Hao Yang Tan, M.D. is a Lead Investigator at the Lieber Institute. His work is on neuroimaging experiments, brain connectivity analyses and genetics in the discovery of the mechanisms of neuropsychiatric diseases like schizophrenia. In recent work, he found that coding variation in the protein phosphatase AKT1 that affects protein expression in human B lymphoblasts, apoptosis and response to cancer therapeutics, also influenced several brain measures related to dopaminergic function of relevance to schizophrenia and mood disorders, though in an opposite direction to cancer. He has further examined predictions from basic models of dopaminergic and neurotrophic signaling in cortical and cortical–subcortical circuitry implicated in executive function and memory; he also examined pharmacogenetic effects on cognition in the context of anti-dopaminergic and mood stabilizer drug therapy. Specific aims of current research include the study of differing childhood risk environments (eg urban vs rural upbringing) on the genetic expression of brain circuit function relevant to emotional processing, information updating and computation altered in psychosis. Active collaborations include the NIMH Sibling Study, the Peking University Institute of Mental Health, and the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Singapore where he is a Visiting Associate Professor.
Dr Tan obtained his medical degree from the National University of Singapore, and psychiatry certification from the Royal College of Physicians of Canada. He completed postdoctoral training in neuroimaging and genetics at the NIMH. He was recipient of the American Psychiatric Association – AstraZeneca Young Minds in Psychiatry Award, and the NIMH Seymour S Kety Memorial Fellowship Award. Currently, he is Principal Investigator of a National Institutes of Health funded study (R01) on how genes and the childhood environment affect risks and resilience in brain development of psychosis.