Zheng Wu, PhD
Herbert Wu (Preferred Name)
img_Zheng Wu
Research Topics
Anatomy, Autism, Biomechanics/Bioengineering, Biomedical Sciences, Biophotonics, Biophysics, Brain, Brain Imaging, Cerebellum, Cerebral Cortex, Cognitive Neuroscience, Computational Neuroscience, Diversity, Electrophysiology, Endocrinology, Epigenetics, Epigenomics, Gene Expressions, Genomics, Hippocampus, Hormones, Image Analysis, Imaging, Mathematical and Computational Biology, Memory, Motor Control, Neural Networks, Neurobiology, Neuropeptides, Neuroscience, Prefrontal Cortex, Stem Cells, Stress, Systems Neuroscience, Theoretical Neuroscience, Two-Photon Imaging
Multi-Disciplinary Training Area
Development Regeneration and Stem Cells [DRS], Genetics and Genomic Sciences [GGS], Neuroscience [NEU]
Social Behavior
Innate social behaviors are thought to be orchestrated by hard-wired circuits and released by specific external stimuli. But these circuits are subject to flexible control, as an individual must update its behavior based on its own state and the actions of others in order to survive and reproduce. Using parenting as well as other innate social behaviors, we will investigate how these genetically defined neural circuits are modulated by the animal’s own long-term state and moment-by-moment action of others and how these modulations are disrupted in disease.
Social Cognition
Many of our most important decisions are made in the social context. The study of decision making has primarily examined decisions when individuals only need to consider their own preferences and perception of the world. Meanwhile, mechanistic insights into social behaviors predominantly arose from studies of innate reproductive behaviors such as aggression and parenting. Much is unknown about the more complex, cognitive forms of social interactions, such as trust, helping, and empathy, that are particularly impacted by autism. We are developing new paradigms to study these cognitive forms of social interactions. Please visit our lab website to know more and connect with us!
Flexible Decision Making
Our cognitive functions rest on a capacity for flexible, contextual decision making. In many brain disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, these capacities are disrupted. While many aspects of perception and action are known, the neural mechanisms that flexibly link the two remain unclear. To leverage the powerful genetics tools and disease models, we developed an odor-guided delayed match to sample (DMS) task in mice. We showed a surprising role of a premotor area in processing perceptual information and decision making. Our lab will take advantage of these findings to study the neural circuits and computations supporting cognitive flexibility.

PhD, Harvard University

Postdoctoral Fellow, Columbia University


Sloan Research Fellowship in Neuroscience


NIMH Biobehavioral Research Award for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS)


ISFS Fellow, Intersections Science Fellows Symposium


Junior Fellow, Simons Society of Fellows

Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device, biotechnology companies, and other outside entities to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their outside financial relationships.

Below are financial relationships with industry reported by Dr. Wu during 2023 and/or 2024. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.

Board Service

  • Giantbug Educational Foundation
  • Lezhong Xinzhi Education Consulting Co., Ltd.

Equity (Stock or stock options valued at greater than 5% ownership of a publicly traded company or equity of any value in a privately held company)

  • Lezhong Xinzhi Education Consulting Co., Ltd.


  • Lezhong Xinzhi Education Consulting Co., Ltd.

Mount Sinai's faculty policies relating to faculty collaboration with industry are posted on our website. Patients may wish to ask their physician about the activities they perform for companies.