- Selected Publications
Ran Tao, Ph.D., is Section Head, Molecular Biology, at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development. His research focuses on transcriptional changes of GABA signaling during human brain development, and the influence of genetic variation on gene expression of the postmortem brain for psychiatric disorders. Dr. Tao received his bachelor of medicine from Beijing Medical University (Peking University Health Science Center today). Dr. Tao earned his Ph.D. in neurobiology from Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences at China Academy of Sciences. Prior to joining the Lieber Institute in 2012, he worked in Dr. Joel E. Kleinman’s laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow in the Clinical Brain Disorders Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health. He has been trained in human genetics and neurobiology and conducted genetic studies for both Mendelian genetic disorders and psychiatric disorders. As a lead research scientist at LIBD, he is mainly focusing on exploring the expression of alternative transcripts from genes of interest in psychiatric illnesses.
Tao R, Davis KN, Li C, Shin JH, Gao Y, Jaffe AE, Gondré-Lewis MC, Weinberger DR, Kleinman JE, Hyde TM. GAD1 alternative transcripts and DNA methylation in human prefrontal cortex and hippocampus in brain development, schizophrenia. Mol Psychiatry. 2018 Jun;23(6):1496-1505. doi: 10.1038/mp.2017.105. Epub 2017 May 9. PubMed PMID: 28485403.
Tao R, Cousijn H, Jaffe AE, Burnet PW, Edwards F, Eastwood SL, Shin JH, Lane TA, Walker MA, Maher BJ, Weinberger DR, Harrison PJ, Hyde TM, Kleinman JE. Expression of ZNF804A in human brain and alterations in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder: a novel transcript fetally regulated by the psychosis risk variant rs1344706. JAMA Psychiatry. 2014 Oct;71(10):1112-20. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.1079. PubMed PMID: 25162540.
Tao R, Li C, Newburn EN, Ye T, Lipska BK, Herman MM, Weinberger DR, Kleinman JE, Hyde TM. Transcript-specific associations of SLC12A5 (KCC2) in human prefrontal cortex with development, schizophrenia, and affective disorders. J Neurosci. 2012 Apr 11;32(15):5216-22. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4626-11.2012. PubMed PMID: 22496567; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3752043.
Genome-wide Association Studies (GWAS) during the past 15 years have reported robust genetic evidence for an increasing number of genetic loci associated with psychiatric disorders. These genetic findings provide an important entry point to investigating the etiology of psychiatric disorders. To understand the molecular genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders, Dr.Tao has been working on transcriptional studies powered by postmortem brains and next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, in order to identify genetic risk variants that alter gene expression in the human brain.