Why do we need sleep? How are sleep states initiated, maintained, and ended? How does sleep impact normal brain functions? What roles does sleep play in neurological and psychiatric diseases? The goal of our research is to understand the circuit, cellular, and molecular mechanisms underlying sleep regulation in both normal and diseased brains.



In the Peng lab, we apply a multidisciplinary approach including electrophysiology, calcium imaging, optogenetics, chemogenetics, pharmacology, viral-based neural tracing, molecular biology, and mouse genetics to study the neurobiology of sleep. Currently, we aim to:

1)  Dissect brain circuits that control sleep states;

2)  Identify genes and signaling molecules that initiate and maintain sleep;

3) Examine how sleep and seep loss impact brain functions, such as learning and memory. 



Sleep problems are very common in patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders. In collaboration with other faculty members at Columbia University, we are interested in understanding the relationship between abnormal sleep and brain diseases. We mainly focus on epilepsy, including both absence seizures and convulsive seizures. We aim to identify circuit and molecular mechanisms that link sleep abnormalities and brain diseases. 


  • Neural circuits regulating sleep and wakefulness

  • Genetic and molecular regulation of sleep

  • Roles of sleep in sensory perception and cognitive behavior

  • Roles of sleep in neuropsychiatric disorders


July 26, 2020

Welcome !

Xinyue (Tracy) Chen, a graduate student in Columbia NBB program joined the lab.

November 09, 2018

Lab move

Officially move in our newly renovated space in HHSC

February 01, 2018

Weclome !

Sasa Teng and Fenghua Zhen joined the lab as postdocs. 

October 01, 2017

The Peng lab is open at CUMC

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