Contact information


886-2-33664063 ;886-2-2366-5572

FAX: 886-2-23635038

(1)   Graduate Institute of Biochemical Sciences
College of Life Science
National Taiwan University
No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road,
Taipei 10617, Taiwan (R.O.C)
(2)   Graduate Institute of Biochemical Sciences
College of Life Science
National Taiwan University
P. O. Box 23-106, Taipei 106, Taiwan (R.O.C)



2003 Ph.D., Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.
1994 B.S., Biology, Tung-Hai University

Professional experience

2003-2008 Post-doctoral fellow, Embryology Dept., Carnegie Inst. for Science.
1994-1996 Research assistant, Inst. of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica.

Research interest


 The development of specialized and properly wired neuronal networks is crucial for the function of nervous system. Abnormal neuronal specification and wiring lead to neurological disorders or lethality. Using diencephalic habenula nuclei (HA) and their connections to the interpeduncular nucleus (IPN) as a model (Figure 1), I have studied how HA are generated and how habenular axons recognize their targets during zebrafish embryonic development. Utilizing different approaches such as data mining, molecular manipulation and laser ablation, I found that Neuropilin 1a (Nrp1a) positive habenular neurons extend their axons onto the dorsal IPN by responding to attractive guidance cues Semaphorin 3D (Sema3D) (Figure 2). Utilizing chemical mutagenesis and in situ hybridization screen, I found that the novel Golgi protein Wntless (Wls) plays a critical role during habenula neurogenesis, presumably by controlling the expression of proneural gene neurogenin 1 (ngn1) (Figure 3).

Currently I am investigating the mechanisms of how HA axons correctly navigate to their targets, how Wls influence HA neurogenesis, and how different habenular neurons adopt their individual identities during the generation of HA-IPN circuit. Understand the factors and mechanisms that control the development of HA-IPN circuit in zebrafish will quickly advance our knowledge of this important neural circuit in all vertebrates and may shed light on human conditions involving altered neuronal generation and axonal connectivity.



2015 Kuan, Y.S., Roberson, S., Akitake, C.M., Fortuno, L., Gamse, J.T., Moens, C.B., and Halpern, M.E. (2015). Distinct requirement for Wntless in habenular development. Dev. Biol. (in press)
2015 Wu, B.T., Wen, S.H., Hwang, S.P., Huang, C.J. and Kuan, Y.S.(corresponding author). Control of Wnt5b secretion by Wntless modulates chondrogenic cell proliferation through fine-tuning fgf3 expression. (2015). J. Cell Sci. 128:2328-2339.
2014 Lu, C.H., Lin, K.H., Hsu, Y.Y., Tsen, K.T. and Kuan, Y.S. (co-corresponding author). Inhibition of Escherichia coli respiratory enzymes by short visible femtosecond laser irradiation. (2014). J. Phys D-Apply Phys. 47(31):315402.
2013 Liao, W.L., Cheng, C.H., Hung, K.S., Chiu, W.T., Chen, G.D., Hwang, P.P., Hwang, S.P.L., Kuan, Y.S. (co-corresponding author), and Huang, C.J. (2013). Protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type O (Ptpro) regulates cerebellar formation during zebrafish development through modulating Fgf signaling. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 70:2367-2381.
2010 Kuan, Y.S. , Gamse, J.T., Fortuno, L., Wolf-Saxon, E., Donn, T., Wu, B.T., Moens C.B. and Halpern, M.E. (2010). Zebrafish Wntless mediates habenular neurogenesis. (In preparation)
2009 Kuan, Y.S., Brewer-Jensen, P., Bai, WL., Hunter, C., Wilson, CB., Bass, S., Abernethy, J., Wing, J. S. and Searles, L. L. (2009) Drosophila suppressor of sable protein [Su(s)] promotes degradation of aberrant and transposon-derived RNAs. Mol Cell Biol. 29(20): 5590-5603.
2007 Kuan, Y.S. , Gamse, J.T., Schreiber, A.M. and Halpern, M.E. (2007) Selective asymmetry in a conserved forebrain to midbrain projection. J Exp Zool Mol Dev Evol. 308B(5):669-678.
2007 Kuan, Y.S., Yu, H.H., Moens, C.B. and Halpern, M.E. (2007) Neuropilin asymmetry mediates a left‑right difference in habenular connectivity. Development. 134(5):857-65.
2005 Gamse, J.T., Kuan, Y.S. (co-first author), Macurak, M., Thisse, C., Thisse, B., Brösamle, C., and Halpern, M.E. (2005) Directional asymmetry of the zebrafish epithalamus guides dorsoventral innervation of the midbrain target. Development. 132(21):4869-4881.
2004 Kuan, Y.S.,  Brewer-Jensen, P. and Searles. L.L. (2004) Suppressor of sable, a Putative RNA-Processing Protein, Functions at the Level of Transcription. Mol Cell Biol. 24(9): 3734-3746.
1996 Lomasney J.W., Cheng H.F., Wang, L.P., Kuan, Y.S., Liu S.M., Fesik S.W. and King K. (1996) Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-Bisphosphate Binding to the Pleckstrin Homology Domain of Phospholipase Cd1 Enhances Enzyme Activity. J. Biol. Chem. 271(41): 25316-25326.
1996 Wang, L.P., Lim C., Kuan, Y.S., Chen C.L., Chen H.F. and King K. (1996) Positive Charge at Position 549 Is Essential for Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-Bisphosphate-hydrolyzing but Not  Phospahtidylinositol-hydrolyzing Activities of Human Phospholipase Cd1. J. Biol. Chem. 271(40): 24505-24516.