Rachel E. Kery

Image: Rachel KeryRachel Kery


B.A. Wellesley College 2012

Current Position:

6th Year MSTP

3rd Year Medical Student


Shaoyu Ge, PhD


Neurobiology & Behavior

Graduate Program:



Examining the output circuit of the zona incerta using a novel anterograde trans-synaptic tracer

The zona incerta is a brain region between thalamus and hypothalamus. Besides its potential importance in many brain behaviors, emerging evidence has shown that deep brain stimulation of the caudal zona incerta is superior to stimulating the subthalamic nucleus in treating patients with Parkinson’s Disease. In contrast to these behavioral or clinical roles, the network of the zona incerta remains poorly understood. We created a virally delivered genetically encoded anterograde trans-synaptic tracer capable of mapping the output network of this mysterious brain region. Using this method, we systematically analyze the synapse output of zona from anterior to posterior brain regions including spinal cord. Importantly, using a cre recombinase- dependent version of our tracing construct, we have mapped the output projections of three of the most common neural subtypes found in the zona: the somatostatin, parvalbumin, and nitric oxide cell populations. These mapping data for the first time provides us a clear map of the synapse output of zona incerta, which will provide much-needed insight for further exploration of zonal circuitry.


Allene Lummis Russell Prize in Neuroscience (2012)

Excellence in Teaching Assistance (2017)


Kéry R., Chen APF, Kirschen GW. (2020). Genetic targeting of astrocytes to combat neurodegenerative disease. Neural Regeneration Research. 15(2):199-211.

Zhu W., Zhang X., Wang X., Yang A., Botticelli E., Klibanski A., Mao Y., Kéry, R., Zhao J., Wang X., Zhou Y. (2019). Meg3-DMR, not the Meg3 gene, regulates imprinting of the Dlk-Dio3 locus. Developmental Biology. 455(1):10-18.

Kirschen, GW., Kéry, R., Ge, S. (2018). The Hippocampal Neuro-Glio-Vascular Network: Metabolic Vulnerability and Potential Neurogenic Regeneration in Disease. Brain Plasticity. 3(2):129-44.

Kirschen, GW., Kéry, R., Liu, H., Ahamad, A., Chen, L., Akmentin, W., Kumar, R., Levine, J., Xiong, Q., Ge, S. (2018). Genetic dissection of the neuro-glio-vascular machinery in the adult brain. Molecular Brain. 11(1):2.

Wang*, X., Kery*, R., Xiong Q. (2017). Synaptopathology in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Complex Effects of Synaptic Genes on Neural Circuits. Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry.  S0278-5846(17)30406-2.

Chunharojrith P., Nakayama Y., Jiang X., Kery RE., Ma J., De La Hoz Ulloa C.S., Zhang X., Zhou Y., Klibanski A. (2015). Tumor suppression by MEG3 lncRNA in a human pituitary tumor derived cell line. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 15(416):27-35.

Benton, J., Kery, R., Li, J., Noonin, C., Söderhäll, I. et al. (2014). Cells from the Immune System Generate Adult-Born Neurons in Crayfish. Developmental Cell.30(3):322-333.