Simon Chen


Simon Chen
Assistant Professor, Canada Research Chair Tier II

Room: 3224
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 2407



BSc, Cell Biology, University of British Columbia, 2007

PhD, Neuroscience, University of British Columbia, 2012

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Diego, Neuroscience, 2016

Research Interests:

One of the most important unresolved questions in neuroscience is how memories are encoded and stored in the brain. Motor learning differs from other forms of learning, in which repetitive training and practice is required in order to achieve highly skilled and reproducible movements. Our lab employs a novel forelimb lever-press task for head-fixed mice, permitting us to perform chronic structural and functional two-photon imaging in awake and behaving mice. We aim to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying learning-driven neural circuit modifications, with spatial precision and cell subtype-specificity, during the formation of new motor memories in the awake brain.

Selected Publications:

Chen, S.X., Kim, A.N., Peters, A.J., Komiyama, T. (2015) Subtype-specific       plasticity of inhibitory circuits in motor cortex during motor learning. Nature Neuroscience 18(8):1109-15

  • Highlighted by News and Views in Nature Neuroscience - Grillo, F.W., West, L., De Paola, V. (2015) Removing synaptic brakes on learning. Nature Neuroscience18(8):1162-64

Peters, A.J., Chen, S.X., Komiyama, T. (2014) Emergence of reproducible spatiotemporal activity during motor learning. Nature 510(7504):263-7  

Chen, S.X., Cherry, A., Tari, P.K., Podorgski, K., Kwong, KH, Haas, K. (2012). The transcription factor MEF2 directs developmental visually-driven functional and structural metaplasticity. Cell151(1), 41-55.

  • Highlighted by Preview in Cell – Della Santina, L., Wong, RO. (2015) A molecular link tethering neuronal response with the past. Cell 151(1):9-11.

Chen, S.X., Tari, P.K., She, K., and Haas, K. (2010). Neurexin-neuroligin cell adhesion complexes contribute to synaptotropic dendritogenesis via growth stabilization mechanisms in vivo. Neuron 67, 967-983.

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