Shuai Liu

Principal Investigator
Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
School of Psychology and Cognitive Science
East China Normal University


Dr. Shuai Liu is a principal investigator at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University (ECNU). Prior to joining ECNU, Dr. Liu received his PhD from Fudan University and was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of British Columbia and Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary.

Dr. Liu’s research primarily focuses on how feeding peptides and diet modulate neuroplasticity in the central reward system. His work has demonstrated that insulin in the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) suppresses excitatory synaptic transmission and reduces food cue related behaviours. This effect is disrupted during pathological hyperinsulinemia and may lead to increased feeding. Even a short-term exposure to palatable foods can drive future feeding behaviour by “rewiring” mesolimbic dopamine neurons.

Research Interests:

Dr. Liu’s research goal is to address one of the most fundamental questions in neuroscience: how does the brain work for hedonic feeding. Using a combination of electrophysiology, immunochemistry, behavioral task approaches, the research is conducted in the following three directions:

  1. Feeding peptide effects on neuroplasticity in the reward system and hedonic feeding
  2. Dissection of neural circuits for motivation and decision-making in hedonic feeding
  3. Neural mechanisms underlying metabolic syndrome induced reward circuitry dysfunction