Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology

Jun-Hyeong Cho

Jun-Hyeong Cho
Office: (951) 827-2560
Fax: (951) 827-3087
Biological Sciences 1107
Office Hours: F, 3pm - 5pm
Email: juncho@ucr.edu

Jun-Hyeong Cho, MD PhD


Assistant Professor, UC Riverside, 2015-present
Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, 2012-2014
Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School, 2008-2012
Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, Ohio State University, 2008
M.D., Catholic University of Korea, School of Medicine, 1999

UCR profilehttps://profiles.ucr.edu/app/home/profile/juncho

: Encoding of associative fear memory in engram synapses

             In order to survive in a dynamic environment, animals develop fear responses to dangerous situations. The neural mechanism of learned fear has great survival value for animals, who must predict biologically relevant events from seemingly neutral cues. In order to develop adaptive fear responses, the brain must discriminate between different sensory cues or contexts and associates only relevant stimuli with aversive events. Dysregulation of this process leads to maladaptive overgeneralized fear in PTSD. Our long-term research goal is to discover the neural mechanisms of adaptive fear and anxiety, so that improved strategies can be developed to suppress maladaptive fear. 
       1In classical fear conditioning—an experimental model of fear learning—experimental subjects learn to associate an emotionally-neutral conditioned stimulus (CS, sensory cue or context) with an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US). A specific CS activates only a subset of neurons in the sensory cortex/thalamus and hippocampus, which convey CS information to the amygdala, integrating the information of the CS and US for fear memory formation. Our central hypothesis is that specific fear memory is encoded by selective long-term potentiation (LTP) in pathways conveying specific CS information to the amygdala. If such input-specific LTP underlies fear memory specificity, fear memory for the CS could be erased selectively by depotentiation, reversing the input-specific LTP. We are testing the hypothesis, using a combination of neural activity-dependent behavioral labeling, electrophysiological and optogenetic approaches in mouse models of fear conditioning. Our studies will elucidate fundamental principles of adaptive fear to the relevant stimulus and provide new insights into developing strategies to attenuate pathological fear memory without affecting adaptive fear memories in PTSD.

Media Coverage

          Memories of fear could be permanently erased, study showsThe GuardianAug 17, 2017
          Bad weekend? How injecting a virus into the brain could wipe your memory, The GuardianAug 21, 2017
          UC Riverside scientists erase fear in mice, hope to help humans one dayThe Press-Enterprise, Aug 17, 2017
          Study expands understanding of how the brain encodes fear memoryUCR Today, May 15, 2017


         Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography
Google Scholar

  • Shao Z, Noh H, Kim W-B, Ni P, Nguyen C, Cote SE, Noyes E, Zhao J, Parsons T, Park JM, Zheng K, Park J-J, Coyle JT, Weinberger DR, Straub RE, Berman KF, Apud J, Ongur D, Cohen BM, McPhie DL, Rapoport JL, Perlis RH, Lanz TA, Xi S, Yin C, Huang W, Hirayama T, Fukuda E, Yagi T, Ghosh S, Eggan KC, Kim H-Y, Eisenberg LM, Moghadam A,  Stanton P,  Cho J-H*, Chung S* (2019) Dysregulated protocadherin-pathway activity as an intrinsic defect in iPSC-derived cortical interneurons from patients with schizophrenia. Nature Neuroscience, 22:229-242 (Corresponding author[Article] 
  • Kim WB and Cho J-H (2017) Encoding of discriminative fear memory by input-specific LTP in the amygdala. Neuron, 95: 1129-1146 [Article] [Video Abstract] [Preview by Stephen Maren]
  • Kim WB and Cho J-H (2017) Synaptic targeting of double-projecting ventral CA1 hippocampal neurons to the medial prefrontal cortex and basal amygdala. Journal of Neuroscience, 37: 4868-4882 [Article] [This Week in the Journal]
  • Cunningham M*, Cho J-H*, Leung A, Savvidis G, Ahn S, Moon M, Lee PKJ, Han JJ, Azimi N, Kim K-S, Bolshakov VY, and Chung S (2014) hPSC-derived maturing GABAergic interneurons ameliorate seizures and abnormal behavior in epileptic mice. Cell Stem Cell, 15, 559-573 (* Co-first author) [Article]
  • Cho J-H, Deisseroth K, and Bolshakov VY (2013) Synaptic Encoding of Fear Extinction in mPFC-amygdala Circuits. Neuron, 80: 1491-1507 [Article]
  • Cho J-H, Zushida K, Shumyatsky GP, Carlezon WA, Meloni EG, and Bolshakov VY (2012)  PACAP induces postsynaptically-expressed potentiation in the intra-amygdala circuit. Journal of Neuroscience, 32: 14165-14177 [Article]
  • Cho J-H, Bayazitov IT, Meloni EG, Myers KM, Carlezon WA, Zakharenko SS, and Bolshakov VY (2012) Coactivation of thalamic and cortical pathways induces input timing-dependent plasticity in amygdala.  Nature Neuroscience, 15: 113-122 [Article]  
  • Cho J-H and Askwith CC (2008) Presynaptic release probability is increased in hippocampal neurons from ASIC1 knockout mice.  Journal of Neurophysiology, 99: 426-441 [Article] 
  • Cho J-H and Askwith CC (2007) Potentiation of acid-sensing ion channels by sulfhydryl compounds.  American Journal of Physiology Cell Physiology, 292: C2161-74 [Article]

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