Photo of Hongyu Sun

Hongyu Sun

Assistant Professor, Canada Research Chair in Developmental Neuroscience

Phone:613-520-2600 x 1921
Office:5311 Health Sciences Building

Areas of Specialization / Field Affiliations

  • Early-life epilepsy, critical period of brain development, learning, memory and synaptic plasticity.

Eligible to supervise at the undergraduate and graduate level.

The Sun lab is looking for undergraduate students and graduate students at both the Masters and Ph.D. level. For more information, please contact me directly at

Current research in the Sun Lab:

The critical period of brain development in early childhood is a period for highest level of synaptic plasticity and synaptogenesis, and it is a time where neuronal circuits are heavily shaped by experience. Our research focuses on understanding how early-life experiences affect brain development and cause long-term psychiatric and neurological consequences. We use a combination of electrophysiological, behavioral, neuroimaging, modeling, and molecular biology techniques to address these questions.

  • Predominant focus is on early-life epilepsy. We are working to understand whether a selective neuronal ensemble mediates the pathophysiology of early life epilepsy and discover novel molecular signaling pathways.
  • Interaction between early-life stress and brain development: We are interested in examining how early-life stress during the critical period reshapes the development of glutamatergic synapses and causes long-term cognitive deficits.

Selected publications:

  • Sun H, Juul H, Jensen FE. (2016) Models of hypoxia and ischemia-induced seizures. Journal of Neuroscience Method, 15;260:252-60.
  • Lippman-Bell JJ*, Zhou C*, Sun H, Feske JS, Jensen FE. (2016) Neonatal seizures regulate GluA2 mediated calcium-permeability and attenuate long-term depression in CA1 pyramidal neurons. Mol Cell Neurosci. 10;76:11-20.
  • Sun H and Jensen FE. (2016) Chapter 48: Modeling hypoxia-induced seizures and hypoxic encephalopathy in developing brain. Models of Seizures and Epilepsy 2nd, Elsevier. Edited by Asla Pitkänen, Philip A. Schwartzkroin and Solomon L. Moshé.
  • Zhou C*, Sun H*, Klein PM, Jensen FE. (2015) Neonatal seizures alter NMDAR-mediated EPSC properties in hippocampal CA1 neurons. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 9:362. doi:10.3389/fncel.2015.00362. (*equal contribution.)
  • Sengupta S*, Weeraratne SD*, Sun H, Rallapalli S, Phallen J, Teider N, Pierre-Francois J, Amani V, Tang Y, Nguyen B, Yu F, Schubert S, Mathios D, Lechpammer M, Kosares B, Tran P, Cook JM, Lim M, Pomeroy SL, Jensen FE, Cho YJ. (2014) Chemical synthetic lethality via a5-GABAA receptor activation in MYC-amplified medulloblastomas. Acta Neuropathol, 127(4): 593-603. (* equal contribution).
  • Sun H, Kosaras B, Klein PM, Jensen FE. (2013). Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 activation negatively regulates Polo-like kinase 2-mediated homeostatic compensation following neonatal seizures. PNAS, 110(13): 5199-204.
  • Cleary R, Sun H, Huynh T, Manning SM, Li Y, Rotenberg A, Talos DM, Jackson M, Rakhade SN, Berry G, Jensen FE. (2013) Synergistic anticonvulsant efficacy of combination phenobarbital and NKCC1 inhibitor bumetanide treatment in a rat model of neonatal seizures. PLoS ONE, 10.1371/journal.pone.0057148.
  • Rakhade SN, Fitzgerald EF, Klein PM, Zhou C, Sun H, Huganir RL, Jensen FE. (2012) Glutamate receptor 1 phosphorylation at Serine 831 and 845 modulates seizure susceptibility and hippocampal hyperexcitability following early life seizures. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(49): 17800-17812.
  • Talos DM*, Sun H*, Zhou X*, Fitzgerald E, Jackson M, Lan V, Joseph A, Jensen FE. (2012) Inhibition of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTORC1) pathway prevents later life epilepsy and autism-like behavior following early life seizures. PLoS ONE, 7(5): e35885. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035885. (*equal contribution.)
  • Talos DM, Sun H, Kosaras B, Joseph A, Folkerth RD, Poduri A, Madsen JR, Black PM, Jensen FE. (2012) Altered inhibition in Tuberous Sclerosis and Type IIb cortical dysplasia. Ann Neurol, 71(4): 539-551.
  • Zhou C*, Lippman Bell JJ*, Sun H*, Jensen FE. (2011) Hypoxia-Induced neonatal seizures diminish silent synapses and long-term potentiation in hippocampal CA1 neurons. Journal of Neuroscience, 31(50): 18211-18222. (*equal contribution.)
  • Sun H and Wu SH. (2009) The physiological role of pre- and postsynaptic GABAB receptors in membrane excitability and synaptic transmission of neurons in the rat’s dorsal cortex of the inferior colliculus. Neuroscience, 160(1): 198-211.
  • Sun H and Wu SH. (2008) Physiological characteristics of postinhibitory rebound depolarization in neurons of the rat’s dorsal cortex of the inferior colliculus studied in vitro. Brain Research, 1226: 70-81.
  • Sun H and Wu SH. (2008) Modification of membrane excitability of neurons in the rat’s dorsal cortex of the inferior colliculus by preceding hyperpolarization. Neuroscience, 154: 257-272.
  • Sun H, Ma CL, Kelly JB and Wu SH. (2006) GABAB receptor-mediated presynaptic inhibition of glutamatergic transmission in the inferior colliculus. Neurosci letter, 399(1-2): 151-156.