University of Toronto

Departments of Psychology and Zoology and Program in Neuroscience

Haoran Wang

I am a landed immigrant in Canada since 2001 working with Dr. Yeomans. I did my MD in Hebei Medical University, China, and Ph.D., and Doctoral Degree in Medical Sciences in Tottori University, Japan. I received two year’s postdoctoral training (JSPS, Japan Society For the Promotion of Science) in molecular and cellular biology, and was appointed assistant professor in Biomedical Sciences at Tottori University between 1999-2000, and then took my associate professorship in the Neuroscience Research Institute of Peking University (Beijing, China)  between 2000-2002.


I spend much of my time in the lab studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms of reward, drug addiction and schizophrenia that are relevant to dopamine and cholinergic systems.  I manage Dr. Yeomans’ research students and projects in these areas. Recently, we put forward the “ACh-Dopamine (M5) Hypothesis of Schizophrenia”  (Wang et al., NPP 2004).



Research Scientist, Department of Psychology, 100 St. George St. Toronto, Canada, M5S 3G3, , 418-978-3402 (Lab & Office)


RESEARCH INTERESTS: Reward / drug addiction / addiction memory / schizophrenia / human genome and their applications for neuroscience and psychiatry.



Neurobiology, Biopsychology, Psychiatry, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Medical Zoology, Evolution



1. Creating M5 transgenic mice and testing the effects of M5 over-expression in reward, drug addiction, learning and memory. We will test whether these mice are more susceptible to drugs of abuse, and animal models of schizophrenia.

2. Creating M5 and D2, M5 and alpha-7 nicotine receptor, and M1 and M5 KO mice to study the interaction of these important genes in rewards, drug addiction, learning and memory. This will help address many interesting questions.

3. Rescue of genes such as M5, D2, and CK-1e in knockout mice and mutant hamsters to study where and how these genes affect rewards, drug addiction and circadian rhythms.



1992-1997, Japan Culture, Science and Technology Ministry Scholarship

1997-1999, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

2000-2003, Special Foundation for Intelligent Professionals, Chinese Society for Medical Science; 2002, China National Natural Science Foundation

2004-2009, Canada Institutes of Health Research (with Prof. John Yeomans, PI).



American Association for the Advancement of Science (1994-  )

Society for Neuroscience (2002-  )

Canadian Society for Neuroscience (2004-   )

Japan Society for Molecular Biology (1997-  )

Grant Reviewer for China National Natural Science Foundation (2003-  )




Wang H, Ng K, Hayes D, Gao X, Forster G, Blaha C and Yeomans J. Reduced amphetamine-induced locomotion and improved latent inhibition in mice mutant for the M5 muscarinic receptor gene found in the human 15q schizophrenia region. Neuropsychopharmacology 2004 (in press, E-publication date: 05/10/04)


De Luca V., Wang H., Squassina A., Wong GWH., Yeomans J., Kennedy JL. Linkage of m5 muscarinic and α7 nicotinic receptor genes on 15q13 to schizophrenia. Neuropsychobiology 2004 (in press)


Gao X, Wang H, and Sairenji T. Inhibition of Epstein-Barr virus reactivation by short interfering RNAs targeting to c-myc or p38 in EBV-positive epithelial cells. Journal of Virology 2004 (in press)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      


Wang H., Gao X.. Zhang K., and J-S Han. Current status in drug addiction and addiction memory research. Progress in Physiological Science 2003; 34: 202-206. (Review)


Wang H., Li L., and Gao X. Advances of DNA chips and proteomic approaches for neurosciences. Progress in Physiological Science 2003; 34: 121–126. (Review)


Wang H., Gao X, Fukumoto S, Tademoto S., Sato K., and Hirai K. Differential expression and regulation of chemokine JE, KC, and IP-10 gene in hepatocyes. Journal of Cellular Physiology (USA) 1999; 181: 361-370.


Hirai K., Wang H., Fukumoto S., Tademoto S., and Miura K. Role of the growth hormone-like factor (plerocercoid growth factor) produced by plerocercoid of S. erinaceieuropaei in the host-parasite relationship. Journal of Yonago Medical Association 1999; 50:131-142.


Wang H, Gao X, Fukumoto S, Tademoto S., Sato K., and Hirai K. Post-isolation iNOS gene expression due to collagenase buffer perfusion and characterization of the gene regulation in hepatocytes. Journal of Biochemistry 1998; 124: 892-899.


Wang H., Tanihata T., Fukumoto S., Hirai H. Excretory/secretory products of plerocercoids of Spirometra erinaceiiuropaei induce the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase mRNA in the murine hepatocytes. International Journal for Parasitology 1997; 27: 367-375.


Kitamura Y, Tanigawa T, Wang HR, et al. Cell growth and differentiation of a novel mouse Ito (fat-storing) cell line transformed by a temperature-sensitive mutant of simian virus 40. Hepatology 1997; 26:323-329.


Wang H., Tanihata T., Fukumoto S., Hirai K., and Phares CK. Immunohistochemical localization of a 27 KDa protein in the plerocercoids of Spirometra erinacei. Japanese Journal of Parasitology (Parasitological International) 1995; 44:6-11.

Stephan Steidl


Currently my research interests center around the pharmacology and genetics of brain reward systems.  I am particularly interested in how the cholinergic system controls brain dopamine systems and the role that different types of muscarinic cholinergic receptors play in these processes.  I am investigating the role of receptor subtypes using pharmacology, gene electroporation, and knock-out mice combined with a number of behavioral paradigms including brain-stimulation reward and conditioned place preference learning.

I am also interested in the role that midbrain cholinergic nuclei (pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus and laterodorsal tegmental nucleus) play in organizing approach and withdrawal behaviors.  Cholinergic neurons of these nuclei have both ascending projections that innervate dopamine neurons and descending projections into the brainstem that control defensive startle responses and so are likely important in inhibiting defensive withdrawal responses when the organism is orienting toward/approaching potentially rewarding stimuli in its environment. 



Steidl, S., Faerman, P., Li, L., & Yeomans, J.S. (2004).  Kynurenate in the pontine reticular formation inhibits acoustic and trigeminal nucleus-evoked startle, but not vestibular nucleus-evoked startle.  Neuroscience, 126: 127-136.


Steidl, S., Rose, J.K., & Rankin, C.H. (2003). Stages of memory in the nematode

Caenorhabditis elegans.  Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews, 2: 3-14.


Steidl, S., and Rankin, C.H. (2002).  C.elegans as a model system for the study of learning and memory.  Macmillan Encyclopedia of Learning and Memory (in press).


Steidl, S., Li, L., and Yeomans, J.S. (2001). Conditioned brain-stimulation reward

attenuates the acoustic startle reflex in rats.  Behavioral Neuroscience, 115: 710-717.


Li, L, Steidl, S., and Yeomans, J.S. (2001).  Contributions of the vestibular nucleus and vestibulospinal tract to the startle reflex. Neuroscience, 106: 811-821.