After receiving B.S. and M.S. in Psychology from Peking University in China, Hu Dan came to the U.S. to experience the “front line” research of brain function. Years of work at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and the University of Texas at Austin not only gave her a PhD degree, but also left her with a big decision of staying in research (of brain function) camp. It was the postdoc experience from Dr. Ann Graybiel lab in MIT and from Dr. Judith Walters lab in NINDS settled her interests in studying the basal ganglia, a big subcortical brain structure related to cognitive motor function, procedure learning, several neurological diseases and more.
Since re-joining the Graybiel lab in 2004 as a research scientist, she has been involved in many research projects attempting to understand striatal neural activity pattern and the role of dopamine, accomplished while rats and mice acquired different learning tasks. Besides research life, she enjoys interacting with research fellows of the lab from all over the world and learning the culture of their home countries, and hopes that one day she will visit each of the countries her colleagues came from.