225
  18. J Hua, Z Yang, T Jiang, S Yu (2021) Pairwise interactions in gene expression determine a hierarchical transcriptional profile in the human brain. Science Bulletin 66 (14):1437-1447
  19. M Luo, S Yu (2021) Implementing Inductive Logic into Embedded Industrial Control System with Polynomial Ring on F2. IEEE 45th Annual Computers, Software, and Applications Conference (COMPSAC)
  20. H Zhu, S Yu (2021) Intra-class uncertainty loss function for classification. IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo (ICME)
  21. SR Miller, S Yu, S Pajevic, D Plenz (2021) Long-term stability of avalanche scaling and integrative network organization in prefrontal and premotor cortex. Network Neuroscience 5 (2):505-526
  22. B Cui, G Hu, S Yu (2021) Deepcollaboration: Collaborative generative and discriminative models for class incremental learning. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence 35 (2):1175-1183
  23. T Bellay, WL Shew, S Yu, JJ Falco-Walter, D Plenz (2021) Selective participation of single cortical neurons in neuronal avalanches. Frontiers in Neural Circuits 14, 620052
  24. W Niu, Y Jiang, X Zhang, T Jiang, Y Zhang, S Yu (2020) Changes of effective connectivity in the alpha band characterize differential processing of audiovisual information in cross-modal selective attention. Neuroscience bulletin 36:1009-1022
  25. D Wu, L Fan, M Song, H Wang, C Chu, S Yu, T Jiang (2020) Hierarchy of connectivity–function relationship of the human cortex revealed through predicting activity across functional domains. Cerebral Cortex 30 (8):4607-4616
  26. 陈阳,余山 (2020) 连续情境学习: 迈向高适应性通用智能的重要一步.人工智能, 47-53
  27. G Hu, B Cui, Y He, S Yu (2020) Progressive relation learning for group activity recognition. CVPR
  28. G Hu, B Cui, S Yu (2019) Joint learning in the spatio-temporal and frequency domains for skeleton-based action recognition. IEEE Transactions on Multimedia 22 (9): 2207-2220
  29. SR Miller, S Yu, D Plenz (2019) The scale-invariant, temporal profile of neuronal avalanches in relation to cortical γ–oscillations. Scientific reports 9 (1): 1-14
  30. G Zeng, Y Chen, B Cui, S Yu (2019) Continual learning of context-dependent processing in neural networks. Nature Machine Intelligence 1:364–372.
  31. 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, 118:140-147.
  32. 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
  33. 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, 412:190-206.
  34. 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.
  35. J Zhang, J Zhang, S Yu (2018) Hot Anchors: A Heuristic Anchors Sampling Method in RCNN-Based Object Detection. Sensors 18 (10), 3415.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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
  39. 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
  40. Yu S (2016) New challenge for bionics—brain-inspired computing. Zoological Research 37 (5): 261
  41. 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
  42. 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
  43. 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
  44. 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.
  45. 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
  46. 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
  47. 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
  48. 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
  49. Yu S, Nikolic D (2011) Quantum mechanics needs no consciousness. Annalen der Physik, 523(11): 931–938
  50. 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
  51. 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.
  52. Klaus A, Yu S, Plenz D (2011) Statistical analyses support power law distributions found in neuronal avalanches. PLoS ONE 6(5):e19779
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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
  56. Yu S, Huang D, Singer W, Nikolic D (2008) A small world of neuronal synchrony. Cerebral Cortex 18(12):2891-2901
  57. 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
  58. 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
  59. 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
  60. 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

* co-first author; # co-corresponding author


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