Positions

Associate Professor
Molecular and Human Genetics
Baylor College of Medicine
Associate Professor
HGSC:Faculty-General/Basic
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, US
Associate Professor
Program in Developmental Biology
Baylor College of Medicine
Member
Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas, United States

Education

BS from Tsinghua University
PhD from Baylor College Of Medicine
Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Baylor College Of Medicine

Professional Interests

  • Functional genomics of visual system development and diseases
  • High throughput technology
  • Bioinformatics

Professional Statement

Our lab focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying human diseases. Both experimental and computational approaches are used in combination to identify and model gene functions in both human patients and model organisms.

Identification of human retinal disease genes

Collectively, ocular diseases affect large population in the world with 40 million people are blind and another 100 million with substantial visual impairment. Together with our collaborators, we are currently working on identifying genes involved in several human retinal diseases, such as Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), Usher syndrome, retinitis pigmentosa (RP), cone and rod dystrophy, and Stargardt’s disease. Recently, we have cloned three novel human retinal disease genes, including Spata7, Cep164, and NMNAT1. In addition, several novel disease loci have been mapped in our patient collection. To identify the mutation in these loci, we are applying the cutting edge NextGen sequencing technologies coupled with functional analysis to these patient samples.

Animal models for retinal disease and development

Model organisms such as mouse are useful tools to understand molecular mechanism of diseases and also identify genetic networks controlling retinal development. Using mouse as the model organism, we have recently generated numerous mouse models for the novel disease genes identified by our group that mimic human retinal diseases. Genetic, genomic, and biochemical approaches to decipher the molecular function of these genes are currently underway.

Genomic technology development and applications

Introduction of new technologies often leads to breakthrough of scientific discoveries. Recently, the most exciting novel technology in molecular and genomic biology is the next generation sequencing. To fully utilize this in our research, a set of protocols and software tools that specific for the NextGen technology have been developed among our laboratory and the collaborators, including RNA-Seq, miRNA-Seq, CNV-Seq, ChIP-Seq, chromatin profiling, and mutation detection. Currently, we are applying these tools to various research fields, including development, genetic disease gene cloning, and cancer biology.

Selected Publications